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A Simple Guide to Using Zhihu for B2B Marketing in China

Considering the increasing complexity of B2B purchasing decisions, educational content has become a crucial element in B2B marketing. The need for educational content makes Zhihu an ideal t platform to engage.


Zhihu’s informative nature, user base and credibility as a knowledge platform made it an indispensable channel for B2B and tech brands to establish thought leadership and raise brand awareness. This social media platform is a prime opportunity to provide expert knowledge and become a valuable source for industry-related questions.


Ready to uncover the top tips you’ll need to integrate Zhihu into your China marketing strategy? Let’s dive in.


What Is Zhihu?


As a platform, Zhihu is most similar to Quora. A forum-style network that combines the best of a simple keyword search and access to friendly advice.


Zhihu (知乎) translates to “do you know?”. As its name suggests, the platform allows users to ask questions and get valuable and trustworthy answers from the community. People from all industries and professions turn to Zhihu for information on various topics.


As of 2018, the site had 200 million registered users and over 120 million responses, making it China's largest knowledge-sharing community. With the tagline "Discover a wider world," Zhihu is undoubtedly an essential source for Chinese netizens to obtain professional knowledge and views on everything from social phenomenons to markets, industry trends, sports and beyond.


Why Zhihu Is Essential for B2B Marketing in China


According to The Paper, Zhihu has 100 million monthly active users, and 52.6% of them live in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. As for gender, the male-female ratio is 6:4. And the average user spends 70 minutes per day on the platform.


Zhihu users are professional, educated, affluent, and loyal to the community — all of which are appealing characteristics for brand marketers.


User Base


One of the most attractive aspects of Zhihu for B2B and tech brands is its user base. 80% of all users hold a bachelor’s degree, with some common job titles including product managers, programmers, engineers, and designers.


Zhihu’s educated audience base is more interested in in-depth content and has more purchasing power. They are primarily interested in improving their professional knowledge (rather than being entertained), thus making it an ideal platform for B2B and tech brands to reach industry professionals.


SEO Value


User intent is one of the most important elements for search engine algorithms. Search engines’ goal is to provide a satisfying answer to your questions, which makes value-based results — like Q&As — rank high in many cases.


Zhihu has strong authority on the major search engines, Baidu and Sogou, with Q&As ranking prominently in results — a measure of the platform's reliability, as it frequently ranks higher than significant news publications. Zhihu is also highly ranked in the WeChat search feature.


In addition, the high-quality content on Zhihu also has a long-tail effect, which means it stays on the search result page for a long time as people still search for it, which will consistently bring users to the page and drive traffic to the brand.


Influence


Zhihu is the go-to platform in China for netizens to find the information they need. Many people turn to Zhihu as a primary search engine to explore answers and drive live and business decisions.


Zhihu’s knowledgeable user base and platform influence attract many academia and social influencers to join the platform as content contributors. As a brand, you can partner with theseKOLs and leverage their influence and reach on the platform to maximize your campaign performance.


Credibility


Zhihu makes it easy for you to get insights from industry experts as trustworthy sources. This reliability is rare in social media platforms, especially now that livestream and virality have made quick, consumable content the norm.


As one of the earliest Q&A knowledge platforms, Zhihu has built a strong reputation over the years. Today, Zhihu continues to play an important role in providing in-depth and objective insights from verified platform users. The credibility Zhihu holds makes it an invaluable social media platform to inform and influence the buyer’s journey.


How to Use Zhihu for B2B Marketing


Set Up a Business Account on Zhihu


One way to use Zhihu for B2B marketing is by creating a business account. A business account is an account Zhihu has verified, which makes it trusted by users.


But there is a caveat: only businesses registered in mainland China can register an official Zhihu business account. All other companies can register an individual account and use it to represent their business.


After opening an account, you are now able to post long-form articles, ask & answer questions and engage in discussions to promote your company offering.


Collaborate with KOLs


On Zhihu, a lot of KOLs are academic or professional experts in a wide range of fields. This is in contrast with most other networks’ KOLs who tend to be content creators and entertainers. But it isn’t surprising given Zhihu’s highly-educated user base.


B2B and tech brands can partner with KOLs and leverage their knowledge and content authority on Zhihu to increase your brand awareness.


However, KOL selection is crucial for the success of any campaign. Ideally, your KOL is familiar with the industry and can provide your product and service with extra credibility.

B2B and tech brands can launch KOL campaigns as part of their overall China marketing to leverage the KOLs’ reputation and increase brand awareness.


However, KOL selection is crucial for the success of any campaign. Ideally, your KOL is someone who’s familiar with the industry and can provide extra credibility to your product and service.


Promote Your Brand with Zhi+


Zhi+ is a supplemental feature that can boost your Zhihu answers and ads to a target audience looking at specific content. Zhi+ ads can increase exposure and drive more users to your website.


Zhi+ ads appear in two ways:

  • Next Answer Ads – Promoting your answer and showing it to a user as the second answer to a related question.

  • Content Divider Ads – Inserting your ad in your content or content from another user. For example, in the comment section.


Note: Advertising via Zhi+ will require a separate Zhi+ advertising account.


Zhi+’s advantage is that it places ads in front of users interested in topics related to your brand. This shared interest means your brand may be of use or interest to the user. Once they see an ad, they can find out more by clicking on your CTA.


Leverage its SEO Power


As we mentioned earlier, Zhihu questions (and, therefore, answers) are often the top results in the Chinese search engine Baidu. Baidu gives Zhihu a high Domain Authority (DA) and prioritizes its Zhihu articles or Q&A content on the search engine results page (SERP).


You can leverage this ranking power to increase your content’s visibility and drive traffic to your account. In addition, Zhihu allows you to link to external websites, thus driving traffic to your website landing page.


Zhihu Is a Powerful Tool for B2B and Tech Brands to Drive Brand Awareness


Zhihu has evolved to be a lot more than a Q&A forum. Its educational style allows you to foster thought leadership while also engaging the audience who are looking to make an informed decision. It’s also a great place to publish top-of-the-funnel content that drives brand awareness and influences the purchasing decision in the early stage of a buyer’s journey. At Tribe China, we’ve seen great results with clients who combine Zhihu with other platforms such as WeChat.


A successful practice on Zhihu begins with the quality and consistency of the content you’re sharing. Remember that the platform’s users are educated professionals with equally high expectations.

Interested in discovering the best Chinese social media platforms for B2B and tech brands? Download the comprehensive guide: