While brands and front-row fashionistas alike are enjoying Shanghai Fashion Week, China’s fashion influencers are also celebrating and sharing their experiences and insights from the event. This year’s edition saw the first Fashion Influencer & New Media Summit take place on Sunday, and it featured some of the country’s most popular new media fashion influencers and e-commerce leaders.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of this year’s “Top 50 Chinese Fashion Accounts with Commercial Influence.” Though the rise of more diversified platforms and promotional channels such as Little Red Book and Douyin have challenged WeChat’s position as the leading platform for new media fashion bloggers in recent years, the popularity and reach of WeChat again found the app atop the list of platforms with the most fashion and style influence.
The Top 50 ranking was co-created by the domestic e-commerce platform “Look” and the media agency Newrank.
Who are the top players?
The WeChat accounts Becky Li’s Fantasy (“黎贝卡的异想世界”), shiliupo report (“石榴婆报告”), and gogoboi, all of which are well known by international luxury brands, made up the top three in the ranking. Of the top 11 WeChat subscription accounts with a commercial influence index of over 900, nine were individual bloggers. Two of them are official accounts for fashion media outlets, that is Elle China (“世界时装之苑Elle”) and Cosmopolitan China (“时尚Cosmo”).
Other accounts include Goddess Evolution (“女神进化论”), which is specifically focused on skincare and cosmetics, and InsDaily, which covers mostly reprinted articles authorized from other accounts or websites on fashion, lifestyle, tech, celebrities, and other trendy news. All the individual fashion accounts enjoy over 100,000 page views for each of their top articles, which easily surpassed more focused beauty blogger accounts as well as fashion magazine accounts.
Why are they leading?
A majority of these leading accounts have comprehensive content on fashion, skincare, lifestyle, and celebrity news, and they all tend to maintain a frequent content push of at least four updates per week.
Fashion bloggers maintain a high readership interaction in a variety of ways. They achieved this with a friendly and vivid tone while developing dynamic ways of increasing reader involvement. For instance, as an important fashion KOL (key opinion leader) and fashion influencer himself, gogoboi has launched interactive events for his readers, who can apply for an opportunity to have the “gogoboi team” revamp their wardrobe and reshape their image.
Although the actual followers’ profile can be more complicated, luxury always accounts for an important part of the content for leading accounts. Becky Li’s Fantasy and shiliupo report have reader-generated articles posted on a regular basis that collect readers’ submissions on questions like “What’s your pick for seasonal handbags in FW 18?” or “Where to buy Celine at the most reasonable price?” Meanwhile, sponsored posts are commonly found following the top daily article and mostly introduce designers or skincare brands rather than luxury fashion.
Content refinement is another way of reaching out to audiences more broadly. Becky Li’s Fantasy has developed three other accounts other than the main content platform: one called “每天只种一颗草” recommending cosmetics, home and decor, and food, another one named “异想生活笔记” targeting experience of city life, travel, hotel and airports, and the last “你的包真好看”, an account that specifically introduces handbags.
A common thread for all these accounts is that each has developed at least one mini-program on the WeChat platform. Launching their own e-commerce platforms is an efficient way for fashion bloggers to turn their large readerships into commercial gains. Particularly for top accounts with a considerable number of followers, large readerships are an ideal target audience for sales as they’re already extremely loyal to the account brand. Accounts all tend to sell products that match the content they published. For instance, If Love and Beauty (“if爱与美好”) and Goddess Evolution are more focused on skincare, cosmetics, and personal care products. Apart from the mini-program for retail, If Love and Beauty also has a separate mini-program for followers who want to apply for product trials. shiliupo report manages the mini-program by categorizing products based on related WeChat articles.
Most mini-program platforms display products from both international and domestic brands. Becky Li’s Fantasy stands out by leveraging her mini-program to sell and promote the blogger’s own brand, which probably contributes to her high ranking.
Changes to WeChat, Challenges for Promotion
WeChat’s user interface has experienced a radical change this summer. Instead of “Subscriptions” as the main tab containing all the accounts under one category (and presented along with dialogue windows for WeChat friends), the platform now presents new, daily content from each account (newest coming first) which pops up after the tapping the “Subscriptions” tab. Only after this step can a user see the full list of followed subscription accounts. This extra step that emphasizes new content has eliminated the “move to top” choice. Now, followers can’t put the accounts they like most at top of their subscription lists. Challenging? Yes. But this new way of presenting content as “shown in a name card” undoubtedly re-emphasizes the importance of original, daily content-making.
You can find the complete ranking here.