2013: Jeremy Webb “Social media in China is enormous”

By Alexander Speirs

Jeremy Webb, Digital Influence Strategist and Head of Social at Ogilvy Public Relations sought to buck the trend on social media discussion in his address to the 2013 China Business Summit, giving tips on making a brand – not breaking it.

“Social media in China is enormous,” said Webb. “95 per cent of those living in tier 1 to 3 cities are registered on a social media site and 50 per cent of Chinese internet users are registered on at least two social platforms.”

Engaging with and capitalizing on that size was much more difficult than many Western brands assumed according to Webb – Coca-Cola for example had 50,000,000 fans on their official Facebook page, yet had only 0.1 per cent of that on Weibo with 50,000 fans.

Coming to terms with the size, breadth and depth of social media is only part of the battle too – when compared with Western notions of a fair and balanced media, China didn’t stack up. Paying for influence, coverage, even followers is common practice in China for businesses of all sizes and forms of media.

In 2013, there were 108 mentions per minute of ‘New Zealand’ on China social media every day – accounting for 7 per cent of Western country conversation, compared to Australia’s 8 per cent. Webb lauded Tourism NZ for their campaign featuring social media superstar Yao Chen and the value that added to the New Zealand brand.

Jeremy’s advice for those looking to conquer Chinese social media was to assemble a Dream Team that covers each of the following four roles:

  • The Analyst – gaining insight from social data and trends – what our target is talking about on social media and where they are talking.
  • The Planner – Matching insight with what the brand can say – he comes up with the right content mix and better still a ‘social purpose’.
  • The Social Creative – Responds quickly to what’s going on in the outside world with “adaptive content” and comes up with ideas on any channels that get people sharing – ideas that are “social by design”.
  • The Relationship Gal – Engaging the right third parties, media and influencers.

China Business Summit Links

2013 Video: Summit Presentation

Biography: Jeremy Webb

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