If you think Skype is pretty big with 31 million users all over the world, you may be curious about how another instant message software called Tencent QQ got its 800 million active users. The answer is, it’s in China. The demographic scale is huge, so as the potential market hidden in those QQ users.
If you live in China, have a business in China, or simply interested in how Chinese people communicate online, Tencent QQ is the first social media service you should know, just because it got the largest user scale; and it is certainly the biggest instant messaging system in China.
First questions first, what exactly is QQ?
Tencent QQ is an instant messenger like Skype, MSN or any other instant messenger that you are familiar with. There is Enghish version of QQ in the link here. You can download it for free.
Just like any other software, you have to apply for an account in order to use it. The application for a QQ account number is completely free. After you got a QQ account number, then you can start chatting with your friends via QQ. On Tencent QQ, you can simply by text, call, or video chat with your friend individually, or you can organize a temporary group chat. This is the basic function of QQ software. If your total online time exceeds 320 days, your account will automatically update into a “Sun Number”. This means you have the privilege to establish a permanent group limited within 100 people.
The thing that makes Tencent a social media giant in China is that they synchronize the IM software with other online services and social media platforms, including email, blogs, microblog, online games, and even online payment. All these functions can be achieved by just one click on the QQ software panel. Tencent’s portal website is the second website that people in China are likely to navigate when they open their browser. The first one is Baidu.
Here is an instant geographical hotspot demonstration; you can see how many QQ users in China are actually online right now.
About Tencent QQ marketing
There are several ways to do free QQ marketing with the Instant Message Software. For example, you can:
- Publish Ads and Links to friends and discussion group
From my point of view, copy and paste Ads and Web links to specific “friend” or in the group is so cliché that people already got really tired of it. One of the dangers to do this that people will regard you as a phishing liar and put you in the black list, and block you for good. However, if you are a current group owner, you can send as many brand messages as you want.
- Open organization’s Qzone and account
To open an organization’s Qzone is just like to start a Facebook page. The only difference is that your targeted audience would be facing young Chinese online users especially students under the age of 25. This is a way to let your voice out and hopefully get some feedback as well.
Besides those free tactics, Tencent offers paid marketing programs.
This is the most effective way of publicity via Tencent. However, it is not a public relations campaign anymore, if you decide to pay for Tencent and let them customize your content and publish it in Qzone games, pop-up windows, and so on. Tencent’s marketing program is more considered as an advertising package. Their clients include Nike, KFC, BMW, Estee Lauder and so on.
What do you think of Tencent’s paid marketing programs vs. opening free Qzone pages?