24 June 2022
Xiaohongshu is one of the most popular social platforms in China with over 200 million monthly active users in 2021. In particular, it is one of the most trusted for sharing product reviews and recommendations. With its unique user base consisting largely of female millennials, Xiaohongshu has become a vital touchpoint in the consumer journey for brands that wish to establish trust and advocacy with target consumers.
Many brands have created official accounts on the platform and executed KOLC marketing campaigns consisting of both KOLs and KOCs, conducting product seeding operations and facilitating word-of-mouth marketing on Xiaohongshu. With the platform’s in-house ecommerce component, many brands have created official shops to facilitate purchase activity directly on Xiaohongshu.
As Xiaohongshu matures and its community continues to grow, the platform has implemented different strategies to ensure the well-being of its user community. Some brands have failed to comply with Xiaohongshu’s new regulations and have faced repercussions such as getting blocked and in some cases even banned from the platform entirely. Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on and how you can avoid falling foul of Xiaohongshu’s moderators.
Xiaohongshu has recently updated its regulations for brands that use its platform for marketing and advertising activities. The new regulations take the form of what Xiaohongshu calls its Brand Violation Points System. We’ll show you what this means, and what you need to do to stay on the right side of Xiaohongshu’s rules.
In an attempt to maintain a safe, reliable community for all its users, Xiaohongshu has been increasing its efforts to control sponsored content on the platform and ensure that all sponsored content conforms with regulations intended to protect users. Xiaohongshu has stated that it will identify and block fake content through a combination of algorithms that assess abnormal exposure and content characteristics, human review and user feedback.
Under Xiaohongshu’s new regulations, each brand account will be assigned 10 points starting from 20 April. Brands that are found to have published what Xiaohongshu deems as “unauthorised commercial promotions” will have 2 points deducted from their account for each violation. Point deductions will entail punitive action taken against the offending account, with repercussions ranging from a warning, to account suspension for up to four weeks.
Naturally, these actions will have a severe negative impact on the brand’s accounts on the platform, with consequences such as reduced (or completely eliminated) search appearances of the affected brand account(s) and a reduction in public and recommended traffic to content related to the brand.
So what are these “unauthorised commercial promotions”, and what can you do to stay on Xiaohongshu’s good side?
User-Generated Content Should Be Generated by Users of Your Products
Xiaohongshu has found fake user-generated content on the platform. Some examples include creating fraudulent accounts posing as general consumers, posting endorsements for a product. Other brands were also found to have worked with certain third parties (called “external intermediaries” by the platform) to give a large number of users cash in exchange for positive, allegedly false marketing content. Moreover, these posts have been misleadingly promoted to users as authentic posts.
In December 2021, 81 brands including Dove and Neutrogena were banned from Xiaohongshu for engaging in false marketing practices and promoting fake user-generated content, according to the platform. As a result, official accounts for all of these brands were blocked, and searches for any of these brands returned an error message stating that the brand “is suspected of false marketing, and content related to this brand will not be displayed”.
Tips for Staying on the Safe Side on Xiaohongshu
Xiaohongshu has made it abundantly clear that it is not playing around when implementing these new regulations. The platform is aware that it is a trusted source of product information for consumers, and has rightly demonstrated a strong and respectable commitment to protecting the well-being of its users by ensuring the delivery of high-quality, authentic content to enable users to make the most well-informed purchase decisions.
- With that in mind, here are some suggestions for brands to stay in line with Xiaohongshu’s regulations and help make the platform a better environment for all users:
- Ensure that your brand is following all regulations, processes and guidelines when utilising Xiaohongshu for marketing activities.
- These regulations can change frequently, so it is imperative that you ensure your team stays up to date. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
- When working with any KOLs or KOCs, you need to ensure that the influencers you collaborate with are from a trusted source. A trusted influencer services provider will work with your team and members of your influencer pool to ensure that all content published is high quality. Legitimate influencer services firms will provide your team with real-time campaign data, and will bring impactful, measurable results to your social media influencer marketing campaigns.
- Work with your teams to increase the quality control standards for any content that you publish, either through your official brand accounts or through influencer accounts. This is especially important when it comes to the language used and the claims that are made.
Beyond Xiaohongshu, it is vital for brands to always stay alert and up-to-date when it comes to evaluating their marketing performance and best practices in China. In particular, it is a wake up call for brands to re-evaluate how they identify their China influencer marketing pool, and what standard operating procedures they utilise when working with influencers across all social media platforms and consumer touchpoints in China.
How PJdaren can make your brand’s China influencer marketing journey a success
China is a key market for most global brands, especially those in the FMCG industry. The very speed of the evolution of China’s e-commerce infrastructure makes this market an ideal source of growth for most brands. However, it is crucial for brands that wish to succeed in China to adapt to local regulations, cultural uniqueness and consumer habits.
Creating brand awareness and building brand equity is essential for success in China’s ultra-competitive market. Choosing the right social media, e-commerce and social commerce platforms for your brand to establish a strong local presence is one of the most important steps in constructing the reputation and authority of your brand in China. As a result, choosing the right partner to guide you through this journey is tantamount to achieving a higher degree of success.
With a network of 4 million+ KOLs and KOCs, PJdaren is equipped to optimise and execute any brand campaign, regardless of industry. Combined with specialist content teams working with your brand and your influencer pool, you can rest assured knowing that any and all content created and posted through your partnership with PJdaren will be in line with the regulations of any platform that your campaign is executed on. PJdaren’s campaign management platform provides actionable data in real-time, enabling you to make timely decisions and maximise the success of all your brand activations.
Learn more about:
- Building Brand Equity in China
- An Intro to In-Home User Testing
- How to Recruit the Right Content Creators for your Brand
- An In-Depth IHUT Case Study
- Why Your Brand Needs KOLs and KOCs
About 评价达人 – PJdaren:
Since 2016, PJdaren has helped some of the world’s largest brands build trust, collect insights and drive sales in China by engaging Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs) and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) through our state-of-the-art influencer marketing solutions.
Our full-service solutions connect brands with our over 4 million-strong KOC and KOL community. We facilitate targeted, authentic conversations and content, enabling brands to capture the market with measurable results.