Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) Marketing: The Guide

Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) Marketing_ The Guide _ MediaOne Singapore

China has its own version of almost every mainstream Western social media platform. Case in point: WeChat, an equivalent to Messenger and WhatsApp combined. Then there’s Baidu, which rivals Google. But one social app has managed to gain its own international fandom: Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu).

Billed as a Chinese version of Instagram, Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is China’s most trusted social shopping platform. Every month, it’s estimated that over 200 million users (mostly Gen Z women) log into the app looking for beauty tips, travel recommendations, and dinner advice. 

The app (Xiaohongshu) blends e-commerce, content creation, and community building into one comprehensive social marketing platform. It’s rewriting the rules of online shopping, revolutionizing product discovery, and creating a whole new way for brands to engage with Chinese Gen Z consumers.

Think Instagram, Amazon, and Etsy all rolled into one.

So, if your business is looking to break into the Chinese market, Xiaohongshu should be at the top of your list. And to help you work your way around the app, we’ve prepared this guide to walk you through the basics of marketing your brand on Little Red Book.

What Is Xiaohongshu?

In China, Little Red Book is referred to by the name Xiaohongshu, which translates to “Little Red Book.”

Globally, users just refer to it as Red. It was launched in 2013 as a photo and video review platform. Chinese travellers would recommend beauty products purchased outside mainland China and share their experiences — hence the slogan “Finding Stuff Overseas.”

Eventually, the platform would start attracting people with no travel intent. As a result, Red was forced to expand its missions, incorporate more features, and build an ecosystem that serves users with various interests.

That would see to it that they also changed their slogan to “Marking Your Beautiful Things.”

Although the app mainly specializes in beauty and fashion products, it recently positioned itself as a lifestyle app, catering to all sorts of interests and passions, including gaming, home, food, travel, entertainment, parenting, creativity, culture, and education. 

It also expanded its content to include original articles, live-streaming videos, video reviews, social events, etc., transforming from a product discovery platform to a comprehensive social app.

How Does Xiaohongshu (Red) Work?

One of the most impressive aspects of Red is its incredible number of features.

At a casual glance, the app combines social media and e-commerce, powered by user-generated content.

Red users can share experiences and recommendations, create their own mini-blogs (“Notes”), upload videos or photos to the platform, and join events and group activities. 

So, how do all these features blend together? 

Well, the app has three different feeds: 

  • Explore
  • Follow
  • Nearby

Users who log into the app will first see the posts on the Explore feed. Here, they’ll see posts they’re interested in based on their browsing history and previous interactions with the app. 

The Follow feed, on the other hand, is a more personalized version of the Explore feed. They’ll see posts from the users they follow, the same way it’s on Instagram or Twitter. 

The Nearby feed is a bit different. Here, users can check out recommendations and other posts from people who live in their area or city. They can sort posts by distance, making it especially helpful to those travelling or looking for cool places to shop, eat, or hang out. 

These features allow Red users to build their own community and explore interests and passions from all around the world — and that’s why it has become a popular choice for brands looking to reach out to their target audiences.

The Key Features

Little Red Book’s user interface isn’t any different from any other big social media platform. Its feed includes images, text, videos, live streams, hashtags, and descriptions. 

The app also offers a trendy “browsing” feature that helps users discover products, stores, events, and services related to their interests. The platform also enables users to search for products using its highly effective search bar. 

As far as text goes, the longer the post, the better. Red users are known for being quite detailed in their posts, and long-form content is very popular on the platform as it gives them more room to express what they’re talking about.

Lengthy posts are referred to as ‘notes’ and are particularly helpful to users who want more information on a product or service. Users can comment on them, share them, and even save them to their collections. 

Users can add a hyperlink to a “note,” directing their followers to the brand’s app page or website. That makes up for a smooth transition from social media to e-commerce, which is appreciated by brands looking to drive sales through Little Red Book.

Finally, users can interact with the platform the same way they interact with other social media platforms. They can like, comment, share posts and follow users that they find interesting or have similar interests.

Little Red Book Vs. Instagram: Compare and Contrast 

Red in China’s version of Instagram, but that’s not to say it’s a copy-and-paste of the world-famous platform. Little Red Book has many unique features that distinguish it from Instagram, making it an ideal choice for brands targeting Chinese audiences.

Let’s look at the similarities:

The interface is very similar to Instagram. Both have a feed-style layout, with images and videos in a grid formation. Users can add text descriptions, hashtags, and emojis to each post. 

Users can like, comment, share, and follow other users. They can also share posts from other users to their own feeds. Brands can post content either through the app or via a web browser.

Now for the differences:

Instagram puts a lot of emphasis on visuals and aesthetics, while Little Red Book focuses more on content. Unlike Instagram, lengthy reviews, personal stories, and other editorial content are highly encouraged.

Little Red Book gives brands more room to be creative with their content because it allows them to post interactive quizzes, polls, coupons, and even live streams! This kind of engagement is tough to replicate on Instagram. 

Also, Red is more focused on selling products. Instagram is more of a platform for people to show off their lifestyles. On Little Red Book, brands can create product pages and link product listings directly to the app. That makes it much easier for users to purchase items if they like what they see.

Little Red Book Statistics:

  • Little Red Book is everything Instagram isn’t, and it’s growing fast. As of March 2023, there were over 174 million monthly active users on Little Red Book.
  • The app is particularly popular with female Chinese users, with male users accounting for less than a third of the user base. 
  • After receiving massive funding in 2021, the app would be valued at $20 billion. That makes Little Red Book one of today’s most valuable social media platforms. 
  • In 2022, the app had over 400 million registered users in China and over 15,000 official brands.
  • Female audiences between 18 and 30 dominate the app.
  • Red isn’t only used in China. It’s consumed worldwide and has over 30 million monthly active users outside China, especially in Southeast Asia.
  • 70% of the content posted on the platform is user-generated, making Little Red Book one of the most interactive social networks.
  • Red’s conversion rate now rests at 8% — 2 to 3 times the average on other ecommerce platforms. 
  • Little Red Book makes up 15% of the Chinese online ecommerce market share, making it a serious player in the industry.

