How to

This year I will be better at…China

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

China. For many of us, it’s the big one. The one we all want to crack but probably haven’t done so yet. But, if really doing some good work in China is on your to-do list for 2018 then you’re in luck. For the latest in our series of new year’s resolutions, we’ve enlisted an expert to help. That expert is Vincent Pueraro of QuickEast and Netizen Natives.

To a western university recruiter, entering the world of Chinese social and online media can be daunting to say the least.

Beyond the language and cultural barriers has emerged an asynchronous set of digital platforms with unique rules, policies, user habits, best practices, design aesthetic and more. All that at a scale and breakneck pace of change that China seems to do all too well.

Yet, China is a highly digitally oriented market with deep pockets of opportunity for those that will brave it in 2018.

If you are thinking of making the year of the dog (it’s not really the year of the dog till next month) here are some tenants to live by for the next 12 months.

Be flexible, be like water

Things change fast and loose in China, Skype was there one day then gone the next. Same for Pinterest. Same for a lot of ‘sensitive’ keywords.

If you are rigid in China, you, and your plans, will break when the pendulum inevitably swings into you.

Instead of being rigid like ice, accept that the unexpected will sometimes occur and the way to win is to absorb the change like water. In other words, observe the philosophy of Feng shui.

Jump in, don’t just dip your toes in the water

Commit to a “minimum effective dose” full-stack in China. If you commit to simply buying Baidu ads that click through to a website that loads slowly behind the Great Firewall with an email collection form, you are destined to be frustrated with your results.

Instead, consider your goal in the beginning and sculpt a comprehensive chain of links required to achieve that goal. Set up an official WeChat account for your organisation, connect it to a microsite with a form and collect your ad click-throughs there. Then follow-up through WeChat, a communication channel most everyone uses.

Think like a native

Being effective in China is not as simple putting a new piece on your digital recruiting gameboard, it’s more like taking a whole new game out of the box. The rules of the government, the policies of the platforms, market environment and local audience all need to be approached from a native perspective.

Instead, begin by identifying who your native audience is and learning the true perspective of that audience. Once you understand your local audience mindset, focus on communicating ideas that matter to your target audience.

Then, select content that will engage your audience, establish a level of trust and fit in line with Chinese culture while making selections most appropriate to your goals. Then localise and translate, or transcreate, the content to Chinese maintaining the heart of the meaning, inspiring the audience, and conveying the nuance, feeling and colloquialism of the English language post.

Read more about student recruitment from China from Netizen Natives or head to Quickeast for information about marketing for any other industry.

You can find Vincent on LinkedIn.

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