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Start Making Money on Xiaohongshu: From Setup to Success Guide

Have you given any thought to making money on Xiaohongshu? From the first xiaohongshu setup to reaching income, this article provides an organized method for negotiating the complexities of the platform and offering practical advice for using Xiaohongshu successfully, regardless of your expertise level.

The Social Commerce Giants | Xiaohongshu vs Lemon8

Start Making Money on Xiaohongshu: From Setup to Success Guide 1

A social media and e-commerce platform called Xiaohongshu was launched in 2013. The literal meaning is Little Red Book. More current statistics show that Malaysia has the second-highest number of Xiaohongshu users outside of China—more than 2.5 million.

Like Pinterest, this content-sharing tool lets users save material to their own boards, upload pictures with evaluations and advice for other users, and make comments. Many people really characterise the site as a cross between Pinterest and Instagram, plus a little bit of Taobao, the biggest online retail site in China.

Apart from being a product search engine, Xiaohongshu boasts over 300 million active users per month and is the preferred platform for user-generated content (UGC), digital community development, and word-of-mouth advertising.

In contrast, Lemon8 was launched considerably later in 2020 and was intended to imitate Xiaohongshu’s success. First introduced in Japan, it then spread to the United States, the UK, and the remainder of Southeast Asia.

In April 2023, Lemon8 overtook Pinterest as the top downloaded app in the United States. In Malaysia as of April 2024, Lemon8 is ranked ninth in the Google Play Store and second in the Lifestyle category of the Apple App Store.

The Difference between Xiaohongshu and Lemon8.

Considering its novelty, Lemon8 still looks to be lacking certain features in comparison to Xiaohongshu. With the Nearby function on Xiaohongshu, for example, you may look for posts, people, and items that are near to where you are right now.

Additionally, Lemon8 content is localized in each market, unlike XHS. For instance, Lemon8 mostly publishes content in Thai, Vietnamese, and Malay in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. On the contrary, Xiaohongshu is a kind of link between China and the Chinese communities living abroad; it only serves Chinese material and is popular among Chinese people worldwide.

Regarding e-commerce, Xiaohongshu offers an autonomous e-commerce platform with two kinds of merchants: self-run storefronts and third-party brand owners. Furthermore, to promote their products on the app, a number of international luxury companies including YSL, Shiseido, Dior, and Fendi have teamed with influencers for KOL marketing. Currently one of Xiaohongshu’s primary revenue streams is live streaming.

The Constraint of Xiaohongshu

Xiaohongshu (XHS) provides a special social platform for brands and businesses wishing to enter China or the regional Chinese market.

Setting up your brand account, though, requires an understanding of a few important things. Interestingly, a lot of business capabilities are exclusive to China and there isn’t a specific app for people outside of China. With most of its material in Chinese, the network is a strong option if you want to reach a Chinese audience in particular.

Notwithstanding these restrictions, Xiaohongshu is effectively used for marketing by a lot of companies and brands outside of China, including Malaysia.

Setting Up Xiaohongshu Brand Account

In the following sections, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up your Xiaohongshu business account. Before we start, there are generally 3 types of Xiaohongshu accounts: Standard, Video Channel (视频号), and Pro Account (专业号).

1. Xiaohongshu Standard Account.

Simply download the Xiaohongshu app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and customise your profile photo, bio, and other details, as you would with any other social networking or lifestyle app.

ALERT #1 –  You can open an XHS account with a local mobile phone, however each number can only be paired with one XHS account.

For example, if you currently have a personal XHS account, you will need another cell number to create a brand account, unless you convert your personal account to a brand account.Unlike comparable apps like Instagram or TikTok, you cannot create or manage numerous XHS accounts with the same app or cell number.

ALERT#2 – consider twice before setting the XHS ID (or username), as it cannot be changed later.

For example, if you link your ‘bigdomain’ ID/username to your mobile number, you are unable to change anymore. As a result, unless you are absolutely certain, simply leave the XHS ID alone.

2. Xiaohongshu Video Channel (视频号)

As the name implies, this is better suited for media, brands, or content producers who are actively generating material. Though it sounds trendy, “Video Account” is really just long-form video content-based.

| Short-form and long-form videos can hold different kinds of content, though.