Demographic: Red is a Female-first app catering to young Chinese women between 18 and 35.

Although different sources have different opinions of the app, most agree it’s the perfect platform to target millennials and the Gen Z audience

It’s also an excellent platform for lifestyle and fashion brands as they can show off their products more effectively, e.g., by creating content around the product or running campaigns with influencers.

Let’s talk numbers:

  • Female users account for about 70 and 80% of the total users on Little Red Book. Other sources report that this number might even be higher, with one source suggesting it could be as high as 95%.
  • Don’t get it wrong: while Little Red Book is predominantly a female platform, the number of males using this app has been rising steadily over the years. 

In 2021, the number of notes on technology and auto rose at a monthly rate of 7.2% and 28.4%, respectively.

  • In 2022, Red users generated about 360 million notes (posts), with many of the notes coming from entertainment (20.342 million), beauty (26.956 million), and food (33.686 million) categories.
  • The three categories (entertainment, beauty and food) accounted for about 23% of total notes posted.

Food notes accounted for 9% of the market and were ranked first. 

The food notes posted were mainly tutorials, food matching, and shop exploration.

  • Beauty notes came second, accounting for 7% of the market, followed by entertainment.

The notes mainly included beauty tutorials, makeup sharing, recommendations, and product reviews.

The Marketing Opportunities on Red

Little Red Book offers a wide range of marketing opportunities at a casual glance.

First, you can easily tell it’s a great match for ecommerce brands in the beauty and fashion industry.

However, it’s not limited to just those industries; you can also find a lot of potential in the automotive industry, financial services, and more. 

Red isn’t also just a shopping platform but an information hub. Brands can use it to engage with customers, provide them with detailed product information, and even run short-term giveaways or contests that are guaranteed to boost brand engagement.

Before making any major purchase decision, users engage with other app users to discuss their thoughts about products in the comments section. 

What is Xiaohongshu and Why It Matters

First things first, let’s introduce you to Xiaohongshu – the beloved social commerce platform that has taken China by storm. Known for its user-generated content and authentic product reviews, Xiaohongshu has become a go-to platform for Chinese consumers seeking advice and recommendations before making purchasing decisions.

The platform’s name translates to “Little Red Book,” inspired by the founder’s love for a red notebook where she recorded her beauty tips and product recommendations. It started as a platform catering to the beauty and fashion community but has now expanded to cover a wide range of topics, including travel, food, fitness, and lifestyle.

Xiaohongshu boasts an engaged user base, with a significant portion of its audience comprising young, affluent, and influential consumers. With over 300 million registered users, it presents a golden opportunity for foreign brands to showcase their products and services to a massive and eager audience.

How Can Brands Leverage Little Red Marketing Options?

Now that you know what Little Red Book is all about and the various marketing opportunities it provides, let’s talk about how brands can leverage these options.

Open an Official Brand Page if You Haven’t Done So Already

The first step in leveraging Little Red Book’s marketing opportunities is opening an official brand page if you haven’t done so already.

Nearly 20,000 brands have opened official accounts on the platform, which shows how influential it is.

Having an official brand page will allow you to post images and videos, write notes, interact with followers, and, most importantly, set up your store on the platform.

So, why is this a great marketing strategy in the first place?

First, having an official brand account is the only credibility guarantee you can have on the platform. It’s how you win users’ trust and get them to interact with your brand. 

Second, it helps you build relationships with users by answering their questions and engaging in conversations. You can share your content, capture their attention, and turn them into loyal customers, provided you do it right.

Last but not least, it will help you reach a new audience and expand your customer base. The followers you get are your brand advocates. If they like your content, enjoy your products, and trust your brand, they’ll help you spread the word.

So, how do you achieve that?

Create video content

Videos are the new language of the internet. They have better interaction rates than text and images. 

Make sure that your video content is fun, informative, and entertaining. You can make tutorials, product reviews, unboxing videos, and other types of content that will captivate your audience.

Post Consistently

It helps to create a content schedule for your brand. You don’t want to overload your followers with too much content, but you also don’t want them to forget about your brand.

After you launch, make sure you post something every day/week. It could be a funny meme, an informative article, or even a simple update on your brand.

Engage with followers

Don’t just post content and leave it at that. Engage with your followers in the comments section. Ask questions about their experiences and respond to their comments. That will help build trust and strengthen your relationships with them. 

Be sure to respond to comments quickly so they don’t feel ignored. You also want to visit other brands’ pages and comment on their posts.

Optimize the Keywords in your note’s title

Red’s algorithm works much like Google’s. It looks for keywords in the title of your notes, analyses your post engagement, and ranks it accordingly. 

You want to include the keyword in your post’s title and ensure that it accurately reflects the content of your post. 

Promote Your Posts on Other Social Platforms

Promote your content on other social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin. That will help you reach more people and extend your brand’s influence beyond the Little Red Book. 

Create Special Promotions or Giveaways

People love free stuff! Try hosting giveaways or promotions to give your followers a chance to win something.

Working with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs)

If you’ve ever researched influencer marketing in China, you know that one of the most effective ways to promote your brand is by working with KOLs and KOCs. T

Chinese like referring to influencers as KOLs and KOCs (KOL stands for Key Opinion Leaders, and KOCs stand for Key Opinion Consumers).

Since Chinese users don’t trust the random information, they find online, they tend to look for KOLs or KOCs for validation.

KOLs are revered influencers with big, loyal followings. They are industry experts specializing in certain topics and have a knack for churning out compelling content. They’re reliable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. 

KOCs are everyday users on Xiaohongshu who have gained notoriety and followers due to their honest reviews. They usually specialize in a particular product category or type of content. KOCs aren’t as influential as KOLs, but their opinions and voices still carry weight– since they’re real customer experiences, people tend to trust them more. 

By partnering with KOLs or KOCs, you can leverage their influence to reach new audiences and promote your brand on the Little Red Book. Plus, it’s an effective way to get people talking about your product or services.

While KOLs are viewed as mini-celebrities, KOCs are more relatable and easier to get in touch with. Finding influencers who fit your brand’s values can be tricky. However, knowing where to look or how to contact them could pay off big time.

Paid Advertising

Red supports paid advertising. However, unlike Instagram, its targeting options aren’t as advanced. For example, when targeting users based on their interests, you can only choose from 20 interest groups.

Plus, they only support two ad formats:

  • Pop-up Ads: These ads appear when users launch the Little Red Book app. They can be dynamic or static images with accompanying text.
  • Integrated Ads: These ads appear in the discovery section of the app alongside organic content, but they have small advertising marks.

Suffice it to say Red’s advertising options are quite limited. However, they’re still an effective way to reach various audiences and promote your brand on the Little Red Book.

A Rising Opportunity for Gaming Apps 

The Little Red Book is home to a rapidly growing gaming community. 

According to hi-com Asia, gaming is the fastest-growing topic in the app. In fact, notes in the gaming category increased by 31.9% month-on-month in the second half of 2021. 

This presents a great opportunity for gaming app developers to reach new audiences and increase user engagement. As gamers are always looking for new ways to engage, they could be the perfect target market for your product or service.

And since most of the top games are produced by Chinese publishers (Tencent, NetEase, etc.), it’s easy to see why the Little Red Book is an attractive option for gaming app developers. 

So, what type of games dominate the Little Red Book?

Since most Red users are female, it is no surprise that most games on the platform are geared towards female gamers. 

The most popular genres in The Little Red Book are games on couples and other role-playing games. These games are story-based and feature various characters, making them particularly attractive to female gamers. 

And since the Little Red Book allows users to interact with each other while playing these games, they can also be used as a platform for building relationships between players – something that appeals to many female gamers.

Setting Up Your Xiaohongshu Account

Before diving into the exciting world of Xiaohongshu marketing, you need to get your brand’s presence established on the platform. Setting up an account is relatively straightforward, but there are a few essential steps to follow to ensure you make a memorable first impression.

  1. Choose the Right Account Type: Xiaohongshu offers two types of accounts for brands – business accounts and personal accounts. Business accounts are ideal for foreign brands looking to promote their products and connect with potential customers directly.
  2. Optimize Your Profile: Your profile is your brand’s virtual storefront, so make it enticing! Choose an eye-catching profile picture and write a compelling bio that highlights your brand’s unique selling points. Don’t forget to include a link to your website or online store to drive traffic and sales.
  3. Understand Your Audience: Take the time to research your target audience on Xiaohongshu. Understand their preferences, interests, and pain points. This knowledge will help you craft content that resonates with them and builds a genuine connection.
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Creating Engaging Content for Xiaohongshu

Now that your Xiaohongshu account is up and running, it’s time to create content that captures the hearts and minds of your audience. Keep in mind that on Xiaohongshu, authenticity is key. Users value genuine experiences and reviews, so focus on providing value and building trust with your content.

  1. Product Reviews and Recommendations: Share honest product reviews and recommendations that showcase the benefits of your offerings. Authenticity is crucial here – avoid overly promotional language and focus on real-life experiences.
  2. Storytelling with User-Generated Content: Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your products through user-generated content. Reposting their stories adds a personal touch and creates a sense of community around your brand.
  3. Incorporate Visual Appeal: Xiaohongshu is a visually-driven platform, so make sure your content is aesthetically pleasing. High-quality images and videos will capture attention and encourage users to explore further.
  4. Leverage Trending Topics: Keep an eye on trending topics and hashtags on Xiaohongshu. By aligning your content with popular trends, you increase the chances of reaching a broader audience.

Engaging with the Xiaohongshu Community

Xiaohongshu is not just a platform for brands to broadcast their messages; it’s a thriving community where interaction and engagement are highly valued. Here are some tips for fostering a strong bond with the Xiaohongshu community:

  1. Respond to Comments and Messages: Be prompt in responding to user comments and messages. Engage in conversations, answer queries, and show appreciation for positive feedback.
  2. Collaborate with Influencers: Influencers hold significant sway over their followers on Xiaohongshu. Partnering with relevant influencers can expose your brand to a larger audience and enhance your credibility.
  3. Host Giveaways and Contests: Everyone loves a good giveaway! Organize exciting contests and giveaways to incentivize users to engage with your brand and increase your reach.
  4. Stay Consistent: Regularly update your Xiaohongshu account with fresh and relevant content. Consistency builds trust and keeps your audience coming back for more.

Harnessing the Power of Xiaohongshu KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders)

In the world of Xiaohongshu, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) hold immense influence over their followers. These influencers have built a loyal fan base through their authentic content and engaging storytelling. Collaborating with the right KOL can significantly boost your brand’s visibility and credibility. When choosing a KOL, focus on relevance and authenticity. Look for influencers whose values align with your brand and whose audience matches your target demographic.

