Sam Flemming was tracking China social media before most people even knew what social media even was. Let’s put it this way: the first time I discussed social media with Sam he was focused on bulletin boards. Who even remembers those?

Anyway, when Sam talks about social media — and he did recently talk about social media in an article entitled, The luxury of playing Chinese social media, people should listen.

That article consisted of Sam providing a “four-point primer” on China social media, consisting of the following tips:

  • Don’t believe all the forecasts.  Do not become so enamored with WeChat that you count out Weibo. According to Sam, Weibo is still China’s “water cooler” and China social media is not a “winner takes all” proposition.
  • The Chinese are informed, sophisticated, global – and local. Chinese consumers know what is going on with products and pricing around the world, but they want products suitable for China.
  • Consumers want to learn about lifestyles, not only brands. China social media is a great way for brands to provide this information.
  • Leverage celebrity social power. Celebrities have become “mini media powerhouses” so if you are going to ink an endorsement contract with one of them, make sure that it clearly and appropriately leverages their social power.

I urge you to read the entire article and then let us know what you think.

  • William

    Weibo isn’t dead, but people are way more enamored with WeChat. It’s hard to see Weibo bouncing back without a major catalyst.

  • My personal feeling is that WeChat really needs their push into “mobile payments” to succeed, because it doesn’t have the same monetisation opportunities that Weibo has. Most WeChat usage is private “person-to-person”, whereas Weibo is much more “person-to-public” – advertising through the latter is much less intrusive and therefore much more tolerable. Even then, Weibo is barely profitable and may not have much further room for growth (at least in its current form).

    China social media is definitely not a “winner takes all” proposition – mobile software in China is a very fast-moving space and it won’t surprise me at all if/when a new social media competitor comes out of left field.

    In particular I’d be interested to know why there aren’t any serious local competitors to LinkedIn.