This Platform is Cracking Down on How Brands Advertise - Are you a Winner or a Sinner?
With over 200 million monthly active users in 2021, Xiaohongshu is one of the most popular social platforms in China. 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 authenticity 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 recent release of the platform’s in-house e-commerce component, many brands have created official shops to facilitate purchase activity directly on Xiaohongshu.
For some brands, the continued success of their marketing operations on Xiaohongshu may be in jeopardy. These brands have had their accounts banned and searches blocked on Xiaohongshu. Will you be one of them? Let’s find out.
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 how your brand will be affected.
In an attempt to maintain a safe, reliable community for all its users, Xiaohongshu has been increasing its efforts to crack down on illegal marketing activity 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 to start. 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.
During the first wave of content patrols, 81 brands were disciplined for violating marketing regulations on Xiaohongshu, including Dove, Nivea and Neutrogena.
So what are these “unauthorised commercial promotions”, and what can you do to stay off Xiaohongshu’s naughty list?
User-Generated Content Should be Generated by Users of Your Products
Xiaohongshu has found fake user-generated content on the platform. Moreover, these posts have been misleadingly promoted to users as authentic posts. The 81 brands including Dove and Neutrogena were banned from Xiaohongshu in December 2021 for engaging in false marketing practices and promoting fake user-generated content. 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 Off Xiaohongshu's Naughty List
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 KFD can make your brand's China e-commerce journey a success
China is a hugely attractive market for global brands. 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 fully in-house teams and the most reliable e-commerce management services, our brand accelerator is fully equipped to optimise any brand campaign. Combined with specialists working together with your brand and your influencer pool, you can rest assured knowing that any and all content created and posted through your partnership with KFD will not violate regulations on any platform that you execute your campaign on. With KFD, your e-commerce journey will be managed in a closed-loop, end-to-end environment supported by some of the most experienced China e-commerce experts in the world.