Comparable to Instagram Reels, short-form videos are shorter and fractured. Their briefness makes content spread quickly; Long-form videos, however, are more like those on YouTube. Though their lengthier length makes watching contents more time-consuming, which could impact audience counts, they typically encourage high viewer engagement and retention.

Good news is that Malaysian and other foreign XHS users are eligible for this account tier Xiaohongshu Video Channel (视频号), with the criteria stated below:

If you are already active on Xiaohongshu:

  •  Finish the personal verification.
  • Over 500 XHS followers.
  • Share at least one minute-long original video material.
  • Follow the platform rules strictly.

Alternatively, to be qualified, satisfy any one of the following:

  •  At least 5,000 bilibili followers.
  • Xigua or YouTube following of at least 10,000.
  • On Douyin, Kuaishou, or WeChat, 10K or more followers.

3. Xiaohongshu Pro Account (专业号)

Xiaohongshu Pro Account is the one for businesses and brands. The following features are made accessible with an Xiaohongshu Pro Account (小红书专业号 in addition to a suite of extensive business tools:

  • Identity Upgrade: Make your business identity better and show off your unique qualities.
  • Data Insights: Get access to detailed studies that will help you make decisions based on data.
  • Homepage Management: Run and improve your shop efficiently to get more sales.
  • Fan Interaction: Use precise targeting and interactive tools to connect with your followers.
  • Open a Store: Turn your material into products that you can sell and make money from.
  • Brand Collaboration: Work together with well-known brands to get more exposure and resources.
  • Product Collaboration: Work with brands to get the word out about their goods and boost sales.
  • Promotion of French fries (薯条推广): Use professional tools to reach specific groups of people with your ads.

The guideline and rules in applying for an Xiaohongshu Pro Account(小红书专业号 can be quite complex, as the entire process is in Chinese. This can pose a challenge for businesses located outside of China. For instance, you have to translate your company registration document into Chinese, etc. Check out the step-by-step guide to apply in Xiaohongshu app.

Please be aware that there will be an application fee of RMB 600, which is subject to Xiaohongshu’s approval. If your application is denied, there will be no refund of the funds. An annual procedure is necessary as XHS will conduct an audit of your account each year.

How to Choose Your Xiaohongshu E-Commerce Store

Like TikTok Shop, Xiaohongshu offers e-commerce store capabilities. Businesses can apply for a merchant store through its platform, known as ‘小红书商家入驻平台‘ in Chinese. While individuals can apply to operate their independent stores, 8 types of merchant stores are available for business entities which five of them are eligible for business outside of China local:

Type of StoreEntity QualificationsChina local / OverseaBrand Requirement
个人店: Personal StoreIdentity QualificationChina LocalNo requirement.
个体工商: Individual BusinessBusiness License for Individual Industrial and Commercial BusinessesChina LocalNo requirement.
企业店: Corporate StoreBusiness License for EnterprisesChina LocalNo requirement.
专营店: Exclusive ShopBusiness License for EnterprisesChina Local / OverseasOwn Brand/Licensed Brand (Acceptable brand authorization or procurement credentials within three levels)
专卖店: Monobrand StoreBusiness License for EnterprisesChina Local / OverseasOwn Brand/Licensed Brand (Acceptable brand authorization or procurement credentials within three levels)
旗帜店: Flagship StoreBusiness License for EnterprisesChina Local / OverseasOwn Brand/Licensed Brand (Acceptable brand authorization or procurement credentials within three levels)
官方旗帜店: Official Flagship StoreBusiness License for EnterprisesChina Local / OverseasOwn Brand/Licensed Brand (Acceptable brand authorization or procurement credentials within three levels)
卖场型旗帜店: Market-style Flagship StoreBusiness License for EnterprisesChina Local / OverseasOwn Brand/Licensed Brand (Acceptable brand authorization or procurement credentials within three levels)

However, merchants and small businesses can explore using a third-party service to set up an XHS eCommerce Store with annual and transaction fees chargeable.

| Your selections are definitely closely linked to the goods you are offering.

If you’re not sure what to sell, Xiaohongshu provides a monthly updated list of popular product categories (热招类目) that accurately describes the products together with the necessary application materials (入住材料) and deposit details (保证金). 

Otherwise, you may directly check out this Xiaohongshu Major Business Category Overview Table (小红书经营大类-览表) to assure your selling product is available for the xiaohongshu e-commerce store type that you’ve chosen.

