Weibo is similar to American Twitter with over 800 million registers and 3 billion active users every year. The name means as ‘Micro Blog’. The production of Sina started in 2009, it is exactly a merge between Twitter and Facebook in terms of it’s function. With 152 of the fortune 500 companies now on Weibo ,this platform is hard to ignore the role Weibo plays in Chinese digital marketing strategy.
Here we will show some key features and marketing strategies to implement on this nifty platform in China:
1，A PLATFORM which BRANDS & BUSINESSES should attend
Weibo is very useful platform for brands and businesses. The statistics speak for themselves with over 256,000 verified company users. The platform is an ‘open network’, this means users can see anyone’s posts, even they do not follow other people.
As a result Weibo focus itself more on content sharing, visibility and community building, despite having a smaller user if compared with WeChat (which is a ‘closed’ network).
There are more than 256 million active monthly users, each user follows on average 130 official accounts.
This is much higher than the average of 50 followed on WeChat with a more established (and even expected) brand and business presence.
2,A peak IN WEIBO POPULARITY
In the year 2013, Alibaba Group announced that it will invest 18 percent of Sina Weibo for $586 million, with the possibility to buy up to 30 percent in the future. Now Alibaba has 32 percent shares of Weibo.
After Alibaba’s backing,the platform has become very relevant for brands and e-commerce businesses . It was suggested that WeChat would eclipse Weibo but after increasing the character limits for posts and the platforms embrace of live streaming it remains a mainstay in the Chinese social media system.
3,LIVE STREAMING & INFLUENCERS play an important role
The boom of live streaming played a significant role in Weibo’s development as it has a joint venture which named MeiPai (a popular video app), a lot of bloggers, celebs & new users now access live streams here. It has also become a powerful marketing tool with hosts of KOL galvanizing a lot of attention.
Weibo is the platform for Chinese KOL to posts content to their followers.
4,huge amount of active users
There are over 110 million daily posts. More interactions means more exposure of your content. Users are enthusiastic to upload photos videos, polls, follow trends, official accounts . Weibo is mostly used as a platform of sharing events’ links and commentary but we must be aware of Alibaba’s influence ,it means that external links outside of their online group are forbidden.
The rise of social media marketing in China is unprecedented, Alibaba owning a third of Weibo is another step towards this. It will determine what external links can be posted but it will also encourage social media marketing and e-shopping infrastructures via Weibo itself. Watch this filed for how Weibo performs in the annual Chinese Singles now it is affiliated with this social media marketing.
6,A POWERFUL PLATFORM FOR KOL
Weibo is more associated with KOL than any other rival platform. This is partly because it is an open platform (we mentioned earlier, users can see anyone’s posts ), they are able to easily to attract a following. Anoth factor is the advent of live streaming and the monetization of live streaming on Weibo.
KOL offer a solution of growing by tapping into the large, existing communities of followers which they need to build up. Different influencers target different fields and you will find a large range of different cyber celebs so you can find one that suits the range of your budgets. The best strategy is to simultaneously work with a-number-of KOL to create an ‘echo chamber’ effect.
7,ESTABLISH WEIBO OFFICIAL ACCOUNTS
Weibo Official accounts need to be set up & verified, verification is very important for your account, without this you have limited access to the platform, it also is important to validate the brand or business in the eyes of the consumer.
After the user gets through the verification from the servicer, a colourful V will appear behind their user name. The orange V is for people while the blue one is for organizations and companies. Also there will be a graph and a declaration on its user page to show the verification. So there are several kinds of verifications: personal verification, college verification, business verification and organization verification.
When you have an official account you can build community, publish updates (no limit), launch marketing campaigns based on content, KOL posts & cross promotional links.
8,Ensure your account is active
For businesses and brands Weibo is the tool of interaction with your followers. here are some main ways to stay active and engage with users behaviour on China’s top micro blogging platform:
Firstly,SETTING UP A WELCOME MESSAGE;
When you launch an account and a user follows you ,they will receive message to welcome them, the first thing to do is to edit this.
A helpful welcome message should include
- A call to action
- Introduction ofthe company & brands
- Detail what users can learnfrom the account
- Include relevant cross promotinglinks to WeChat
It is important to think about how the followers will benefit and outline this from this first point of attract repeat engagement.
Secondly,ANSWER followers comments
The followers like to send messages to official Weibo accounts and have now come to expect customer services from the platform. You need to directly address any queries in the comments, reply individually if possible and offer a highly conversational approach.
In China brand influence on social media marketing is far more normalized and part of the fabric of a users experience, in terms of engagement you need to shift gear.
Many company handle inquires in-house or arrange a separate customer service team.
Thirdly,RE-POST followers POSTS
If fans follow you or comment about you in their post you will receive a message, this vital user generated content which you can re-post on your page. Highlighting other followers engagement further fuels topics of relevant conversation about your brands.
By bringing followers into your official posts you also highlight what they say, in China user comments for brand references are very important for instilling trust and developing reputation.
Forth,TARGETING RELEVANT PAGES/ACCOUNTS
A useful strategy is to engage with targeted groups & accounts, this can be very targeted and allow you to tap into similar communities. You can comment and engage with other industry players on Weibo . A large amount of branding on Weibo is asserting your expertise & authority.
In conclusion, Weibo is a important tool for image, branding, cross promotion and increasingly sales . Weibo is also on the rise and as the most open social media in China is a key platform to expand your business in China.
However you cannot only rely on Weibo, it needs to be part of a comprehensive campaign where all the elements interconnect and support one another. This includes: