Social Listening: China’s Talking, Can You Hear Them?

ChinaHopefully, we’ve come to understand the value of social listening and social monitoring. It’s how we as brands and organizations learn what people are saying about us across the social web, and how we get to know our customers intimately, learning their values and expectations. It’s what allows us to respond in timely, relevant ways, driving new customers, referrals, loyalty, and increased sales.

Naturally, those are the kinds of benefits you’d like to apply to the largest, most socially active and fastest growing market on the planet, right? That would be China. And if you think you can’t listen to what’s being said about you there…you can.

China has the most active social media base plus the biggest Internet, mobile and social media population on the globe. 4 million additional Internet users are added per month, pushing that population to an estimated 800 million in 2015. There are 547 million estimated social users and 420 million estimated mobile web users. Much of the growth is fueled by rural and middle class users, where 97% of the Chinese middle class now owns a smartphone.

Back to the “active” part. A McKinsey report shows 91% of Internet-connected Chinese visited a social site. Compare that to 30% in Japan, 67% in the US, and 70% in South Korea. Social sharing in China went up 60% in 2012. During the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, Twitter recorded almost 10 million related mentions. But China’s Twitter-like micro-blogging network Sina Weibo recorded 119 million. Incitez found that Chinese consumers spend more time (46 minutes a day) on social sites than any other country.

So yeah, it’s big. But does that represent a legit social opportunity for brands? Socially-connected consumer behavior in China isn’t much different from what we see elsewhere. They’re more likely to think about buying a product if it’s mentioned on social, and more likely to buy if a connection recommends it. On average, 66% of Chinese social users follow brands. The averaging user follows 6.7 of them. And yes, brands are well aware; over a thousand already have a presence on Sina Weibo.

And don’t forget that “active” part. An oral care product that executed a campaign on Chinese location-based network Jiepang gained over 846,000 branded user generated posts, creating 2.54 million earned media impressions…for $60k US. Monthly sales increased 23% during the campaign. Put that in your social ROI folder.

So if the opportunities are huge, and the social users there are highly active, how will you listen across social in China to surface those opportunities? The answer is powerful social listening technology that spans global languages and social sites. Oracle's Social Engagement & Monitoring (SE&M) product, part of the overall Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, now lets you listen in Simplified Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish, with support and planned support for Chinese social networks/sources, and Latin America's Reclame Aqui and Vostu social networks. It’s the only product you’ll find with Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) in multiple languages. LSA lets you identify messages you want to see, filer irrelevant posts, and get a clear picture of the social content you’re examining. That way, you can spot and do something about the messages that matter.

SE&M also gives you a deeper look into a conversation, like consumer interest, intent or psychographics. If you’re multinational or based in the Chinese and Latin American markets, that’s potential gold. Of course, the whole SRM offers a fully translated user interface in 31 languages, now including Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. We’re global that way. And even more listening languages are on the way to help you mine fans and leads.

For a good first step, how about a few infographics on getting started with social relationship management? Pick a language.

English
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Portuguese

In her recent presentation at Oracle OpenWorld Shanghai, VP Development, Oracle Social Cloud Meg Bear pointed out how crucial it is for global brands to connect, listen, learn and engage with China, home to over half the world’s top 15 social networks. Eyes and ears are turning to digital places like Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, Renren, Qzone, and fast-growing mobile messaging platform WeChat.

The volume of potential data is significant. And just like Americans, the Chinese fully expect you as brands to listen to that data, understand their needs, and deliver stellar user experiences in return.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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