KOLs can help you reach a wider audience, introduce your products, and even provide valuable insights into the preferences of Chinese consumers. Their content can range from product reviews and unboxings to lifestyle vlogs and travel diaries. Be open to creative collaborations and let the KOL’s personality shine through to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

Running Xiaohongshu Marketing Campaigns

To maximize your brand’s impact on Xiaohongshu, consider running dedicated marketing campaigns. Campaigns allow you to focus your efforts on a specific goal, whether it’s introducing a new product, boosting sales, or increasing brand awareness. Here are some campaign ideas to get you started:

  1. Product Launch Campaign: Build excitement around the launch of a new product by teasing its features and benefits before the official release date. Engage your audience with sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes content, and exclusive offers for early adopters.
  2. Holiday and Seasonal Campaigns: Embrace the festive spirit and create campaigns around major holidays or seasons. Offer special promotions, limited-edition products, and holiday-themed content to captivate your audience during these occasions.
  3. User-Generated Content Campaign: Encourage your followers to create and share content related to your brand or products. Host a UGC contest or challenge to showcase the creativity of your audience and reward the best submissions.
  4. In-App Challenges: Xiaohongshu occasionally hosts in-app challenges that users can participate in. Align your brand with relevant challenges to gain visibility and increase engagement.

Analyzing Performance and Refining Your Strategy

As with any marketing effort, it’s essential to measure the performance of your Xiaohongshu campaigns and content. Xiaohongshu provides analytics tools for business accounts, allowing you to track metrics such as post views, likes, comments, and follower growth. Pay attention to what resonates most with your audience and use that insight to refine your future strategy.

Keep an eye on the performance of different content types, posting times, and collaborations with influencers. Use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different approaches and continuously optimize your content to improve engagement.

Staying Compliant with Xiaohongshu’s Guidelines

Xiaohongshu has specific guidelines and regulations that brands and influencers must adhere to. These rules are in place to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the platform. Familiarize yourself with the guidelines to avoid any potential issues and ensure a positive experience for both your brand and your audience.

Some essential guidelines to follow include:

  1. Disclosure of Sponsored Content: If you collaborate with KOLs or influencers, make sure they disclose any sponsored content or partnerships to maintain transparency.
  2. Authenticity: Avoid misleading or deceptive practices, and always provide honest reviews and recommendations.
  3. Intellectual Property: Respect the intellectual property rights of others and only use content that you have the right to share.

Leveraging Xiaohongshu’s Search and Discovery Features

One of the key aspects of Xiaohongshu is its robust search and discovery features, which play a vital role in helping users find relevant content and products. To enhance your brand’s visibility, it’s essential to optimize your content for Xiaohongshu’s search algorithms.

Focus on Keywords: Research and use relevant keywords that resonate with your target audience. Understand the terms they are using to search for products and incorporate those keywords into your posts, captions, and hashtags. However, be sure to use keywords naturally and avoid keyword stuffing.

Hashtags: Xiaohongshu uses hashtags to categorize and organize content. Utilize popular and trending hashtags related to your brand and content to increase your reach and discoverability.

Geo-Tagging: If your brand has a physical presence in China, consider using geo-tags to target users in specific regions or cities. This can be beneficial for promoting local events, store openings, or region-specific offers.

Collaborating with Other Brands

Collaborations with other brands can be an effective way to broaden your audience reach, tap into new markets, and create a buzz around your products. Look for brands that share a similar target audience and brand values. By combining forces, you can create unique and engaging content that appeals to both of your fan bases.

User-Focused Content

Xiaohongshu is all about user-generated content and authentic reviews. Encourage your customers to share their experiences and feedback with your products. User-generated content not only adds a personal touch to your brand but also acts as social proof, influencing potential customers’ purchasing decisions.

Leverage User Reviews: Highlight positive reviews from your customers on your Xiaohongshu profile. These reviews can serve as powerful testimonials that build trust and credibility for your brand.

Incorporate User Stories: Create content around user stories and experiences with your products. Showcase how your products have made a positive impact on their lives, and let these stories speak to potential customers.

Gamification and Interactive Content

Gamification is a fantastic way to engage your audience and keep them coming back for more. Consider hosting interactive quizzes, polls, and challenges that encourage user participation and reward them for their involvement.

Exclusive Offers: Create exclusive offers or discounts for Xiaohongshu users to drive engagement and encourage repeat visits. Limited-time promotions can create a sense of urgency and prompt users to take action.

Host Live Events: Live events are a fantastic way to interact directly with your audience in real-time. Consider hosting live Q&A sessions, product launches, or behind-the-scenes tours to foster a sense of community and excitement around your brand.

Measure and Analyze Performance

To continually improve your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts, analyze your performance metrics regularly. Xiaohongshu’s analytics tools provide valuable insights into your audience’s behavior and preferences. Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement rates, click-through rates (CTR), and follower growth.

Use this data to identify successful content types, posting schedules, and collaborations. Adjust your strategy based on what works best for your brand on the platform.

Stay Updated with Trends

The world of social media and e-commerce is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends is essential for success. Follow Xiaohongshu influencers, other brands, and industry experts to keep a pulse on emerging trends and content styles.

Cultural Sensitivity and Localisation

When marketing to a foreign audience, cultural sensitivity and localization are of utmost importance. Understand the cultural nuances and preferences of the Chinese market, and tailor your content to align with the local culture. This approach will help you build stronger connections with your audience and avoid any unintended misunderstandings.

Patience and Consistency

Building a strong presence on Xiaohongshu takes time and dedication. Be patient with your progress and remain consistent with your content creation and engagement efforts. As you consistently deliver valuable and engaging content, you will gradually build a loyal following and increase brand loyalty.

Celebrate Milestones and Engage with Celebrations

Celebrate your milestones on Xiaohongshu, whether it’s reaching a certain number of followers or achieving a successful campaign. Engaging with Chinese festivals and celebrations is also a great way to connect with your audience and show appreciation for their support.

Customer Service and Engagement

Excellent customer service is critical to maintaining a positive reputation on Xiaohongshu. Respond promptly to customer inquiries and address any issues or concerns with a helpful and empathetic approach.

Stay True to Your Brand Values

Throughout your Xiaohongshu marketing journey, always stay true to your brand’s values and identity. Authenticity is highly valued on the platform, and users are more likely to connect with brands that share genuine stories and experiences.

Harnessing the Power of Analytics

Xiaohongshu provides valuable analytics tools for business accounts, enabling you to gain insights into your audience’s behavior and measure the success of your marketing efforts. Leverage these analytics to fine-tune your strategy and improve your content’s performance.

Audience Demographics: Analyze your audience demographics to understand who your content resonates with the most. This data will help you tailor your content to better meet their interests and preferences.

Engagement Metrics: Track engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares to identify which content performs best. Use this information to create similar content that captivates your audience.

Content Performance: Measure the performance of individual posts to see which topics and formats generate the most engagement. Adjust your content strategy based on what works best.

Follower Growth: Keep an eye on your follower growth rate to assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Consistent growth indicates that you are connecting with your target audience effectively.

Advertising on Xiaohongshu

In addition to organic content, Xiaohongshu offers advertising options to help you reach a wider audience and accelerate your brand’s growth. Xiaohongshu’s advertising platform allows you to promote your posts and products to targeted users based on their interests and behaviors.

Sponsored Posts: You can promote your organic posts as sponsored content to increase their visibility. Sponsored posts appear in users’ feeds and can reach users who do not follow your account.

Product Listings: If you are an e-commerce brand, Xiaohongshu’s product listing ads allow you to showcase your products directly on the platform, making it easier for users to discover and purchase your items.

KOL Collaborations: Partnering with influential KOLs for sponsored content can help you reach their extensive and engaged follower base. KOL collaborations can significantly amplify your brand’s visibility and credibility.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

While Xiaohongshu offers incredible opportunities, you may encounter a few challenges along the way. The good news is that with the right strategies, you can overcome these hurdles and thrive on the platform.

Language Barriers: As a foreign brand, the language barrier might be a challenge. However, using professional translation services or hiring local talent to create content in Chinese can bridge this gap and make your brand more accessible to the Chinese audience.

Understanding the Chinese Market: The Chinese market has its unique cultural norms and consumer behaviors. Take the time to study the preferences and values of Chinese consumers to create content that resonates with them.

Navigating Regulations: As a foreign brand, you need to be aware of the regulations and guidelines specific to the Chinese market. Familiarize yourself with e-commerce and social media regulations to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.

Local Competition: The Chinese market is highly competitive, with many local brands vying for consumer attention. Differentiate your brand by highlighting your unique selling points and emphasizing your international appeal.

Building Trust and Credibility: Trust is crucial on Xiaohongshu. Focus on building credibility by delivering authentic content, engaging with your audience, and leveraging user-generated content to showcase positive customer experiences.

Measuring ROI: Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts can be challenging. However, by tracking relevant metrics and using data analytics, you can gain valuable insights into the impact of your campaigns.

Patience and Adaptability

Success on Xiaohongshu, like any social media platform, doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to adapt and evolve your strategy based on user feedback and data.

Monitoring and Staying Informed

Stay informed about updates and changes to Xiaohongshu’s algorithms, guidelines, and features. Regularly monitor your content’s performance and stay updated with industry trends to remain ahead of the curve.

Celebrating Milestones

Celebrate your achievements and milestones on Xiaohongshu, whether it’s reaching a significant number of followers or successfully running a viral campaign. Acknowledge and appreciate your audience for being part of your journey.

Seeking Local Expertise

Consider collaborating with local marketing agencies or hiring Chinese marketing experts to guide your Xiaohongshu strategy. Their insights and expertise can be invaluable in navigating the nuances of the Chinese market.

Connecting Beyond Xiaohongshu

Xiaohongshu can be an essential component of your overall marketing strategy in China, but don’t rely solely on one platform. Integrate your Xiaohongshu presence with other social media channels, your website, and offline marketing efforts for a comprehensive brand presence.

Embracing Chinese Culture and Festivals

As a foreign brand looking to connect with Chinese consumers on Xiaohongshu, embracing Chinese culture and participating in major festivals can be a powerful way to resonate with your audience. Chinese consumers are deeply attached to their cultural heritage and place significant importance on traditional festivals.

Chinese New Year: Celebrate the most significant festival in China, Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival). Create festive-themed content, share blessings for the New Year, and offer special promotions to delight your audience during this joyous occasion.

Mid-Autumn Festival: Marked by mooncakes and family reunions, the Mid-Autumn Festival is another excellent opportunity to engage with your audience. Consider launching limited-edition products or promotions that align with the festival’s traditions.

Dragon Boat Festival: This festival is synonymous with dragon boat races and zongzi (sticky rice dumplings). Get creative and craft content around these themes to pique your audience’s interest.

Double 11 (Singles’ Day): Double 11, also known as Singles’ Day, is the world’s largest shopping festival. Offer exclusive discounts, collaborate with influencers, and create a buzz around your brand to seize this massive sales opportunity.

Double 12 (Online Shopping Festival): Following Singles’ Day, Double 12 is another online shopping extravaganza. Participate in this festival with exciting promotions and interactive content to keep the shopping spree going.

Honest and Transparent Marketing

In the world of Xiaohongshu, transparency and honesty are valued above all else. Consumers appreciate brands that are open about their products, pricing, and practices. Avoid making exaggerated claims or false promises in your marketing.

Avoid Misleading Advertisements: Ensure that your marketing materials accurately represent your products or services. Be clear about their features, benefits, and limitations.

Customer Reviews and Feedback: Encourage customers to leave honest reviews and feedback on your Xiaohongshu profile. Address any negative feedback professionally and strive to improve your offerings based on user suggestions.

