Little Red Book digital marketing guide

9 Little Red Book Marketing Tips For Foreign Brands [Full Guide]

Last Updated on March 27, 2024

In an era where user-generated content reigns supreme, social media platforms like Xiaohongshu serve as vital tools for connecting Chinese consumers with foreign brands.

With the growing influence of word-of-mouth marketing, genuine product reviews posted on this online shopping app have the power to boost your marketing efforts and generate a positive brand image.

In this post, we’ll offer valuable insights about the app and share a few Little Red Book marketing tips to help you dominate the Chinese market.


What Is Little Red Book?

Little Red Book (locally known as Xiaohongshu) is a Chinese social media platform often referred to as China’s Instagram.

The app was initially a popular go-to source for posting product reviews, sharing lifestyle-related content, discovering high-end international brands, and learning tips about fashion and beauty.

However, since transitioning to a social commerce platform in 2014, Little Red Book has continuously expanded its offerings to different product categories. Beyond beauty brands, Xiaohongshu users now have access to goods related to nutrition, electronics, fitness, travel, etc.


Little Red Book China introduction


This e-commerce platform allows businesses to establish an online brand store on the app. Thanks to this feature, users can purchase products without leaving the platform, allowing brands to create a closed shopping cycle for their existing and potential consumers.

However, unlike other e-commerce platforms in China’s digital ecosystem, Little Red Book still strongly focuses on organic user-generated content and community building. In fact, it features a range of easy-to-use content creation tools to encourage users to share their shopping experiences.


How Does Little Red Book Differ From Other Platforms?

●      Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Little Red Book stands out among other e-commerce sites and social media channels mainly because it focuses on user-generated content.

Users on Xiaohongshu are capable of posting photos and videos, as well as hosting live streams. Because of all these features, they are more likely to share reviews and insights on their purchases.


Xiaohongshu user-generated content

Xiaohongshu user-generated content: beauty products review post


Most Chinese consumers on this platform also prefer genuine product recommendations when making purchasing decisions. So, instead of traditional marketing tactics like celebrity endorsements and TV ads, modern online shoppers put more value on reviews from a Key Opinion Leader or another user.


●      Foreign Brands Are Already in Little Red Book

Chinese consumers in Little Red Book are no strangers to overseas products. In fact, many international businesses like Dior and Estée Lauder have already established their market presence within the app by launching an official brand account.


Most active luxury brands on Xiaohongshu in China H1

Most active luxury brands on Xiaohongshu in China H1 2022 (Source: Statista)


Lancôme tops the list for the most active profile among the many brands utilizing this social shopping platform. The brand’s official account posted around 1,963 notes in 2022, allowing it to garner over 6.5 million engagements.

These high engagement rates from Little Red Book users are a solid testament to the app’s compatibility with new and foreign brands in the Chinese market.


Who is the target audience of Little Red Book?

Xiaohongshu has over 200 million monthly active users browsing through this channel, 68% of which are under the female category. Since Chinese women are often in charge of household purchasing decisions, they’re a crucial demographic for new brands aiming to enhance their recognition in the local market.

Despite this, the Xiaohongshu app continues to adjust its features and offerings to garner more traffic from male users. All of their efforts seem to pay off, as the male user base now covers 32% of the platform’s overall monthly active users, according to the 2023 statistics.


Xiaohongshu user base key figures 2024


Its dominating age group ranges between 18 and 35, making this social networking site the perfect place to increase brand awareness among young Chinese consumers.

Marketers should also remember that half of Little Red Book’s consumers reside in first and second-tier cities, 72% of whom are younger online shoppers born in the 1990s and 2000s.

And since XiaoHongShu thrives on sharing product experiences and reviews, you can expect campaigns related to beauty and fashion to do well on the platform. Beyond that, the app is also known for travel tip content that many Chinese travelers refer to before planning their trips.


How to Open a Little Red Book Account [Step-by-step]

Whether you’re trying to advertise on a social media or e-commerce platform, having an official account adds to your brand’s credibility, exposure, and sales in the long run. It also gives marketers access to more content creation tools and advertising options.


Xiaohongshu brand account opening


Here’s a quick rundown of the steps you need to follow to open a Xiaohongshu official account:

  • Create a regular account on the platform’s enterprise system.
  • Provide business information, such as company name, logo, permit or license (proof of being a legal entity), and owner details.
  • Review your application carefully before submitting it and paying the registration fee.
  • Once approved, a contract will be sent for you to sign.
  • You must complete their online training before accessing their advertising tools.


If you’re unsure how to launch an official account in Little Red Book, you can try working with a digital marketing agency with enough industry experience to help foreign brands enter the Chinese market.


9 Effective Content Strategies in Little Red Book

1.    Choosing the Right Visual Elements

If you want to create viral content in Little Red Book, you must select the right visual elements to gain the attention of Chinese consumers. Remember that you’re posting on a shopping platform, so a clear product picture will not only get you more social media engagement but can also turn into a sale conversion.

The cover photo you chose influences the click-through rate of your Little Red Book posts. Photos that appear to be taken by actual customers are especially effective in drawing attention.

While content quality is necessary, the community favors authentic images over highly polished and overly commercial materials, such as those featuring professional models.


Choosing the right visuals on Little Red Book


2.    Localize Your Content

Translating your brand content is not enough to generate traction in the Chinese market. Whether you like it or not, localization is the main ingredient to becoming a household name in China.

Around 56% of brands registered in this social e-commerce app are domestic players. With so many local competitors, foreign brands must ensure that their Xiaohongshu marketing strategy aligns with the cultural values and beliefs of Chinese shoppers. Otherwise, they risk being overshadowed by home-grown businesses.

This strategy involves tweaking your brand story or marketing messages to resonate more deeply with the Chinese market. Participating and creating content around local events, festivals, and trends can also boost campaign performance.


Lancôme Chinese New Year 2024 marketing campaign

Lancôme Chinese New Year 2024 marketing campaign


When translating your content for Chinese consumers, ensure it’s in simplified form with the correct local nuances, slang, and expressions. It will also help your Xiaohongshu content rank higher on local search engine platforms.

We highly discourage relying on free online translators as these tools are often inaccurate and prone to mistakes. Rather than displeasing your target audience, it’s better to work with professional translators proficient in both Chinese and English to avoid problems in your promotional campaigns in the long run.


3.    Implement a Solid Influencer Marketing Strategy

For a long time, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) have been a major force in China’s social media landscape. Many Chinese users consider these influencers credible sources of information, especially when researching the products they intend to purchase.

However, with the rise of word-of-mouth recommendations, Chinese consumers noticeably shifted their trust to Key Opinion Consumers and Micro-KOLs.

Key Opinion Consumers have fewer followers than Key Opinion Leaders, but that doesn’t mean their influence is insignificant to your brand. They have the charm of authentic product enthusiasts.

Considering how Xiaohongshu encourages user-generated content, selecting KOCs as your brand ambassadors can give a new brand the boost it needs to go viral on the platform.


Xiaohongshu KOLs collaborations


Finding an influencer to collaborate with in the RED app is less complex than other e-commerce platforms. Here are two ways to consider:


Where to find a Little Red Book influencer


  • Pugongying

Pugongying is the official Xiaohongshu KOL platform, where you’ll find influencers categorized according to their industry and rates. Going through this process requires a 10% service fee, and bypassing it may result in content restriction. However, direct collaborations may sometimes evade detection.


Homepage of Pugongying KOLs service for Xiaohongshu

Homepage of Pugongying


  • Qiangua

This platform is a third-party monitoring tool that offers extensive search capabilities and a broader list of influencers. It provides insights into active followers and engagement rates.

On top of that, Qiangua offers estimated influencer costs for budgeting, with a starting cost of $250 per month for premium features.


Website Homepage of Qiangua KOLs service for Xiaohongshu

Website Homepage of Qiangua


4.    Launch a Brand Promotion Through Ads

While it’s true that LRB’s platform users prefer organic posts from other users, paid promotional content can help you reach specific consumer groups under your brand’s niche.

This app thrives in user-generated content, so it’s important to balance your efforts between paid and organic reach. Your advertising format options range from paid collaborations with KOLs to in-feed and native newsfeed ads.


Little Red Book different ads' formats


You can also take advantage of the platform’s growing social search trend by launching search ads. This advertising option will make your brand’s landing page appear in Little Red Book’s brand zone.

Choosing this format ensures your target audience sees your product or content on the top of the search results page when searching for industry-specific keywords.


5.    Optimize For Xiaohongshu’s Social Search Function

Social search is an emerging trend in many Chinese social media platforms. These days, local consumers often skip the part where they’re supposed to enter queries on local search engines and proceed to research the products they want on the app’s built-in search function.

The platform’s algorithm is mainly influenced by users searching content tags and the way they engage with posts. So, for a foreign brand to get traction in the app, your content must include relevant keywords trending within the Xiaohongshu community.

Just like how you optimize for any search engine, proper keywords should be visible on your content’s captions, product titles, or hashtags.


Xiaohongshu search function


Conducting thorough keyword research will help you identify the search volume and popularity of specific terms in your brand’s niche. Once you have the list of these words, you can incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy.

Keywords in Little Red Book are meant to enhance shopping experiences. By including the right tags in your content, potential consumers can find your official brand account or product listings faster. This process can also help you reach new audiences within your target industry.


6.    Long vs Short Content

While some Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) achieve over 15,000 engagements with just a few emojis, official brand accounts often succeed more with longer content.

For instance, content around 500 characters can better incorporate trending keywords, leveraging search traffic from your target audience.

You’ll also notice that top-performing brands on Little Red Book, like Perfect Diary, often combine lengthy posts with numerous emojis. Typically, they use this strategy to improve readability on social platforms.


Xiaohongshu lengthy posts with emojis


7.    Generate Traffic Through Lucky Draws

Little Red Book offers an official feature for brands to host lucky draws. Users can enter by following, bookmarking, and liking the content for a chance to win a prize. This method is effective for rapidly expanding your Chinese social media reach.

Initially, the lucky draw campaign may attract users primarily interested in freebies. However, the post can gain viral momentum as engagement increases, eventually reaching more relevant audiences.

For example, Sephora gained over 1,000 post engagements and 500 comments by launching a lucky draw that offered a product giveaway to a lucky user. This promotional campaign not only helped the brand garner traction within Xiaohongshu, but it also generated substantial interest in the specific item being given away.


Sephora’s Lucky Draw Event on Little Red Book

Sephora’s Lucky Draw Event on Little Red Book


8.    Utilize Xiaohongshu’s Live-streaming Content Features

In China’s live-streaming market, Xiaohongshu emerges as a rising contender. Although Taobao Live and Douyin still dominate the industry, the platform is showing promising progress, with over 90% of its revenue coming from live commerce sales.

In 2021, Little Red Book recorded a higher average order size than Douyin’s live-streaming channels. In addition, the real-time content for the Spring Festival in the same year gained an average daily click-through rate of 17.53%.


Xiaohongshu livestreaming


The platform’s live-streaming channels reached impressive sales of 198 million RMB during that major Chinese festival. This upward trend in terms of revenue proves how effective this medium is when it comes to promoting your brand on the platform.

Thanks to the prevalence of real-time content on the app, Little Red Book’s consumption trends are also changing. In addition to beauty and fashion products, these live broadcasts are also seeing an increasing demand for food, baby, maternal, and other goods.

You’ll also notice that the products sold on Xiaohongshu’s live-stream channels are relatively cheaper than on other apps. However, when it comes to cosmetics and skincare products, the app’s user base is more willing to pay more for premium, high-quality goods.


9.    Participate in E-Commerce Shopping Festivals

As an e-commerce platform, Little Red Book naturally leverages major shopping festivals in the Chinese market. They also commemorate domestic holidays like Chinese New Year and National Day by featuring event-related products and launching a sale to attract more consumers.

Besides these common festivals, Women’s Day is a significant event on the platform. With a predominantly female user base, the app eventually becomes a go-to source for gifts related to this celebration.


Xiaohongshu E-Commerce shopping festival posts

Posts on Xiaohongshu for the Chinese New Year, Women’s Day and White Valentine’s Day


Another unique event in the app that foreign brands can utilize is the RED Friday sales. It’s similar to the Western Black Friday shopping event, which often happens on the 4th Friday of November. It lasts until the first weeks of December.

Participating in these shopping festivals can benefit your brand as long as you execute the right marketing strategy. The chances of generating revenue are also high during these events because it’s when consumer spending is at its peak.


What types of content can you post on Little Red Book?

One reason Chinese consumers are drawn to Little Red Book is the variety of content types users can post on the platform. Each format offers a distinct way to connect with Chinese consumers within the app.


Xiaohongshu types of posts


  • Notes

Notes allow users to share insights, feelings, or views on various products through simple images and text. What makes it unique is its Q&A functionality, where users can seek advice on everyday topics, from fashion suggestions to professional guidance.


  • Videos

Though creating videos on Little Red Book involves more complexity than composing notes, this medium enables creators and brands to offer more substantial, informative content.

From how-to guides and thorough reviews by influencers to engaging brand stories, these videos aim for authenticity and provide tangible value.


  • Live Streams

Over the years, the live-streaming trend has embraced more aggressive sales tactics on mainstream e-commerce platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou. Meanwhile, brands on Little Red Book tend to take a relatively “soft sell” approach.

If you scroll through the app’s live-streaming content, you’ll notice that the posts that go viral often showcase in-depth product experiences rather than just direct selling. This strategy seems to resonate well with the platform’s extremely discerning audience.


Where does Xiaohongshu’s traffic mainly come from?

Xiaohongshu channels its traffic through a mix of social and search features, appealing to various user behaviors. Users can personalize their feeds to view content from friends, discover what’s nearby, or explore new accounts that align with their interests.

The Search function acts as the user’s direct line to specific interests. For example, a query for 兰蔻LANCOME not only highlights their official account but also returns posts from influencers and the community talking about the brand’s keyword.


Xiaohongshu traffic from search function


How Much Does Little Red Book Marketing Cost?

Opening an official Xiaohongshu account for your business requires a yearly verification fee. The payment currently stands at $288 and is renewed annually to maintain account verification status. However, this rate may change over time as the platform develops more tools for creators.


Quick Q&A

Is Xiaohongshu available outside China?

Yes, Xiaohongshu is available outside China. Foreign marketers can download the app via Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Play Store. Its website version is also accessible globally.

Why is the Little Red Book app popular in China?

Little Red Book owes its popularity to several vital factors that resonate with a young, savvy audience. At its core, the platform is built on trust. The app is teeming with genuine reviews, and users enthusiastically post videos and images showcasing their latest finds.


Your Trusted Xiaohongshu Marketing Partner in China!

Your Xiaohongshu marketing campaigns can open many business opportunities for your brand. Some may only see it as another social media channel, but the reality is it’s an emerging platform capable of creating a buzz for your products.

At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the subtleties inherent to the Chinese market – including consumer behaviors and the ever-evolving trends that shape it. With our extensive expertise in this niche, we offer you the avenue to unlock your brand’s potential and secure a formidable position as a leading entity in the industry.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social platforms, or collaborating with relevant KOLs, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the challenges of Little Red Book’s business scene.


contact us SDG



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