Wanghong create awesome content, but so do ad agencies. Therefore, it makes sense to ask what tactics do China wanghong use to connect with fans that set them apart when it comes to marketing results.
In short, it’s the connection wanghong have with their fans.
Wanghong’s relationship with their fans is a key ingredient to their success, even more than content. Many wanghong, especially during the early stages of their career, are amateur content producers. Still, even their poor content performs eight times better than an ad because of their fans’ support.
China wanghong know this. Without trusting, loyal fans, they are nothing. They cannot be wanghong if they do not have influence.
Just like friendships, getting someone to become a loyal follower doesn’t happen overnight. Top China wanghong use many tactics to cultivate and strengthen their relationship with fans.
The word “authentic” has become overused in the marketing world, but wanghong who let their personalities shine in their work make their fans feel closer to them.
While not all their content is personal, wanghong share bits and pieces of their lives and their interests.
“In my travel guides I share my personal experiences with these places and I think that helps fans trust me more,” shared @Grace的幻境, a WeChat travel blogger.
Answering as Many Messages as Possible
While influencers spend a great deal of time on content development, they also spend a lot of time interacting with their followers. Answering as many fan comments and messages as possible is a non-negotiable part of being a wanghong.
“Every time I send out an article, I will be constantly checking WeChat and answering questions for a day or two,” Grace said.
The majority of wanghong spend one-to-two hours a day chatting with fans. Beauty wanghong @咪嗷喵呜 falls into this category.
“Whenever I have a moment I’ll pull out my phone and start answering questions and comments,” she said.
In China, as a wanghong starts gaining momentum and grows a decent-sized following, they will create a fan group, typically on WeChat or Weibo. While marketers in the West promote the idea of developing an email list which can be used to sell directly to your audience, email is not popular in China. Instead, people use fan groups.
Hong Kong fashion wanghong Hayley Lyla says fan groups are very useful.
“Fan groups are a great way to connect with fans on a deeper level. Besides answering their questions, I often ask them for feedback on my content and I try to understand what they are interested in.”
Often these groups are organised around a certain topic.
“Most of the time we talk about fashion trends and popular looks that we see. Because of this, we’ve named the group “Tippi’s Beautiful Styles Sharing Group,” explained @龚静Tippi.
The most effective fan groups are communities where members enjoy talking to each other as much as they enjoy talking to the wang hong.
However, getting a group to that level takes significant effort and involvement. @咪嗷喵呜 shared, “I have a WeChat group where we talk about beauty and cosmetics. If I am not constantly initiating a conversation the group will get quiet. I also have to monitor the group to make sure people aren’t talking about certain topics. For example, I don’t let people gossip or post spam.”
Yizhibo, Weibo’s live streaming platform, has become one of China’s top live streaming platforms partly because Weibo wanghong will use live streaming as a way to interact with their fans. The raw, visual nature of live streaming gives fans the feeling that they are having a conversation with their favourite wanghong, and when the wanghong verbally responds to their comment on a live stream, it is much more meaningful than a written comment in a post.
Regularly holding giveaways is a great way for China wanghong to get more engagement and give back to their fans.
“I often hold giveaways, usually some kind of small gift related to the topic of the article, just to show my appreciation,” said @ Grace的幻境
Most of the time, the prizes are bought by the wang hong themselves and are not sponsored by a brand.
“Usually, if I see a product I really like I will buy two, one for my fans. Unfortunately, top brands rarely send wanghong extra products in their original packaging that can be used for giveaways, so most of the time I buy the gifts myself,” explained 咪嗷喵呜. “I don’t always do giveaway contests. Sometimes I just look through the comments and handpick some fans who frequently leave great comments and give them gifts. Or I will send something to the fans who are ranked as my most active fans on Weibo.”
@龚静Tippi tries to tie in the gifts with the topic of her post.
“I do whatever I can to give gifts to my fans. I hold giveaways about once a week, I usually choose a trendy or popular product as the prize, this way, not only do fans get great gifts, but I can also create content and share information about popular products I think they should know about. My fans love the giveaways, I mean what girl doesn’t love receiving a gift?”
The ultimate way to connect with fans is to meet them in person. However, this method also takes the most preparation. Hayley has never done one but is eager to try.
“I’m planning to hold my first fan event in a couple of months and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve already started organising it!”
@龚静Tippi also hopes to hold one in the near future.
“Previously I held a small event for some of my oldest and closest fans. And whenever I am travelling to different cities for events I will notify my fans and some of them might come to the event to meet me. In the future, I definitely want to plan a larger meet-and-greet event, but if I’m going to do it, I need to do a really good job. There will need to be a lot of activities, I want to make sure that people have fun and feel that it’s worth coming to!”
Tactics China Wanghong Use
China wanghong are more than content creators, they are real people who make real connections, and that is why they can deliver brands powerful results.
Many of you are probably familiar with Kevin Kelly’s famous business concept that to be a successful creator, all you need is 1,000 true fans or super fans. Interesting but not surprising, it’s also proving true that China social media wanghong only need 1,000 true fans. To learn more about wanghong fan tactics, try reading China Social Media Influencers Only Need 1,000 True Fans.