Photo: Pacific Business News files
Have you considered China as a viable market for your business?
Last week’s Annual Hawaii Tourism Conference hosted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority brought eye opening reminders of how Hawaii is not only a truly unique place to visit, but how we should continue to share our uniqueness with markets around the world, and China will be a big focus.
HTA projects that in 2014 there will be over 182,000 Chinese visitors who will come to Hawaii, spending $441.7 million. Does your business want a piece of that pie? If you do, you should think about reaching them on social media before they get here, and here’s why.
It was also reported that there are twice as many Chinese social media users than there are people in the United States. And it is projected that by 2015, there will be more posted on social media in Chinese than any other language.
This may be unbelievable news to some, but believe it or not, “the Chinese are coming”, as Brenda He said, who presented HTA China’s 2014 marketing plan.
It may also be news to some that China doesn’t have Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube as the rest of the world is used to. China has their own social media sites. There are several “Weibo”, or micro blog sites, one of the most popular is called Sina Weibo, which is almost identical to Facebook. You can post photos, videos or text updates, use hashtags, and tag other pages, just like Facebook.
Tencent Weibo is very similar to Twitter—it has a 140 character limit, and there is a re-posting feature much like Twitter’s retweet.
It goes without saying that almost all social networking sites in China are accessed on mobile devices so remember to think mobile and adjust your content accordingly. The best adjustment you can make is to always use photos that look good small, and make shorter captions.
You may also want to adjust your SEO strategies for China and other Asian markets. For instance, Baidu is the Chinese version of Google, Yahoo is the most popular search engine in Taiwan, Korea uses a search engine called Naver.
If you’re ready to take the next step and reach the Chinese on social media, surprisingly not a lot has to be done—the toughest challenge is to get a translator. Start with a Sina Weibo and or Tencent Weibo account. You can post much of the same content that you would use for your other social profiles, just be sure to add a few localized posts in between.
So yes, the Chinese are undoubtedly coming—in fact, they have been for some time but with HTA’s new focus on China, you better get ready, and what better and more accessible way than on social media.