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Luxury brands join the social

07-04-2011 13:32 BJT

BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zippo Manufacturing Co, maker of the iconic refillable lighters, is hosting a rock 'n' roll competition with Tencent, in which bands from Beijing and Shanghai will compete for votes cast online.

While Zippo's marketing team is using social media to promote the Zippo Encore rock festival as well as its brand, Chinese bands musicians are hoping to win grand prizes from the company by campaigning on their Weibo accounts.

Zippo is not the only luxury brand to join the social media scene in China to advertise its products. Instead of creating a Chinese account on Twitter, which can be difficult to access in China, brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Este Lauder, Louis Vuitton, Anna Sui, and Swarovski have active and popular micro blog accounts on Sina Weibo.

The marketing teams for these brands have learned from their initial social media experiences with English-speaking customers. Social media channels are time-saving and cost-efficient for marketers and also interactive and dynamic for fans and customers.

Currently, China has the world's largest Internet user population and has witnessed a rapid rise in micro blogs. Sina Weibo's users numbered 140 million as of April, less than two years after it launched. Tencent Weibo's number of users reached 200 million last month.

In addition to a large online population, China will also soon surpass Japan in becoming the biggest consumer of luxury goods. Luxury companies have responded to these trends by creating interactive micro blogs as a marketing strategy.

"Micro blogs are a fairly new but hot tool in China. Most brands have just recently started their micro blog and we are all experimenting with the potential," said Anne Wu, Este Lauder's public relations manager. Este Lauder currently has nearly 41,000 followers on Sina Weibo.

Zippo spokesman Gao Xu told China Daily that the Sina Weibo marketing strategy increased interaction between the brand and customers. The micro blog often gives out Zippo prizes to keen followers.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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