When it comes to must-have Chinese social media accounts for luxury brands, Weibo and WeChat are indispensable—but they’re far from the only social media platforms that offer marketing potential. For companies hoping to branch out socially, several new and niche networks offer additional access to reach hundreds of millions of fans. A recent L2 report found that foreign luxury brands are currently keeping to the basics: the majority are on two or three platforms, with 37 percent on two and 30 percent on three.
Companies hoping to expand their horizons should evaluate new sites and apps not only for their number of users, but also for the function of the site and type of users that can be reached. Some are not a great option—RenRen, China’s version of Facebook, has been a flop for luxury. According to L2, Calvin Klein and Lacoste are the only luxury brands still active on the platform. There are many, however, that offer potential to reach many new fans. Look below for a list of four Chinese social media sites that luxury brands have found useful in China.
With more luxury brands on video site Youku than on WeChat right now, this platform is a must. The marketing possibilities are endless: high-end companies shy of making TV-commercial-style videos have experimented with displaying mini-movies, interviews, overviews of a product’s craftsmanship, fashion shows, and more. Out of the various video formats possible, L2 found that mini-movies have garnered the highest viewership among luxury brands. Celebrity appearances don’t hurt, either: Cartier’s 90-second Tank MC mini-movie starring Hong Kong actor Andy Lau has stood out in the crowd with over 2.4 million views.
A Vine- and Instagram-like video app by Tencent, Weishi was launched in September last year and was ranked among the three most-downloaded social networking apps in Apple’s app store from December 27, 2013 to February 25, 2014. The platform has been valuable for Burberry, which promoted its Shanghai flagship opening event on the app with short videos that averaged around 6,000 views each.
Another Chinese Instagram competitor, Finland import Tuding offers photo tagging, integration with other social networks such as Sina Weibo and WeChat, and location tagging. Coach is one of the shining stars on the app with over 48,000 fans, but brands will need to remain vigilant at keeping up with the huge number of Instagram competitors cropping up in China.
Launched in 2005, the relatively older Douban attracts an intellectual crowd of users who discuss film, books, music, and events in China. The site had around 172 million users as of 2013, and offers mixed results for luxury brands choosing to use it. According to a recent report by L2 Think Tank, Montblanc has been especially successful on Douban with over 400,000 visits and 340,000 followers, while Coach has around 212,000 followers. Other brands have found the platform less useful. Bottega Veneta saw only 6,000 views for a New Year’s campaign on the site, and usage by luxury brands has decreased by 2 percent over the past year, with only 13 percent of all luxury brands on Douban and 38 percent inactive since this year.