social media marketing in China

Interviewing entrepreneurs in China: The ultimate way for businesses to run effective social campaigns in China

China Paradigm interviewed Adrien Fabry, the general manager of Phoceis Asia, a leading agency providing social media strategies in China, to learn how to create successful social campaigns in China on different social platforms.

Adrien Fabry, a serial entrepreneur in China and a social media marketing expert

Adrien Fabry completed his Master’s Degree at EDHEC Business School in France in 2008, during which he embarked his entrepreneurship by setting up an online retail business in China called Tailormen selling bespoke shirts and suits.

After graduation, Adrien has been working in the financial industry as an analyst of merging and acquisitions at several companies in France like Natixis. In 2012, Adrien Fabry founded, also referred to as Heritage Wine Club, an online retailer in China of high-quality discounted wine.

During this first experience of entrepreneurship, Adrien discovered huge interests in conducting social campaigns in China for international online retailers. Therefore, after Z9H was closed in 2016, he shifted his focus to social platforms and started his career as the general manager of Phoecis Asia, a digital agency specialized in social campaigns in China.

social platforms in China
[Adrien Fabry, the General Manager of Phoecis Asia, a master of social platforms in China]

Phoecis Asia: Empower businesses with tailor-made social media strategies in China

Found in 2015 in France and acquired by INEAT Group in 2017, Phoecis is one of the leading digital agencies in the world, with seven offices worldwide, including Shanghai. Phoecis Asia helps foreign online retailers in China to achieve their business goals through unique social campaigns in China.

Phoceis Asia
[Phoceis Asia, a digital agency in Shanghai specialized in social media strategies in China]

Adrian Fabry understands clearly what his clients, mostly online retailers in China, want the most while creating effective social campaigns for them.

“When I was an entrepreneur,  I never had an agency of social media strategies in China that really cared about my concerns,” said Adrian, “We, Phoecis Asia, listen to the clients carefully and try to understand what they want to achieve.”

For Phoecis Asia, social campaigns are just the first step in empowering the brand strategies of online retailers in China. Unlike other agencies, Phoecis Asia focuses more on the conversion rate of its social media strategies in China with the ultimate objective of driving sales for businesses.

“When my clients ask me about the reason for investing in WeChat marketing, they have to understand that the final target is to sell. This is the strongest differentiation of Phoecis Asia with other agencies of social campaigns in China.”

How does a successful social campaign in China look like?

With a clear understanding of clients’ needs, Phoecis Asia will then help these online retailers identify the best social platform in China for their social campaigns. According to Adrian, the audience profile of each social platform in China is different. For instance, he will advise cosmetic brands to do social campaigns on Xiaohongshu because there are more potential customers on it.

“But even the platform is different, our social media strategies in China are the same,” Adrian continued.

According to him, a successful social campaign includes four steps:

  1. Acquire new followers
  2. Activate these followers
  3. Convert followers into sales
  4. Engage with followers and advocate them

During the whole process, the team would invest most of the time in acquiring potential customers that could ultimately be converted into sales on different social media platforms in China.

“We listen to clients’ needs and see how the investment in social media platforms in China can fit in their brand strategies ” Adrian elaborated, “This is our way to do social campaigns and the customer acquisition cost is the most important metric.”

In the interview, Adrian mentioned one of the most successful social campaigns in China Phoecis Asia has done, which was the WeChat marketing campaign for Carmina, a Spanish luxury shoemaker. With a customer acquisition cost of less than 20 RMB, Phoecis Asia managed to recruit more than 3,000 targeted shoe lovers on the social platform by working with KOLs.

When being asked about the secret behind a successful social campaign in the Chinese market, Adrian answered,

“You have to identify all your channels of acquisitions, offline events, online advertising or KOL. You need to be very creative.”

Why is WeChat marketing one of the most effective social media strategies in China now?

Despite so many rising social platforms in China, WeChat marketing is still the first choice for online retailers because of the massive online users on WeChat. During his own entrepreneurship, at the beginning of the 2010s, Adrian personally experienced the huge transit from traditional brand strategies to social platforms.

“I invested a lot of money in my website, but it was not the highest source of revenue anymore,” said Adrian, “Between 2012 and 2016, I realized month by month that the most effective channel of sales for us was through WeChat marketing.”

One of the reasons that WeChat marketing is much more effective than other marketing strategies on social platforms in China is its powerful function of content creation. Online retailers in China can integrate different services, such as built-in H5 and mini programs, into their social campaigns. Brands can also leverage Wechat chatbox to engage with their existing customers and advocate them.

“Even though it depends on the industry, WeChat is still our first choice in most of the cases, since Chinese people are spending so much time on it.” Adrian said, “It’s smart to build a social campaign inside this powerful social platform in China.”

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