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  • Writer's pictureLeaf Digital

Zhihu: A Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing

Updated: Jun 28

When considering influencer marketing for B2B, the choice of platform becomes pivotal. Among the many different options, Zhihu, China’s premier Q&A platform, stands out as a prime space for impactful B2B influencer collaborations. With a user base boasting 180 million registered users and 35 million active monthly participants, it represents a unique ecosystem for B2B influencer marketing. Here we provide a guide to B2B influencer marketing through Zhihu.

Statistics on Zhihu userbase education level
Source: China Internet Watch: Profile of Zhihu

The majority of Zhihu's userbase consists of highly educated individuals, holding degrees and possessing substantial purchasing power. Unlike other platforms like LinkedIn or Quora, Zhihu isn’t merely a space for information sharing; it's a thriving hub for professionals to establish thought leadership, akin to how LinkedIn functions in the West.

What distinguishes Zhihu for B2B influencer marketing is its direct monetization avenues. Professionals here can convert their expertise into income through pay-per-view live-streamed talks, podcasts, and e-books. Given the platform's well-educated, white-collar demographic, content published on Zhihu garners greater engagement compared to similar content on mainstream platforms like WeChat or Weibo.

For B2B companies aiming to bolster their digital presence, Zhihu stands as a pivotal platform. Its extensive community of industry professionals offers credible information, garnering trust from millions of users. If branding has been given a lower priority due to a focus on sales-driven strategies, Zhihu emerges as a solution, offering a space where expertise speaks louder than flashy banners or extravagant budgets.

The platform’s unique advantage lies in its content quality. Here, informative answers and professional content carry weight on their own merit. Crafting the right content strategy is crucial to yield positive results, emphasizing the need for niche-specific influencers or KOLs to reach the desired audience effectively.

Collaborating with Zhihu’s community of experts, professionals, and thought leaders presents an opportunity for brands to co-create content or participate in relevant discussions, generating substantial buzz. Partnering with these KOLs allows brands to tap into their influence and expand their reach within the platform's knowledgeable user base.

Zhihu's reputation for providing in-depth, objective insights from verified users distinguishes it in an era dominated by fleeting, viral content. This credibility amplifies its role in shaping the buyer’s journey, providing an invaluable space for informing and influencing consumer decisions.

Choosing the right KOL

Influencer talking to her phone with a ring light

Selecting the right KOL to collaborate with is crucial in order to reach the right audience. Here are some key points to consider when choosing the right KOL for collaboration:

  1. Seek renowned industry experts or figures with extensive professional experience. Their credibility builds trust among your audience.

  2. Focus on thought leaders whose advice influences your target audience's decisions—industry experts, award recipients, or aligned public speakers for instance.

  3. Prioritize content creators delivering high-quality, industry-specific content. Look for accounts with positive reviews and broad reach, aligning with your brand's message.

  4. Ensure the KOL's content resonates with your brand's core subjects and campaign objectives. Validation within the industry is more critical than mere follower count.

  5. Collaborate with KOLs actively engaging in discussions, optimizing content for their audience. Partner with individuals deeply understanding your industry, even if they cater to a narrower yet relevant sector of your audience.

Understanding local influencers' sway over purchasing behaviors is crucial in navigating China's digital landscape. Their deep cultural embedding resonates with potential partners, forging connections and boosting brand presence. For new businesses seeking reliable KOLs, Leaf Digital offers assistance in identifying the right influencers, proving a strategic investment in China's B2B marketing journey.

The value of collaborating with KOLs

Collaborating with KOLs is a strategic cornerstone, reshaping brand narratives and broadening business prospects. Aligning your brand with these influencers isn't merely about gaining visibility; it's about capturing the attention of your precise audience amidst market noise. Partnering with KOLs extends beyond exposure; it's a potent means to craft a resonating message. Their influence molds perceptions and decisions, fostering more leads and nurturing potential customers. It’s the difference between merely existing in the market and being actively sought after.

Influencers thrive on creativity and authenticity. Granting them creative freedom fosters symbiotic relationships, yielding innovative content that naturally connects with their audience. Guidelines are necessary, but an open approach enables them to create content that authentically speaks to their followers.

KOL relationships aren’t one-off transactions; they’re long-term investments. Nurturing these partnerships builds a chorus of brand advocates who enthusiastically endorse your brand, both online and offline. Consistent engagement fosters mutual growth and understanding, shaping enduring connections.

Authenticity remains paramount. Ensuring all shared content is accurate and genuine is crucial. Moreover, it's essential to maintain a balance – neither overly praising nor understating your brand, but presenting it truthfully.

In summary, collaborating with KOLs is not merely a financial expense but a strategic investment. It’s a continuous commitment to improving content quality, crafting compelling case studies, and nurturing relationships. ROI might not always be immediate, but the lasting impact on brand credibility and market presence is undeniable.

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