Social Responsibility: Showcase your brand’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainable practices. Chinese consumers are increasingly conscious of brands’ ethical stances, and aligning with their values can strengthen your brand’s reputation.

Showcasing Behind-the-Scenes

Giving your audience a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your brand can build a sense of intimacy and authenticity. Share the story of how your products are made, introduce your team, and take your audience on a virtual tour of your workspace or production facilities.

Incorporate Chinese Influencers in Content Creation: Collaborating with Chinese influencers is not only about reaching their audience but also gaining insights into local trends and preferences. Allow influencers to take your audience behind the scenes and share their experiences with your brand.

Leveraging Xiaohongshu’s E-Commerce Capabilities

Xiaohongshu is not just a social media platform; it is also a powerful e-commerce platform. Brands can sell products directly on the platform, making it convenient for users to make purchases without leaving the app. As a foreign brand, leveraging Xiaohongshu’s e-commerce capabilities can be highly beneficial for expanding your reach and boosting sales.

Product Listings and E-Commerce Posts: Create eye-catching product listings with detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and links to your online store. Consider using Xiaohongshu’s e-commerce posts to offer exclusive discounts and promotions for users who purchase through the platform.

Cross-Border E-Commerce: Xiaohongshu offers cross-border e-commerce options for foreign brands looking to sell to Chinese consumers. Partner with trusted logistics providers to ensure smooth and reliable delivery to your Chinese customers.

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In-App Purchases: Explore Xiaohongshu’s in-app purchasing options, where users can make quick and seamless purchases within the platform. Providing a hassle-free shopping experience can significantly impact your conversion rates.

Optimizing for Mobile Users

In China, mobile usage is widespread, and Xiaohongshu is no exception. As you create content for the platform, keep in mind that the majority of your audience will be accessing it via mobile devices. Optimize your content for mobile users with these tips:

Mobile-Friendly Layout: Use a mobile-friendly layout for your content, ensuring it looks great and is easy to navigate on smaller screens.

Short and Snappy Content: Keep your captions and content concise and engaging to cater to users who prefer quick and digestible information on their mobile devices.

Vertical Videos and Images: Use vertical videos and images to optimize the viewing experience on mobile phones, as these formats are more natural for mobile users.

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CTAs for Mobile Users: If you’re directing users to your website or online store, ensure that the Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons are easy to tap on mobile screens.

Leveraging Xiaohongshu’s Beauty Filters

Beauty filters are a popular feature on Xiaohongshu, allowing users to enhance their photos before sharing them. Brands can also leverage beauty filters in their content to create visually appealing and aspirational posts.

Subtle Enhancement: Use beauty filters subtly to enhance the overall look of your images without making them appear overly edited.

Highlighting Products: Beauty filters can help accentuate product details and make them more visually appealing.

Authenticity is Key: While beauty filters can enhance the aesthetics of your content, remember to maintain authenticity and not overly alter your brand’s identity.

Collaborating with Beauty and Fashion Influencers

Beauty and fashion are among the most popular niches on Xiaohongshu. Collaborating with beauty and fashion influencers can be incredibly impactful for your brand, as these influencers have dedicated and engaged fan bases.

Influencer Marketing Campaigns: Collaborate with influencers for dedicated marketing campaigns, such as product reviews, try-on hauls, and styling tips.

Beauty and Makeup Tutorials: Partner with beauty influencers to create tutorials featuring your products, showcasing their usage and benefits.

Fashion Lookbooks: Fashion influencers can create lookbooks with your clothing and accessories, inspiring their followers to incorporate your products into their style.

Influencer Takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your Xiaohongshu account for a day, giving them the opportunity to share their unique perspective and connect with your audience directly.

Measuring and Adjusting Your Strategy

As you execute your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts, it’s crucial to monitor your performance and adjust your strategy based on the data you collect.

Track Key Metrics: Keep a close eye on engagement metrics, follower growth, click-through rates, and conversion rates to assess the effectiveness of your content and campaigns.

A/B Testing: Conduct A/B testing with different content formats, posting times, and captions to identify what resonates best with your audience.

Learn from Competitors: Monitor your competitors on Xiaohongshu to understand what works well in your industry and identify potential gaps in the market.

Adapt and Evolve: Use the insights you gather to continuously improve your Xiaohongshu marketing strategy and adapt to changing trends and consumer preferences.

Collaboration with Chinese Influencers and Celebrities

Collaborating with local influencers and celebrities can be a game-changer for your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts. Chinese influencers and celebrities have significant influence over their followers, and partnering with them can give your brand a considerable boost in exposure and credibility.

KOL and Celebrity Partnerships: Identify key opinion leaders (KOLs) and celebrities in your niche or industry who have a substantial following on Xiaohongshu. Reach out to them for potential collaborations, such as sponsored posts, product endorsements, or joint campaigns.

Brand Ambassadors: Consider appointing a local brand ambassador who resonates with your target audience and embodies your brand values. A brand ambassador can create consistent and authentic content, helping to build brand loyalty and trust among their followers.

Influencer Takeovers: Allow influencers and celebrities to take over your Xiaohongshu account for a day or a special event. Their unique content and personal touch can attract new followers and strengthen your relationship with your existing audience.

Event Collaborations: Collaborate with influencers or celebrities for product launch events, pop-up shops, or other offline experiences. Their presence can draw in a larger crowd and generate buzz around your brand.

Stay Compliant with Local Regulations

As a foreign brand operating on Xiaohongshu, it’s essential to be aware of and comply with local regulations and laws. China has specific regulations governing e-commerce, advertising, and social media. Failure to adhere to these rules could lead to legal consequences and damage your brand’s reputation.

Stay Updated on Changes: Keep yourself informed about any updates or changes to the regulations related to e-commerce, influencer marketing, and social media in China.

