SHANGHAI/NEW YORK: WeChat and Weibo dominate the social media landscape in China, but for Becky Li, one of the country's top fashion bloggers and key opinion leaders (KOLs), WeChat is more effective because of its trust factor.
Becky Li, whose real name is Fang Yimin, is a relative newcomer to the online fashion and shopping community, but her influence and impact on sales has grown to the extent that she is known in Chinese media as "mai shen", or "buying goddess".
That is according to L2, the luxury industry specialists, who interviewed Li in New York about the top social media platforms in China and strategies for successful brand collaborations.
She said that even though she has more followers on Weibo, the mobile app developed by Tencent, she finds it easier to connect and engage with followers on WeChat.
"In my personal view, it is easier to interact with fans on WeChat. WeChat and Weibo are actually two very different ecosystems. Weibo is more of a public platform, while WeChat is a big circle of friends," Li said.
"WeChat followers are more valuable than Weibo followers. They are able to leave comments and I can answer them as much as possible, so they feel like I am their friend," she added.
When asked why she thought her posts were so influential with Chinese consumers, she explained that her fans like her because she's a "regular girl", not a model or professional media personality.
"Another reason is the feeling of personal trust they have. When other bloggers work with brands, they don't always make it clear that they're posting an advertisement," she added.
"I don't do this because mutual trust is very important. I also post advertisements, but I make it clear which posts are promotional."
Li, who also outlined some of the work she has carried out for Guerlain fragrances, Dior lipstick and Rebecca Minkoff luxury handbags, explained that the best way for a fashion brand to get the most out of their KOL collaborations is to let the influencer understand the brand’s culture first.
For example, a photo shoot she conducted with Guerlain in Paris was not aimed at encouraging Chinese consumers to come all the way to the French capital to visit the brand's store.
"It was rather about seeing the brand culture through my eyes and perspective, and passing that to Chinese customers," Li said. "The best partners for brands are KOLs who actually use the products, and influence more people through their consumption."
She also recommended that brands take a long-term view of their collaborations with KOLs when seeking to engage the Chinese market.
"I think a foundation of collaboration is over the longer term. Brands usually come back to me after previous cooperation," she said. "Relatively speaking, a long-term cooperation will make the brand communication more consistent."
China's growing online influencer market was discussed in detail at the All That Matters conference in Singapore at the end of last year and this was covered in an exclusive WARC report: Building an influencer strategy in China: Behind the US$8 billion industry.
Data sourced from L2; additional content by WARC staff