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Magnifying glass. Take a look into the top Chinese social media platforms

How To Stay On Top With Meltwater's Chinese Social Media Monitoring Tool

TJ Kiely

Oct 3, 2023

Ready to take your social media strategy to new heights? It’s time to think beyond the border and tap into one of the most lucrative and high-potential markets in the world – China. Media monitoring is the surprising vehicle that can take you there.

As the most populous country in the world, China offers a bounty of opportunities for US business growth. One economic report showed that Chinese consumers contributed over $88 billion to US e-commerce in 2018 alone. In 2020, that figure totaled $54 billion just through the Alibaba platform. As doing business across borders becomes more fluid, American businesses need to explore how they can capture a slice of the Chinese market for themselves.

Chinese social media provides USA-based brands and companies a direct link to the Chinese market. With the Chinese government and the “Great Firewall” blocking domestic media go-to’s like Google, Facebook, and Instagram, businesses need other ways to build their presence and earn trust in this high-potential environment.

To help you get your foot in the door, we suggest starting with Chinese social media monitoring to help you discover the nuances of the Chinese market and make your social marketing strategy a success.

Table of Contents:

Social media monitoring.

What is the Purpose of Chinese Social Media Monitoring?

Before we dive into specifics about monitoring Chinese social networks, it’s worth understanding the role of social media monitoring in general.

People post just about anything on social, from what they ate for lunch to where they buy clothes to where they’re traveling for vacation. Over time, social media has also become a place of e-commerce and discovery. Users go to social media to talk about brands, get product recommendations, read reviews, and make buying decisions.

Wouldn’t you like to know when your brand comes up in conversation?

That’s the role of social listening. It’s the intentional, data-driven practice of tracking your brand mentions (aka brand tracking or brand monitoring via brand tracking software) Learn what other people are saying and have the chance to respond to your audience.

What's the difference between social media monitoring and listening? Check our blog on the top social media monitoring tools to find out.

Monitoring your brand on social allows you to take action before your brand goes viral for the wrong reasons. It can also unveil new opportunities to grow your brand, make a positive impression, and even learn more about your audience.

Brands can monitor themselves as well as competitors using social media monitoring tools. It’s an ongoing process that builds value over time, as long as you’re acting on the mentions and data you receive.

Megaphone hashtag.

What is a Chinese Social Media Monitoring Tool?

The Chinese social media landscape has seen a dramatic evolution over the last 10 years. From QZone to WeChat, Sina Weibo (or just Weibo) to Zhihu, many names have made their way from mainland China to the USA.

But given the handful of Chinese social media platforms you might already be familiar with, there are a plethora of others you may not be aware of. That’s where a Chinese social media monitoring tool comes in handy.

Powerful social media monitoring tools like our social media listening software monitor brand mentions across all social platforms, including the ones that aren’t on your radar. If you’re trying to break into the Chinese market, a Chinese social media monitoring tool is non-negotiable. It helps you see if your audience and reach are growing, whether people are talking about your brand, and how and where you’re making an impact.

It also helps you find where your most engaged audiences are. For instance, if you’re generating lots of brand mentions on WeChat or Zhihu, you’ll know those platforms are worth including in your social media strategy!

Tap Into Niche E-Commerce Markets

In the U.S., Amazon accounts for about 43.2% of all e-commerce sales. Or, to put it another way, all remaining e-commerce companies make up about 56.8% of sales. Alibaba has been likened to the Chinese Amazon. But despite its size and power, Asia-Pacific consumers take a more fragmented approach to online purchases.

For example, Chinese consumers looking for makeup recommendations are more likely to head to Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book). And when they receive their shipment, they’re likely to share and promote it on Douyin.

When considering Chinese social networks, there’s even more diversity. This is partly due to a large number of social networks, and partly due to how quickly each platform introduces new features and functions.

Overall, China’s social environment moves at a rapid pace. Platforms are constantly trying out new features to maintain users’ interests and create better experiences. This gives brands plenty of things to experiment with but also leaves them very little notice to do so.

Monitoring these “micro evolutions” on social media can help you stay on top of your social strategy. Learn what features, platforms, and products your audience is talking about so you can laser-focus your efforts. You might even discover new selling features and tactics that aren't here in the U.S. (after all, China pioneered the live stream shopping concept). 

Smiling group.

Meet Your Audience Where They Are

China has a mind-boggling number of social networks. In fact, there are over 150 platforms dedicated just to live streaming. It’s mind-blowing to think a brand can be active on all of them.

Social media monitoring can help you whittle the stack of options by learning more about what your target audience uses. You can meet them where they are and build a deeper presence on one or two networks to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Plus, this takes away a lot of the trial and error that usually comes with social strategy experimentation.

Creating a video.

Discover Chinese Influencers Who Can Help You Scale

China’s influencer market has been trending hot for the past few years, going from $38.5 billion in 2018 to $210 billion in 2020. More than 9 million influencers in China have more than 10,000 followers, far more than any other country.

That gives brands a lot of options when it comes to using influencers, but it can also complicate the process. Successful influencers create a trifecta of relevance, engagement, and trust, and brands need all three of these on their side.

Monitoring Chinese social channels allows you to handpick influencers to work with. Discover the names your target audience mentions on social in real-time and feel more confident about who you connect with. 

Gain In-Depth Insight About Your Audience’s Interests

In general, social monitoring tools are designed to give you insights into what your audience likes or doesn’t like. But this matters even more for brands trying to enter the Chinese market. Culture, values, lifestyles, and purchasing habits differ from those here in the US, all of which may affect your approach to social marketing.

Take Chinese consumers’ affinity for luxury goods, for example. In 2021, Chinese citizens spent a whopping $73.6 billion on luxury brands, up 36% from the previous year. Further research shows that Chinese netizens tend to spend less on core expenses like food and housing and more on upgrades to their lifestyles.

There’s also the natural inclination to leave product reviews after purchasing. Studies show that 3 out of 4 Chinese consumers will write product reviews and feedback at least once per month. Your social monitoring tools can help you capture this user-generated content to learn even more about your customers and repurpose it in your marketing.

Knowing small details like this can make a big impact on how you approach your marketing in China. It’s a matter of learning your new audiences’ priorities and preferences, then figuring out how to use that information to create win/win relationships.

Making a purchase online.

Reduce Friction in a Competitive E-commerce Environment

E-commerce is a tough arena to compete in, and even more so in China. Not only are there more consumers to potentially reach (over 1 billion people are internet users in China), but there are also more brands vying for their attention (and wallets).

Breaking through the barriers is easier when you know how and where to reach your audience. Learn more about their pain points and buying triggers. Keep a close eye on their feedback so you can make it easy to do business. 

Get to Know the Real China

It’s no secret that China places heavy emphasis on surveillance and investing in state-owned media. These things encourage Chinese citizens to behave a certain way in public. But online, especially on social media, active users can feel more relaxed.

Using social monitoring tools, brands can better get to know their Chinese customers on a deeper level. Go beyond mainstream media to learn how people are connected, how they engage, what they talk about, and more intel you wouldn’t learn from other channels.

How Meltwater Supports Chinese Social Media Listening

Whether your audience is Shanghai-based or lives in Hong Kong, active on Youku or Tencent, Meltwater brings you closer to the Chinese market. Our Chinese media intelligence technologies help you keep tabs on your brand and audience across borders.

Monitor for mentions of your brand as well as other keywords and competitors. Get inside the minds of your Asia-Pacific audience to learn what makes them unique, then find the best ways to connect with them on all the right levels. Find your ideal customers, tailor your strategy, and start making an impact faster.

Get a demo to see Meltwater's suite in action!