Little Red Book (小红书) is China’s most popular social media app as a lifestyle sharing and e-commerce platform. Users post pictures and videos of themselves on RED, as commonly called, like Instagram and Pinterest. However, it also includes e-commerce like Amazon with RED acting as its own e-commerce service. Users are able to link products directly on their posts and purchase the product on RED. On RED, content sharing is equally important as product sales.
Check out our in-depth discussion of RED’s features and how to utilize it for your business on the GabChina website! “Little Red Book: What Is It and How Can It Be Useful to Your Brand?”
Know Your Audience
Users of RED are primarily young middle-class women living in Tier 1 cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou) with more disposable income. Indeed, a more in-depth makeup of RED’s users in 2021 is as follows:
- 90% of users are women and 10% are men.
- 46% of users are between the ages of 18 to 24
- 37% of users are between the ages of 25 to 35
- 12% of users are under 18 years of age
- 3.7% of users are between the ages of 35 to 44
- 0.8% of users are over the age of 44
- 17.8% of users are from Guangdong Province
- 11.4% of users are from Shanghai
- 9.4% of users are from Beijing
- 7.8% of users are from Zhejiang Province
- 6.4% of users are from Jiangsu Province
- 4.8% of users are from Sichuan Province
- 42% of users’ region is unknown
- 36.5% of users are middle income
- 29.4% of users are high income
- 23% of users are higher middle income
- 8.29% of users are lower middle income
- 2.8% of users are low income.
Though the audience of Little Red Book is majority Chinese, the reach that the app has is global. Foreign companies understand the influence RED has on consumer behavior. And so they have begun to market their products in a more accessible way to Chinese consumers. Beauty brands like Gucci, Chanel, and Dior have separate packaging in Mandarin Chinese. Also, they have partnerships with Chinese KOLs to increase attraction towards their products. Surprisingly, U.S. celebrity Kim Kardashian created an official RED account in 2018 to advertise her makeup brand KKW Beauty.
Best Performing Topics
While there are numerous topics on RED, cosmetics and fashion consistently ranks top 2 in best performing topics. Then following the highest performing categories are travel and food, health, and maternity. RED’s targeted audience are women aged 18 to 35 living in urban areas. Consumers prefer these five “interests” over other subjects like photography, celebrities, music, gaming, animals, etc. Because the posts on RED are more relatable to this audience.
Popular posts center around product reviews, tips, and try-ons. Many users share their opinions on items such as clothing, makeup, accessories, and home goods. Therefore, better performing posts include in-depth reviews with users trying on the product with quality pictures and/or videos. Reviews tend to be about cosmetic applications, tips, or trendy makeup styles, and outfit ideas and clothing try-ons.
RED calls posts notes. And they are similar to a Facebook, Instagram, or even LinkedIn post. Users create some 100,000 new notes per day, so being mindful of your own note structure can help increase popularity and engagement on your account. The way in which you structure your posts is incredibly important. Let’s get into the notes!
Structuring Your Notes
First, starting with the title, you should highlight the product or service you are promoting or offering. Titles should be clear and straight-forward and focus on the uniqueness of your product. A question to think about when formulating your note title is why is your product deserving of a recommendation? Then, formulate the answer to this question as a title worthy of attention.
Second, is pictures, arguably the most important aspect of a note. The first image should be striking enough to stop people from scrolling past your note. Here, the first image is also the cover image of the entire post. This picture can be a collage of words and pictures to display a summary of your product. On the other hand it can be more aesthetically pleasing than the other images. Pictures should be original and have little editing, a topic we will discuss in the next section.
However, don’t forget about captions! RED allows 1000 characters, but the recommended amount to write is 300 to 500 to keep readers interested. Likewise, you can expand on the key features of your product. Your opinion and experience with the product should be part of the caption, as this gives a more personal touch to the note. You should include hashtags in the caption. We recommend having five hashtags specific to your product and five general hashtags about the region or audience you want to target.
If deciding on pictures is too difficult, worry not! Little Red Books allows video notes. In fact, RED even prioritizes videos over images. Videos should be around 45 seconds to 1 minute. Popular video styles are clothing try-ons, outfit ideas, makeup tutorials, and product testing.
