Marketing on Xiao Hong Shu: A Beginner’s Guide & How to Get Started

If you’ve been paying attention to the social media world, you’ve probably heard of Xiao Hong Shu (XHS), also known as Little Red Book. 

But many marketers aren’t fully aware of its reach or its capabilities

The platform has been on the rise since 2013, but has recently emerged as a powerhouse in the realm of Chinese digital marketing with its unique combination of Social Networking, Product Recommendations, and E-Commerce capabilities. 

It has captured the attention of millions of users – in a relatively short time frame. Renowned for its product-centric approach in allowing users to share reviews, recommendations, and product details, it allows consumers to search for and find reliable information to help them make informed purchases.

It’s vital that product-focused and eCommerce businesses operating in China get familiar with XHS, and quickly, if they don’t want to get left behind.

We hope this post serves as a valuable and practical introduction to the thriving product-focused platform.


An Introduction to Xiao Hong Shu

Established in 2014, Xiao Hong Shu (Little Red Book) has arrived as China’s premier shopping platform, particularly resonating with young urban Chinese women.

While it has cultivated a reputation as a shopping platform, its core is a content-sharing site akin to a hybrid of Instagram and Pinterest, with a sprinkle of Taobao. Users post product photos, reviews, and tips, contributing to a unique blend of user-generated content, word-of-mouth advertising, and community-building, diverging from traditional e-commerce practices.

Little Red Book melds its user community and e-commerce platform, enabling content sharing, product reviewing, and purchasing in a single space, while emphasizing authenticity, security, and a strong, trusted user community.

This innovative combination of features has underscored its massive appeal and success in the market.

What Makes XHS Unique Compared to Similar Platforms?

Xiao Hong Shu (Red) primarily serves as an e-commerce platform, focusing on products for sale, product reviews, and influencer recommendations.

TikTok, on the other hand, is primarily a platform for short videos. Although it does contain product reviews, its focus is more broad, and it doesn’t allow businesses to actually sell.

Instagram is a platform for sharing both photos and videos, and it does contain product reviews and incorporates e-commerce functionality, but adoption has been slow thus far.

Each of these three platforms harnesses similar potential: leveraging social content to drive social commerce, but Xiao Hong Shu stands alone when it comes to its eCommerce focus and capabilities.

Content Types on Xiao Hong Shu

Xiao Hong Shu offers a wide range of content options for users to post and interact with:

1. Product Reviews


Product reviews are the main lifeblood of the XHS platform. Users can share personal insights and ratings about various products.

Authentic reviews like these can foster trust, leading the platform to turn into a safe place where consumers can rest assured as they explore products.

2. Lifestyle Tips


Lifestyle tips serve as a source of inspiration and knowledge of a user’s daily life and their interests. This content type often encourages users to improve themselves, explore new interests, and to connect with others who also share the same passions and values. 

3. Travel Recommendations


If you are looking to embark on memorable travel journeys, XHS is the perfect platform for you. Users provide valuable advice and guidance through their content, from travel itineraries to safety and budget tips, they’ve got you covered with their collective experiences.

4. Product Comparisons


Product comparisons are exactly as they sound – they involve analyzing and contrasting between two or more similar products or brands to help consumers make better purchase decisions. 

Consumers can weigh the advantages, drawbacks, and compare prices for a variety of products by scrolling through this comparison content. 

5. Educational and Learning


Education and learning content includes study tips, book recommendations, and even career advice on XHS. The purpose of this content is to inform, teach, and share knowledge among users. This content type can cover a wide range of subjects and interests.

Thriving Industries on Xiao Hong Shu

While many different businesses are trying their best to take the helm at XHS, there are only a handful of industries that thrive:

1. Travel and Tourism

XHS is a great platform for travel enthusiasts. Travel agencies can develop huge growth by promoting their services and destinations. It is known to be a dynamic and popular category that offers a wealth of knowledge and engagement to the users. 

2. Food and Beverage

XHS helps the Food and Beverage industry to easily connect with their consumers and to gather valuable feedback to improve themselves. All you need is visually appealing content with influencer collaborations to add a little “spark” and stand out from competitors. 

3. Beauty and Skincare

Beauty influencers and Makeup artists shine on XHS. Cosmetic brand recommendations, skincare products, and makeup tutorials are incredibly popular on this platform. 

Beauty influencers often share their superb comparisons while promoting their offerings and at the same time – easily connecting with highly receptive audiences.

4. Fashion and Apparel

Users intermittently share their styling tips on XHS that definitely create a plus point for the fashion brands and clothing lines to easily showcase their products. Not only that, XHS also offers E-commerce integration that simplifies the shopping process for the users. 

5. Luxury and Lifestyle 

Luxury and International fashion brands have successfully created a high rise on XHS due to its engaged and discerning user base. Users will often share their luxury purchases and experiences that help consumers who are looking for high-end products to make better purchase decisions and discover new and upcoming products.

How to Setup an Account on XHS

Setting up an account with XHS is easy. It works the same way as you would typically set up an account on any social media account. Sign up via WeChat or phone number and pick the content that you would like to see in XHS and you are good to go. 

The opening screen of Xiao Hong Shu

Verifying your account as a business account involves some additional steps – especially if you want the coveted blue checkmark.

Notice the blue ticks beside each of the account names

Here are some helpful tips for those setting up a business account:

  1. You will need to sign an application form. Your account name needs to be the same as your company name. 
  2. Your account cannot include any external links to other platforms including TikTok China (抖音). 
  3. Your profile photo needs to be relevant to the name you are applying for. 
  4. You will need to write a 20 word account bio as an introduction to your business. The claims that you make about your brand must be factual. Phrases like, “The best thing in town,” or, “Number 1 product,” will likely be rejected.
  5. If you have a registered trademark, you will need to submit documents to prove ownership of the trademark.
  6. Bear in mind that you will need to pay 600 RMB to verify your account and this is not a one-time fee. Paying the fee also does not guarantee an approval of the verification. It is only valid for one year and reapplication is required for the following year after the expiration. You will also be charged with a fee of 600RMB for the following years if you wish to continue on the verification.  
  7. The fee is non-refundable even if the verification process fails.
  8. All businesses with a business license are eligible to apply for business verification on XHS.
  9. Note that complete documentation will take around 1 week for validation. 

Benefits of a Blue Checkmark and Advertising on XHS

If you become a verified business, your account will be fully upgraded to contain various free services such as Data Insights, Operational Tools, Fans Interaction, Traffic Conversion, and Monetization. 

XHS is the greatest platform for marketing products in China as it includes User-Generated content, Influencer Collaborations and E-Commerce capabilities in a single platform. It is an opportunity to reach highly engaged audiences. It also brings strong brand exposure and awareness to the users. 

Businesses can easily reach the platform’s engaged user base.

Here are some key aspects of and options for advertising on XHS:

1. Influencer Collaborations

Influencers on Xiao Hong Shu

These can also be known as sponsored posts. Influencer Marketing is a powerful voice in today’s society. People tend to imitate and keep up with latest trend nowadays. Whereas partnering with influencers is also a common advertising strategy on XHS.

Brands can choose to collaborate with influencers to create content that resonates with their target audiences. 

2. Types of Advertising on Xiao Hong Shu

Ads on Xiao Hong Shu

Just like any other social media platform, XHS offers a variety of advertising formats. Businesses can test Banner Advertising, Carousel Advertising or Video Advertising to showcase their products and services by expressing their own creativity.  

3. Advertising Targeting Options


After choosing the types of advertising you would like to showcase to the audience, now you can target your audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviours, and locations. Precisely targeting the right audiences helps to ensure the highest engagement and reach to your most relevant audiences.  

4. Paid Search Advertising


This is similar to paid search advertising on Google. XHS allows businesses to bid on specific keywords to have their products or services appear prominently featured on the search results. 

Bear in mind that this feature is only available in China and Hong Kong at the moment.

5. Cross-Promotion

On XHS, brands can cross-promote their products with any other relevant (or even irrelevant) brands or products to maximise the reach and visibility to users. This can help both brands to create exposure without incurring the full cost and effort of acquiring new consumers or users independently. 

xhs screenshot

Dive into Xiao Hong Shu for Product-Focused Growth

XHS provides access to a diverse and active Chinese user community. Advertising or marketing on XHS can be informative, persuasive, or a combination of both. How you approach the platform depends on the audience you want to reach and the goals you want to achieve for your business. The Xiao Hong Shu platform allows companies to effectively expand their businesses to the Chinese market. If you haven’t yet, start marketing on it today.

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