Is Zhihu the new opportunity for Beauty brands in China?

What is Zhihu 知乎?

Zhihu (Do you know?) is a Chinese question-and-answer website like Quora, launched in January 2011. Its motto is “Share your knowledge, experiences, and thoughts with the world.” In fact on Zhihu, users can create, edit, and organize questions and answers.

In 2018, it reached 200 million registered users, with over 120 million responses on the platform, becoming China’s largest knowledge-sharing community. By now it is certainly an important source for the Chinese to obtain specialist knowledge and insights on various topics.

Zhihu’s success is continuing to grow, in fact, in January 2019, it had accumulated 220 million users who had posted over 130 million answers. For this reason, it is one of the most functional platforms for marketing in China.

Zhihu platform is a good opportunity for beauty brands because it is a powerful tool for soft-selling and influencing long-term buying decisions, as many users come to the platform for in-depth reviews and analysis when they need to make a purchase decision. In addition, Chinese people are more likely to trust messages delivered by other common users, that’s why it is very useful in China.

Over time, in addition to its question and answer function, Zhihu has also developed other functions, like Zhihu Bookstore (知乎书店) and Zhihu Live (知乎Live).

Now users can write articles, participate in discussions, read e-magazines, or give an online presentation about a specific topic and interact with an audience in real-time. From 2019, it also allows users to insert links to products sold on e-commerce websites.

Why Zhihu is so important for brands?

Zhihu users are better educated, have higher incomes, and have stronger purchasing power, therefore they are the kind of audience that many brands are striving to attract.

In addition, content on Zhihu is given more weight on Baidu, the most popular search engine in China, and ranks higher in its search results.

Because many users are searching for useful, practical, reliable information, Zhihu is best for brands that can offer professional knowledge or information from specific fields because people use Zhihu to search for useful, reliable, and practical information.

The evolution of the website through its addition of e-commerce linking and live streaming helped Zhihu’s status as a go-to forum for the beauty community. In 2019 Zhihu added a feature called “Recommend things you like on Zhihu,” which can easily be integrated into a company’s content marketing strategy since it allows users to insert links to products sold on e-commerce websites.

Many beauty Brands, like Perfect Diary, Lancome, l’Oreal, SKY II, Estée Lauder have integrated Zhihu into their digital marketing strategies generating more shareholder value, increasing their ROI, and achieving long-term brand growth.

Key benefits of marketing on Zhihu

High-quality content

Zhihu is known in China for its reliability, therefore the content engages well-educated users with particular interests, and it can influences the user decision-making process.

Most users research very specific topics on Zhihu, so brands can find their target audience in a natural context without allocating multi-million dollar marketing budgets or ad campaigns. For example, the term “cosmetics” has 230,000 followers and over 68,000 related questions.

Brands can also register for official verified accounts, where they can build their customer base and interact directly with their fans by answering specific questions.

Internet Word of mouth function

Since most of the users are well-educated, being mentioned on the platform can help your brand establish trust and go viral through word-of-mouth across the community.

SEO exposure

Zhihu has a very high domain authority on Baidu search engine. Therefore whenever a keyword is searched for on one of these platforms, you will most likely always see a Zhihu Q&A on the first Search engine results page.

The rise of brand awareness through Q&A marketing campaign

Most brands start marketing on Zhihu using its basic question-and-answer function. After creating an organization account on Zhihu, the first thing they’re encouraged to do is tell users who they are and what they can bring to the platform. Therefore it’s a good opportunity for a brand to make a good first impression.

Brands can establish a relationship with users and build their reputation, they can also promote their brands and introduce their products in a more professional and technical way.

In addition, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) play an important role in this platform, because a brand can invite experts or key opinion leaders in its industry to answer questions. Chinese consumers trust a lot KOLs and answering questions on Zhihu allows your brand to showcase your expertise and connect with users.

A brand can encourage users to ask questions

This allows them to get high-quality user-generated content, improve their user engagement, and amplify their influence on social media.

The most common practice is for brands to post questions directly related to their products. For example, a topic called “What is the difference between cheap cosmetics and big-name cosmetics?” has generated 36,614 followers and was viewed 36,885,923 times.

Zhihu Live streaming

Zhihu Live streaming creates opportunities for brands to provide in-depth knowledge, have a discussion, and communicate with users in a more direct way.

Live streaming is popular in China and are particularly loved by users for their ability to be transparent and authentic. Livestreaming might be the perfect choice to show your brand’s value and your quality products and to engage large masses of users in minutes. The KOLs, in all this, is the key that guides the listening.

The most important steps to build a positive brand image on Zhihu

Open a Zhihu official account

Building a professional profile is essential in establishing your brand as the basis for your continued marketing efforts on Zhihu. It allows you to interact and communicate with users or even act as an industry representative to provide useful answers to questions on the platform.

Engage the Zhihu community

Reach other Zhihu users through community interactions such as asking questions or posting answers. This helps improve credibility and provide a professional brand image by providing high-quality content.

Produce learning materials through live streaming

A beauty brand can compose live sessions to teach how to use products correctly and demonstrate some popular make-up trends in China. Many brands like L’Oréal, SK-II use this kind of marketing strategy.

A brand could also publish electronic books on Zhihu, introducing different cosmetics raw materials and how they are used in its products.

Leverage KOLs

A brand can also cooperate with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) to write tailored content (questions or answers) for your brand on Zhihu. KOL campaign is very effective and popular among marketers on Zhihu.

Whether you are interested in boosting awareness or generating leads, a KOL can do wonders for reaching your ideal audience.

Chinese consumers tend to make a purchasing decisions based on information they collect from different social media, making KOLs incredibly important for beauty brands.

For example, Zhihu user “Chili” (吃梨) specializes in sharing beauty and cosmetics tips. She has answered 253 questions on Zhihu and has accumulated more than 100k followers. More surprisingly, she has received more than 800k likes, and her answers were saved more than 1 million times.

Three most powerful beauty bloggers in China are:

  1. Lei Yunqi, whose online acronym is MK Liangliang. Her qualifications as a makeup artist are hotly debated by followers.
  2. Mint Q is a UK-based blogger who offers beauty tips based on her extensive academic research and real-life experiments.
  3. Junping Big Devil (aka Fang Junping) is one of the most well-known male beauty bloggers in China.

Use Zhihu’s Advertising

With such a large user base, Zhihu has moved towards greater monetization of the platform by opening it to advertising. The system is designed for companies wishing to promote their brand to Zhihu’s educated user base.

Conclusion

As a question-and-answer and knowledge-sharing platform, Zhihu is getting more and more attention from brands and organizations pursuing new and innovative digital marketing techniques. The recipe for success on Zhihu is to provide users with really helpful, relevant knowledge and facilitate communication with them.

However, it’s not easy to produce this kind of detailed content and Zhihu users usually have higher expectations for content quality and accuracy. Therefore, marketing on Zhihu requires strong efforts.

In order to promote your brand and if you have any questions related to digital marketing on Zhihu, contact GMA now!

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