Do take note that it is not that straightforward to start an XHS eCommerce Store so you can first check the store application workflow, learn more from the store application manual and education center, or dive into the details from the terms & conditions.

Lastly, submit your store application when you’re ready!

Xiaohongshu Marketing Strategies

Increasingly more companies are investigating social commerce platforms like Xiaohongshu (XHS) in the expanding field of social media marketing to interact with their clients.

ARK Content Promotion Tool + Live Stream

Excellent result proven from Xiaohongshu E-Commerce Brands
Excellent result proven from Xiaohongshu E-Commerce Brands

To effectively expand the audience for livestreaming and attract new customers, it is crucial to generate interest among potential viewers in advance. This will help promote note dissemination through ARK tools and particularly benefit family livestreaming. In order to fully understand the intricacies of livestream audience flow, three specific conditions need to be fulfilled:

  • Consistently uphold a regular schedule of livestream sessions, ensuring a minimum of one session per week.
  • Be capable of generating product notes, having written 3-5 pieces of such notes or be ready to do so at any moment.
  • Strive to improve livestream output by focusing on advertising, with the goal of attracting more viewers, reaching new customers more efficiently, and increasing sales conversion.

To optimise livestream performance through promotion, it’s crucial to adequately prepare:

  1. Conduct testing (1-2 days): Choosing good notes is crucial for success. Evaluate the performance of various notes through daily testing and small-scale experiments to identify the ones that are ideal for content seeding.
  2. Effective note-targeting (3-5 days): Successful note-targeting relies on having a solid flow of information. Utilise testing to effectively targeting accurate notes to various audiences.
  3. Collaborate with livestreaming to enhance effectiveness: Once the initial promotion is done, engage in livestreaming to capture the attention of potential customers and increase the chances of making sales during the livestream.

Learn more about practical steps in using ARK Backend.

XHS Creators Partnership

Xiaohongshu offers a platform named ‘小红书蒲公英平台‘ in Chinese, it’s acted as XHS Creators Partnership Platform.

There are 4 types of creator partnerships provided in Xiaohongshu:

Partnership TypeNewbies PartnershipCustomize PartnershipRecruitment PartnershipCo-creation Partnership
Blogger MatchingMultiple BloggersSingle BloggerMultiple BloggersMultiple Bloggers
Order SettlementProject-based Fixed PriceSingle Note Fixed PriceSingle Note Fixed PriceEntire Project Read Cost
Blogger Range1,000-50,000 FollowersAll BloggersAll BloggersBloggers with Less Than 100,000 Followers
Core ValueContent + Traffic BundlePrecisely Find Ideal Bloggers, Customize High-Quality ContentBlogger Application, Bidirectional Selection, Efficient CollaborationLow Operation and Budget Thresholds, Platform Ensures Content Quality and Achieves Read Volume

| Brands must possess an XHS Pro Account to take full advantage of the functionalities offered by this platform, which is similar to or perhaps more comprehensive than the creator marketplaces of Facebook/Instagram and TikTok.

Tips: For brands who don’t have an XHS Pro Account yet, you may also reach out to the creators directly without using the XHS Creators Partnership Platform.

Sponsored content prices on Xiaohongshu in Malaysia change based on the following of the creator. Micro-creators that need 500 followers minimum usually charge between RM100 and RM300. But starting at RM1,000, fees for Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) with more over 10,000 followers.

Xiaohongshu Marketing Strategies

Xiaohongshu marketing services provided by BigDomain
Xiaohongshu marketing services provided by BigDomain

Formulating a winning marketing strategy for your Xiaohongshu store with the accurate profitable investment is crucial. Good news, there’s a result proven and comprehensive XHS Malaysia marketing services provided by BigDomain, tailored to optimize brand strategy for maximum monetization. The offerings include:

  • Managing Xiaohongshu Operation (代运营): We handle your entire XHS presence, from crafting content calendars to posting engaging content and managing community interaction.
  • Bluetick Verification: Boost your brand’s credibility with the coveted blue verification badge.
  • Advertising Strategy: Targeted ad campaigns using Spotlight – the XHS Digital Advertising Platform ‘小红书聚光平台‘ in to boost sales conversions and fan growth.
  • KOC Marketing: Partner with influential Malaysian KOCs to drive product recommendations and enhance brand visibility.

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