Authenticity is Key
On RED, there is an emphasis on sharing authenticity. Western forms of social media like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tik Tok often display a romanticized lifestyle. In these platforms there is an emphasis on keeping up with current trends. Such as jewelry, clothing, technology, or even a certain “look.”
For example, followers praise socialite Khloe Kardashian for her weight loss transformation. In particular, one that took hard work through exercise and healthy eating. Many of her followers look towards her as an inspiration to jumpstart their own weight loss journey. Either on their own or through a personal trainer. While Kardashian achieved an hourglass figure through consistent exercise, she also actively promotes a weight loss supplement called “Flat Tummy Tea.” This product has been known to suppress appetite, cause dehydration and organ damage with prolonged usage. Despite receiving backlash for advertising such a harmful product, her following throughout the years has remained stable, if not increased. Instagram has restricted posts that endorse negative products to users under the age of 18. But such an action doesn’t prevent Kardashian’s followers, especially women, from conceptualizing the idea that their bodies aren’t normal. Repercussions from posts like Kardashian’s, creates the idea that exercise isn’t enough to achieve the “perfect body.”
RED notes, on the other hand, should be trustworthy in that all information and pictures are relatable and natural. There is an emphasis on notes to reflect of a user’s life where others can connect with the user’s struggles. Women encounter problems like acne, body image, and healthy eating daily. So they commonly talk about these issues on RED. Authenticity on RED appears through the images of users sharing images of their own skin care problems or weight loss journey. Indeed popular posts have before and after comparisons or sometimes a current struggle with no found solution.
Other genuine posts are of users testing products themselves and giving detailed descriptions and pictures of how well or poor the product worked. For example, a user giving their reaction to a makeup product, could describe:
- How easy/difficult the product was to apply.
- If the product ingredients had any reactions to their skin.
- How long the product lasted.
- Their peer’s reactions to the product.
These details allow users to gain a more personal experience of a product that they’re interested in. Especially if the reviewer has a similar skin type or body type to the interested user. Many consumers first read through posts on RED for product reviews before purchasing the product on their chosen e-commerce site.
To combat harmful posts, RED has a strict procedure for companies to advertise and sell their products on RED. Unlike the usual process of creating an account on social media platforms, RED requires companies to submit an application detailing their products. RED reviews the application to ensure that companies don’t expose users to harmful products. This builds trust between users and retailers to be honest with one another. Furthermore this is why RED is so successful as both a social media and e-commerce platform.
Outside of authenticity, it is also important to follow current trending topics. Pop culture has a substantial effect on consumers. And updating yourself with viral topics can allow you to gain a lead in platform engagement. Using popular songs or picture/video editing styles can give you an advantage in gaining more reach with your posts. Being able to catch trends early can allow you to establish yourself as one of the first reviewers. In effect, it would only increase post and account viewership.
Down to the Money
RED’s unique e-commerce platform truly sets it apart from Western social media. Retailers understand that RED operates on a review to purchase cycle. In particular in which users first interact with posts with a specific product. Users will read through both the post review and comments before deciding to purchase the product. Then after the purchase, users usually post a first review about their experience with purchasing the product. Such as:
- How easy was the purchase process?
- Were there any discounts?
- Was there fast-tracked shipping?
- Is the retailer quick on communication?
After the receiving and testing a product, the user posts a second review about the product itself. This cycle naturally repeats itself as RED’s users topple over 300 million.
Compared to other major e-commerce platforms like Taobao and Tmall, how does Little red book RED have such steady success? “How” RED does it is by RED acting as the main distributor of advertised products. As a result, RED also manages delivery services and customer service. With RED controlling the circulation of products, they have accurate statistics on the performance of their products. Also they can swiftly resolve issues consumers may face. Coupled with this, RED accesses the logistics of posts and responds to questions and concerns in the post comments. Many view this company engagement as dedication to customer satisfaction. So this explains why RED has a higher rate of users directly purchasing products on the app itself.
Under the promise of authenticity RED brings together users in an extraordinary way. Understanding RED is crucial in the Chinese market. From viral trends to cultural values, interactions on RED are a great resource to advertise your product to appeal to Chinese consumers. Do not miss out on RED!