What sort of social networks or forums do you use?
I really only use Instagram personally, and Facebook – though I’m not that active on FB. For work I use Insta, FB, as well as WeChat and Weibo.
FYI, WeChat is a mobile chat app much like WhatsApp, but with way more functionality. It has a social feed function where people can share photos, videos, music, links etc. It also has an ‘official account’ function – so companies, brands, media and bloggers can open subscription accounts and push articles to you.
Do you personally interact with many of these brand accounts?
I run the Missy Skins official account. We aren’t as active on it as say, larger brands with massive reach. So we generally post content to it 1-2 times a week and that gets pushed to our subscribers’ subscription feed.
Being a ‘consumer’ of content means I am better able to create content that I think is relevant and speaks to our followers.
Does being on both sides of the social media fence – as marketer and as personal user – give you certain insights, or make you view branded content differently?
Yes, definitely. I mean, personally, I’m not on social media much – it’s a bit of a personal struggle for me as I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
But of course being a ‘consumer’ of content means I am better able to create content that I think is relevant and speaks to our followers.
A love/hate relationship – can you elabourate a bit on that?
I just feel like with social media there is a huge disconnect with real life relationships.
People are so consumed with being constantly ‘connected’ and care so much about their online identities, you know what I mean? The line between virtual and reality is blurring… I much prefer to interact with my friends IRL.
But in saying that, I am also fascinated by social media and how it has changed the social realm. And how information is so readily available now and people are much more informed, which can’t be too bad a thing.
On your personal social media channels, are you mostly connected with people you know IRL?
Yes, definitely. In terms of interaction, for sure. I do follow a bunch of people, brands and accounts for my own interest. For a long time my Instagram account was private, because really I just wanted to share with friends. But I made it public in a way for my work, because I feel like perhaps some of our Missy followers are interested in seeing the people behind the brand.
I think there’s a common misconception that you are what you share – which is true to a degree, but it’s ultimately only a small part of who that person is.
Interesting – does this mean you are part of the brand?
I’d say so! With a brand like Missy Skins, we’re really trying to focus on the lifestyle aspect, to offer a holistic vibe for the brand. I think it’s really important for a brand to speak to their followers in this way in the modern age.
And a lot of my friends always say to me – and the other girls I work with – that we really do live the spirit of Missy Skins – that we ARE the brand. So I feel like this is something that we can readily offer to our followers with hope to inspire.
These days consumers love hearing about the story behind brands, learning about who and what makes a brand, and who these people are outside of work, etc.
It’s a balancing act though… I mean, I am still a very private person and the things I share on social media are still ultimately considered and ‘groomed’, if you like. I think there’s a common misconception that you are what you share – which is true to a degree, but it’s ultimately only a small part of who that person is.
I believe it’s important to be authentic, at least to me – but it’s really about how much you let on. I feel like inauthenticity will eventually get exposed as followers become more informed. Nothing is fool-proof online these days, right? It’s impossible to be watertight. So the best thing is to be true. That’s how I see it anyway. Maybe also because I’m a little older and I feel like I can see through the BS more easily now.
Are there many product placements/ sponsored private accounts in China?
Oh yes definitely. HUGELY so. In fact, bloggers and celebs get paid huge sums of money for endorsement. To a degree that I feel like only few bloggers will promote out of love for a brand or because they think something is worthy or cool.
I think as a blogger – you need to still be conscious of building your own brand and endorsing product that resonates with your brand.
Do they have to disclose when content is sponsored?
Not at all! I know that’s starting to become mandatory in certain markets, right? But definitely not in China.
I mean I think as a blogger – you need to still be conscious of building your own brand and endorsing product that resonates with your brand. If you just do it for the money I think people can sniff that out. But that’s a refining act that will take some time here in China. It’s still very much a money-grabbing exercise here.
You mentioned before that people are keen to see the people behind the brand – so perhaps they don’t really want overtly branded stuff, but maybe more personal content. On your own account, you mentioned you were a bit curatorial. How do you decide what to share?
I am still quite spontaneous with what I share. But for example there are things I consciously don’t share. Or something I share might be reflective of how I’m feeling at the time but I’ll be cryptic about it 🙂
I guess you could say I’d like to be perceived online how I’d like to be perceived as a person.
How do you want to be perceived online?
I hate overt flaunting and showing off, and excessive selfies. I’m pretty true to myself online so I’ll usually post lifestyle snapshots, musings, inspiration and basically fun times in life. I guess you could say I’d like to be perceived online how I’d like to be perceived as a person.
And rainbow hair.
Hahaha yeah, and a bit of unicorn-ness.
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