Work with Local Experts: Partner with local experts or legal consultants who understand the intricacies of Chinese regulations to ensure your marketing efforts are in line with the law.

Handling Negative Feedback and Crisis Management

In the age of social media, negative feedback and crises can arise unexpectedly. How you respond to these situations can make a significant impact on your brand’s reputation.

Address Negative Feedback: When faced with negative feedback or criticism, respond professionally and empathetically. Address the issue, offer solutions, and demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Crisis Communication: In the event of a crisis, be transparent with your audience and provide timely updates. Apologize if necessary and take steps to rectify the situation.

Avoid Deleting Negative Comments: Deleting negative comments can be seen as a sign of trying to hide something. Instead, respond openly and constructively to show that you value feedback and are actively working to improve.

Community Management and Engagement

Community management is a crucial aspect of Xiaohongshu marketing. Engaging with your audience, fostering discussions, and responding to comments can strengthen your brand’s relationship with its followers.

Encourage Conversations: Pose questions and prompts in your captions to encourage users to leave comments and engage with your content.

Reply Promptly: Respond to user comments and messages as quickly as possible. Timely responses show that you value your audience and their opinions.

Appreciate User-Generated Content: Show appreciation for user-generated content by reposting and crediting the creators. This encourages others to share their experiences with your brand.

Moderate Content: Monitor user-generated content and ensure it aligns with your brand’s values and guidelines. Remove any inappropriate or spammy content to maintain a positive and safe community.

Incorporating Influencer Challenges

Influencer challenges are a popular trend on Xiaohongshu, where influencers create content around a specific theme or topic and invite their followers to participate.

Create a Challenge: Partner with influencers to create engaging challenges that revolve around your brand or products. Challenges can be fun, creative, or educational, depending on your brand’s personality.

Hashtags and Participation: Use unique hashtags for the challenge and encourage users to participate and share their content using the hashtag.

Reward Participation: Consider offering rewards or prizes for the best entries in the challenge to incentivize more participation.

Track and Measure Results

As you implement your Xiaohongshu marketing strategy, it’s crucial to track and measure the results to assess your performance and make data-driven decisions.

Set Clear Goals: Define clear goals and objectives for your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving sales, or growing your follower base, having specific goals will guide your strategy.

Track Key Metrics: Use Xiaohongshu’s analytics tools or third-party platforms to track key metrics such as engagement rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and follower growth.

Analyze Performance: Regularly analyze your content’s performance to identify what works well and what needs improvement. Use this data to optimize your future content and campaigns.

Comparison with Competitors: Benchmark your performance against competitors in your industry to understand your position and identify areas where you can outperform them.

Experiment and Innovate

The world of social media is ever-evolving, and what works today may not work tomorrow. To stay ahead, embrace a culture of experimentation and innovation.

Try New Content Formats: Experiment with different content formats, such as short videos, tutorials, infographics, or interactive posts.

Stay on Top of Trends: Keep a close eye on emerging trends and popular content on Xiaohongshu. Being an early adopter of trends can give your brand an edge.

Embrace User Feedback: Listen to user feedback and take suggestions into account. Implementing user-driven improvements can enhance your audience’s experience.

Celebrate Success and Learn from Failure

Celebrate your achievements and successes on Xiaohongshu, no matter how big or small. Acknowledge your audience’s role in your success and thank them for their support.

On the flip side, don’t be disheartened by failures or setbacks. Treat them as learning opportunities and use them to refine your strategy and approach.

Building Long-Term Relationships

To establish a strong and lasting presence on Xiaohongshu, focus on building long-term relationships with your audience.

Consistency: Stay consistent in your content creation and engagement efforts. Regularly update your profile with fresh and relevant content.

Value-Driven Content: Provide value to your audience through informative, entertaining, and inspiring content that aligns with their interests.

Personalization: Tailor your content to meet the needs and preferences of your target audience. Show that you understand their desires and challenges.

Listening to Feedback: Actively listen to user feedback and suggestions. Incorporate their feedback into your future content and strategies.

Continuous Improvement: Never stop learning and improving. Keep an eye on industry trends and stay updated on the latest Xiaohongshu features and best practices.

Stay Engaged with Trending Topics

On Xiaohongshu, trends come and go quickly. Staying engaged with trending topics and hashtags is a great way to join conversations and gain visibility. Monitor the Discover page and popular hashtags to identify trends relevant to your brand. Incorporate these trends into your content and use the corresponding hashtags to reach a wider audience.

Collaborate with Micro-Influencers

While big-name KOLs can have a massive reach, collaborating with micro-influencers can be equally impactful. Micro-influencers have smaller but highly engaged and niche-specific audiences. Their followers often trust their recommendations, making micro-influencer collaborations an excellent way to connect with a highly targeted and loyal audience.

Localize Your Content

Localizing your content is essential when marketing to a foreign audience. Chinese consumers appreciate brands that make an effort to understand and embrace their culture. Consider translating your content into Chinese, using culturally relevant references, and adapting your messaging to suit the preferences of your Chinese audience.

Monitor User Sentiment

Monitor user sentiment and conversations about your brand on Xiaohongshu. By keeping track of what users are saying, you can address any concerns or issues promptly. Engaging with users and responding to their feedback shows that you value their opinions and are committed to providing an exceptional experience.

Offer Exclusive Deals and Promotions

Xiaohongshu users love exclusivity, so offering special deals and promotions exclusive to Xiaohongshu can create excitement and drive engagement. Limited-time offers, flash sales, and exclusive discounts can incentivize users to take action and make a purchase.

Create Entertaining and Informative Content

Balance entertainment and information in your content strategy. Users on Xiaohongshu enjoy content that is both engaging and informative. Mix lifestyle content, product information, and educational posts to keep your audience entertained while showcasing the value of your products or services.

Invest in Influencer Relationships

Building strong relationships with influencers goes beyond one-off collaborations. Invest time and effort in nurturing relationships with influencers who align with your brand values. Cultivating long-term partnerships can lead to more authentic and compelling content that resonates with their followers.

Be Consistent with Posting

Consistency is key on Xiaohongshu. Regularly post high-quality content to keep your audience engaged and interested in your brand. Create a content calendar and stick to a consistent posting schedule to maintain a steady presence on the platform.

Encourage User Interaction

Encourage user interaction by asking questions, hosting polls, and creating interactive content. Engaging your audience in conversations and involving them in your content creation process can foster a sense of community and loyalty.

Utilize Xiaohongshu’s Shopper Insights

Xiaohongshu offers shopper insights to business accounts, which provide valuable data about your audience’s shopping behaviors. Utilize this data to understand what products or categories are popular among your audience and tailor your offerings accordingly.

Leverage Collaborative Brand Content

Collaborative brand content involves partnering with other brands to create joint campaigns or content. These collaborations can introduce your brand to new audiences and provide a fresh perspective on your products.

Stay Adaptable to Platform Changes

Social media platforms are constantly evolving, and Xiaohongshu is no exception. Stay adaptable to changes in algorithms, guidelines, and user behavior. Continuously analyze the performance of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Incorporate Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool to connect emotionally with your audience. Share compelling stories about your brand’s journey, the inspiration behind your products, or the positive impact your brand has had on customers’ lives.

Offer Educational Content

Educational content can position your brand as an authority in your industry. Create informative posts, tutorials, and how-to guides that provide value to your audience and showcase your expertise.

Run Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a great way to increase engagement and attract new followers. Host creative and exciting contests that encourage users to participate and share your brand with their networks.

Utilize Influencer Authentication

Xiaohongshu has introduced an influencer authentication program to verify the authenticity of influencers and their content. Working with verified influencers can provide an extra layer of assurance to your audience and enhance your brand’s credibility.

Keep an Eye on Competitors

Regularly monitor your competitors on Xiaohongshu to stay informed about their strategies and performance. Understanding what works well for your competitors can provide valuable insights for your own marketing efforts.

Measure Offline Impact

While Xiaohongshu is a digital platform, its influence can extend to offline actions. Monitor how your Xiaohongshu marketing efforts impact offline activities such as store visits, event attendance, or word-of-mouth recommendations.

Offer Exceptional Customer Service

Excellent customer service can set your brand apart from the competition. Respond to customer inquiries promptly and go the extra mile to resolve any issues or concerns they may have.

Use Xiaohongshu’s Influencer Seeding Program

Xiaohongshu offers an influencer seeding program, where brands can send products to influencers for them to review and share their experiences. Leveraging this program can generate authentic reviews and drive interest in your products.

Explore Live Streaming

Live streaming is gaining popularity on Xiaohongshu, and brands can use it to engage with their audience in real-time. Host live Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, or behind-the-scenes tours to create interactive experiences.

Stay Compliant with Copyright Laws

Respect copyright laws when using images or videos in your content. Ensure you have the rights to use any media you incorporate into your posts.

Diversify Your Content Mix

A diverse content mix can keep your audience engaged and excited about your brand. Mix up your content with images, videos, infographics, and carousel posts to provide variety.

Celebrate Chinese Culture and Heritage

Show appreciation for Chinese culture and heritage through your content. Celebrate traditional Chinese festivals, showcase local customs, and pay respect to the cultural values of your Chinese audience.

Testimonial Videos

Consider creating testimonial videos where satisfied customers share their experiences with your brand. Testimonial videos can be powerful social proof and build trust with potential customers.

Leverage User-Generated Content in Ads

Use user-generated content (UGC) in your advertisements to add authenticity and credibility. Highlight UGC that showcases happy customers using your products or sharing positive reviews.

Prioritize Customer Feedback and Iteration

Always listen to your customers’ feedback and suggestions. Use this feedback to improve your products, services, and content strategy continually.

The Marketing Challenges You’re Likely to Face 

While the Little Red Book provides a great opportunity for marketers to reach new audiences, it also presents some unique challenges. 

The app has a much smaller user base than other Chinese social media apps such as Douyin and WeChat. Therefore, reaching a large enough audience with your marketing campaigns can be difficult. 

Furthermore, the app’s focus on female users makes it difficult for marketers to target male audiences. As such, you’ll need to find creative ways to engage this demographic if you’re looking to tap into this Little Red Book’s user base.

Here are some other challenges you’ll face:

  • It doesn’t support third-party links, which makes it difficult to drive traffic from the app to your website or other platforms. 
  • The platform is largely Chinese- based, so you’ll need to find creative ways to communicate with international audiences. 
  • It doesn’t allow you to directly mention competing apps (such as WeChat or Douyin) in your promotional material, so you must be mindful of the content you post. 
  • Conversion attribution and measurement are still a challenge, as there is no support for tracking conversions from Little Red Book on most analytics platforms. 
  • Words like Number 1, luxury, and expensive are not allowed in the app’s content guidelines because they can mislead users. 
  • To open a brand account, you need to complete a registration process and have your account verified. You’ll also be required to submit business documents such as your business license, certificate of incorporation, etc. 
  • Finally, there isn’t an English version of the app, so you’ll need to translate your content into Chinese to be effective.

The Final Takeaway

Little Red Book may be a great platform for marketing, but it requires a lot of preparation and strategizing to make the most out of it. Before launching your campaigns, it helps to ensure you understand the app’s guidelines, target audience, and technical challenges. 

Get creative with your content by using interactive elements such as GIFs, images, polls, quizzes, and more — these will help keep users engaged and make your campaigns stand out. Little Red Book is also a great platform for influencer marketing, so consider partnering with the KOLs and KOCs that fit your brand best.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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