China Paradigm interviewed Lauren Hallanan, VP of Livestreaming at The Meet Group, to decipher the myth of Chinese influencers and discuss the latest innovations in the live streaming industry in China.
Lauren Hallanan, a foreign market influencer in China
After reaching an excellent level of Chinese, Lauren participated in 2013 in an extremely well-known Chinese reality TV show that propelled her onto the Chinese media scene. This TV show called ‘’Feicheng Wu rao’’ marked the beginning of his career as an influencer in China.
After this successful experience, she opened personal accounts on Chinese social networks like Weibo, as an influencer and expert and also became the host of a cultural program in the Hello Tianjin television show as well as a distinguished guest on several other Chinese radio or television shows.
Specializing in public relations and influence marketing in China, she joined The Meet Group in 2018, where she works in the Live streaming department. Through her experience as a full live streamer in China with a following over 400K, she helps The Meet Group to translate the success of live streaming in China and to adapt live streaming trends to Western models.
Today Lauren Hallanan also writes numerous articles and reports on influence marketing in China and innovations in live streaming in China for China’s leading media. It is on this same momentum that she became the author of the Amazon Bestseller: Digital China: Working with Bloggers, Influencers, and KOLs.
In 2017, she finally launched her podcast in which she interviewed KOLS in China, called The China Influencer Marketing Podcast.
Lauren Hallananan’s vision influencers in China
According to Lauren Hallanan, being an influencer in China is about talking things that you’re familiar with. For her, that’s often talking about travel in the US, tourism or English language. When it comes to products, she prefers to talk about products she actually uses in her daily life like American products or European products. It allows her to gain credibility because Chinese consumers want to know if a foreign brand coming to China has a good image in its country of origin.
But Lauren Hallanan points out a difference between influencer and KOL in China.
An influencer, an Internet celebrity is somebody who just became famous overnight and who don’t really have any area of expertise. They are probably just known for funny videos or good looks, or it’s more personality based. But most the experts in the field of influencer marketing in China talk about Key opinion leader who is better and more relevant than an influencer. Because as reported by Lauren, ‘‘you’re tweaking that word influence out of the equation.’’
‘‘The key opinion leader is somebody who’s actually able to influence people because they have an opinion or an area of expertise.’’
Douyin, Xiaohongshu, different influence marketing strategies in China?
Xiaohongshu has become very popular over this past year in China. Lauren Hallanan believes that the platform is doing a great job to avoid mass sponsored posts. This allows the platform to maintain credibility with users and to remain consumer-centric. Indeed on Xiaohongshu, only 20% of the content that you post can be sponsored content. They monitor all the accounts and reduce the traffic to those posts if they think there is more than 20% sponsored content on one’s page.
Xiaohongshu also sees a lot of KOLs in China saying the opposite of the main opinion about a product or a brand this is why it is a really a good platform to differentiate yourself from the competition of influencers in China.
‘’Xiahongshu is about debunking the myth about a product.’’
Douyin is a great platform for brand awareness type content. Because it is a very entertaining platform, brands try to leverage it to make the consumers feeling their good vibes. She takes the example of tourism with the city of Chongqing, which is the most popular on Douyin.
Indeed, throughout 2018, Chongqing’s tourism numbers skyrocketed, and it can be correlated to the popularity of Chonqing on Douyin. This Chinese city earned a lot of user-generated content with influencers creating inspiring videos of Chongqing.
‘‘Douyin is very good at driving offline traffic because you can tag the location of the video.’’
What’s new in the live streaming industry in China?
Lauren Hallanan took the example of the Chinese dating platform Momo to discuss the latest innovations when talking about live streaming in China.
Momo is a very well known social networking platform in China. Back when live-streaming in China became popular, they added live-streaming into their app. And now, they’ve actually become a leader in China’s live-streaming industry because they’re able to combine this social network and all of their other dating features with live-streaming. Most of the live streamers there are women, the ration is unbalanced: 70% women and around 30% male.
Listen to this episode here: