Businesses are treating social media like a webpage in the mid-1990’s

Social media is currently in the same place webpages where in the mid-1990’s where businesses where putting up their business webpage and expecting people to come and start buying. It wasn’t until businesses realised they needed to promote their website and integrate it with their existing marketing that their webpages started generating emails, calls and sales. Social Media is at the same point with many companies starting to sign up because its the latest way to gain customers and generate sales, however they are treating like a webpage by waiting for the likes, followers, and contacts but they aren’t coming. Like all marketing and promotion of brands and products it takes time, planning and effort to engage with your customers and let them know that your there and create a company identity and message.

So like the businesses in the 1990’s that realised they could use their website to gain customers through news, deals and integrating e-commerce, its time businesses realised that engaging with customers through social media and using it as a tool can create an brand identity and generate interest and increase sales.

Many businesses spent tens of thousands of dollars creating webpages and e-commerce platforms back in the mid-1990’s, but this time there is a difference – social media is unbelievably cheap in comparison to other forms of marketing and advertising. Businesses can spend just few thousand dollars to get your brand or product out across the world. Of course, it depends on the size and number of products but when comparing social media with advertising in trade magazines or attending expos businesses could save thousands with a social media presence.





Creating the right marketing material for the China market

Recently I have seen some brochures from international design companies for the Chinese market. Some were good and others were down right appalling. I thought I would give some insights into what makes your marketing material good or bad for the China market.

Lets start with the bad

  • Too smaller size font for Chinese text – I have seen lots of brochures with large English font and small Chinese font – who is the material for your home market or China? Make sure you use a nice Chinese font and that all the characters are correct – sometimes the fonts will have the wrong characters.
  • ‘Western People’ Stock Images and Graphics – Unless your Louis Vuitton with $$$ to spend on super models make sure to get stock photos with Chinese people or get a photographer to take some good photos with Chinese and western people using the product. Your product may be international but you need to make the consumer feel like they can obtain the product.
  • Irregular Graphic design – this goes for all markets not just China – unless your in-house team was trained as a designer and has some great InDesign skills you should outsource your graphic design. Putting out material produced in Word or Powerpoint is unprofessional and will do more harm in the long run. Also goes for brochures done in InDesign with irregular graphics and numerous fonts it just looks bad.

The good

  • Brochures and websites in Chinese – engaging a local design house or a company with China experience makes a difference. The Chinese consumer has different tastes in the use of graphics and colour – you mightn’t like the design but its not the point; the point is to get sales of your product or service in the Chinese market
  • Use of images of company staff – Chinese like to know the people they are dealing with as business relationships are more like friendships. Using nice photos of your staff  and team photos with friendly facesmakes a difference
  • Chinese office contact details – make sure to include your China office address – people often talk about where your office is in China and relate it to their experience of the city
  • International calling codes remember to put only +86 or (86) or don’t put 011 or 001 in front of the country code it will confuse people . As an example of  a USA number +1 712 555 5555
  • Proof read chinese text – make sure your chinese text is proof read by a native speaker who is not your translator or translation company.
  • Good quality printing and binding – the best brochures have good quality print and binding – you may save a few yuan on cheap printing but is it worth it in the long run
  • Digital Format – make sure to have a digital copy of your brochures, price lists etc. – you don’t want clients to wait 7-10 days to get your promotion material in the post if your office is not in China
  • Country Name – Use P.R.C. or People’s Republic of China – its the official country title so use it on addresses, contracts, etc.
  • Formatting – remember to format dates, numbers, measurements, currency, etc to the regional standard allows for your customers to easily understand and eliminates confusion

China is a market of opportunity and your promotion material is your ‘face’ in China and needs to be the best you can present.