Becky Li is not your average digital influencer.
The journalist-turned-fashion-blogger is one of the most influential social media personalities in China.
She counts more than 3 million followers on Weibo—China’s Twitter—and more than 4.5 million followers on the WeChat mobile app. Naturally, this means she wields a huge influence over the shopping behavior of her followers.
Last year, she sold 100 Mini Cooper Countryman cars in just five minutes on WeChat.
The campaign gave her followers granted first access to a limited-edition model, priced at 285,000 yuan (US$45,500) and painted in a rare turquoise hue called Caribbean Aqua.
Li’s real name is Fang Yimin. She started out as a journalist in 2002 at the Southern Metropolis News, a daily newspaper based in Guangzhou. By 2015, she decided to become blogger full-time.
We had a chat with Li on the secrets of her success.
Do you think the new generation of Chinese consumers is more easily influenced by social media?
Today the new generation of consumers are savvier and more rational. Instead of chasing blindly after the latest trends, they are more focused on their own needs.
Hence, they are more connected to influencers who share their tastes and interests. And customers have more choice because of the variety of influencers out there.
What do you think the role of the influencer is?
Digital influencers act as a bridge between brands and readers and promote greater interaction.
For example, my readers love my stories on the histories of brands, which they wouldn’t have actively sought out before.
Trust is also important. We build up a bond with our readers through daily articles and communications on our platform.
We are like friends–but more than friends, because of the trust we’ve built up together. We provide a good channel of communication that shortens the distance between the brand and the average shopper.
As a successful influencer, what kind of content works for your audience?
I don’t really think too much about it. In fact, I trust my instincts when I write and I believe that’s the beauty of blogging.
My readers always tell me that they feel as if my stories speak to them like a friend.
I also write only about topics that interest me. For example, when I’m looking to buy a printed dress I’ll write about it. I hear an interesting song and I’ll write about it.
What’s made you successful?
First, I think it’s the right moment to run my own blog.
Second, I think it’s the trust. The topics that I write about truly interest me, and the products I recommend I have tested myself.
I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be perfect either. I’m not very photogenic, so I share with my fans details of how to look good in pictures.
I have a petite frame so I share information with my fans about what clothes to wear to look taller.
Also, I think I understand what my readers want from understanding myself. I also listen to their needs by going through all the comments.
Fans will buy the products that celebrities promote no matter what. But for digital influencers like me, I connect to my readers because, like them, I’m also an average person.
I’m not a pop idol. My experiences will speak to them in a more direct way.
Adapted from an original article first published in the South China Morning Post.