Weibo marketing offers a ton of opportunities for your business to successfully penetrate the Chinese market. Regardless of WeChat and Douyin’s booming, Weibo will continue to be one of China’s most-used social media platforms.
Consequently, having a Weibo marketing strategy is a great avenue for you to target Chinese consumers right where they are.
What is Weibo?
Sina Weibo is a Chinese microblogging website launched by Sina Corporation in August 2009. From the Chinese word ‘weibo’ itself, it generally means microblogging.
Due to the previous similarities in the 140-character limit, Weibo is said to be China’s Twitter. However, in 2016, the character limit rose to 2,000 words.
At the moment, both Weibo’s website and mobile app are available in three languages: simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English.
How is Weibo used in China?
In China, Weibo is mostly used for trendspotting and entertainment. Generally, it aims users who like to follow well-known celebrities and influencers.
Also, it is a source of news updates and more importantly, a gateway to freely express social issues online.
As previously mentioned, Weibo started off with a 140-character limit similar to Twitter. But it increased to 2,000 words, as well as the ability to add multimedia content (e.g. photos, videos, gifs).
Furthermore, users can open their own accounts fuss-free. Likewise, individuals and businesses will have to go through a verification process to earn an orange or blue ‘V’ badge.
Related content: Need help with Weibo verification? Here’s the best way.
Following Weibo’s very essence as a content platform, Chinese users are keen on more engaging content. Multimedia content consumption, in particular, has seen sustainable growth over the years. And this was a result of the emergence of short videos, e-commerce integration, live streaming, and Weibo Story.
Weibo Key Target Sectors
To further help you understand your target audience, here are Weibo’s primary aimed sectors:
Now, before we delve deeper into how Weibo works, let’s first explore the platform’s latest 2020 rankings in China. This way, you’ll get a better understanding of Weibo’s popularity among your target market.
Weibo Rankings Report 2020
Currently, Weibo is one of the biggest social media platforms in China. In fact, it ranks among the top ten social media sites in the country. Globally, it’s the 10th most-used social platform based on monthly active users, active accounts, ad audiences, or unique monthly visitors.
According to a report on Data Reportal, here’s Weibo user statistics 2020 overview for your reference:
- Total worldwide monthly active users (MAU) – 497 million
- Share of population aged 14+ that uses Weibo each month – 8.4%
- Year-on-year increase in MAU – +11%
- Active users who access via mobile devices – 94%
What are the different Weibo features?
Since its launch in 2009, Weibo has grown to be a competitive social platform in China and worldwide. Despite being overpowered by WeChat and Douyin, it remains on top and continuously evolves to catch up with the trends.
Apart from its current traction in the market, it also relies on its features to stay driven. While we’re publishing a separate content on Weibo’s features, here’s a quick outline of what its offers to its users:
- Content sharing – up to 2,000 words with images, mentions using @UserName, formatting, hashtags, and re-post
- Chat function – users are able to send personal messages between followers
- Weibo Stories – similar to Instagram and Facebook Stories
- Emoji reactions – similar to Facebook’s emoji reactions
- Geolocation – you can now track your movements and see where your post is from
- Verification – business and famed individuals can apply for verification to earn a page badge
- Trending topics – similar to Twitter’s trending tweets
- Weibo VLOG – a new sub-menu in the main search page where contents with the hashtag ‘VLOG’ are aggregated
- Others – Weilingdi (微领地)
Now that you’ve come to know the latest statistics and features of Weibo, let’s move on to the first step in Weibo marketing – setting up a Weibo Business Account.
How to set up a Weibo Business Account?
Weibo marketing can only start if you have a Weibo Business Account. More so, if you have a verified Weibo page, it makes your page more credible for your audience.
At present, there are over 1.5 million Weibo Official Accounts in China. All the more reason you should be on Weibo now if you aren’t on it yet.
To start, here are 5 steps to complete your Weibo account registration:
- Register and set up a new Weibo account
- Set up your account name and profile image
- Verify business account
- Provide required documents (including registered trademark certificate if necessary)
- Await approval from Weibo
As for the timeline, the whole process may take 5 days to 15 days depending on your business license. Same for the verification fees, it differs depending on whether you have a local business license or none.
- Foreign companies with Chinese business license: 5-7 working days
- Overseas companies without Chinese business license: 10-15 working days
Once your account is verified, you may now customise your page to your branding. Further, you may begin planning for your Weibo marketing with the common strategies below.
3 Weibo Marketing Strategies to Use for your Brand
With Weibo’s popularity in China, it surely offers a lot of opportunities for your business to build awareness and gain recognition in the Chinese market.
However, to maximise the power of Weibo marketing, you should map out a good marketing plan first before diving in.
If you’re still clueless on what to do, here are some common Weibo marketing strategies you can use for your Weibo page.
Social search engine promotion
Besides micro-blogging, Weibo is also huge on social search. In general, the platform has a discover page used as an internal and China search engine.
What’s more, this function allows its users to perform advanced searches with keywords and filters (e.g. related posts, pages, and accounts).
More importantly, Weibo posts are indexed by Baidu. So, search engine optimisation (SEO) will play a huge role in your Weibo posts, too.
Weibo content marketing
Considering Weibo as an open social media platform, marketers are required to have a consistent content marketing plan to maintain user engagement. After all, having a good content strategy will help you get the most out of Weibo’s features.
So, to help you generate a plan that will work, here are three content types you can add to your strategy:
- Influencer-backed content – Having the right KOL supporting your content effectively increases your brand visibility on Weibo.
- Festival content – Chinese holidays are a big deal on Weibo. Thus, your content must revolve around these occasions to get a significant amount of engagement and loyalty.
- Rewards content – Campaigns with giveaways and rewards are typically appealing to users on any platform. Doing so on Weibo ultimately helps build up your fan base and sales, especially if you’re a new business on the platform.
Lastly, if you have enough budget to spend on advertising, running display ads on Weibo would be a good option for you.
Depending on your goal and budget, you can choose from many Weibo ad types or formats, such as:
- FansTong / FansTop
- Recommended Video
- Keyword Search
- Hot Search
- Splash Screen
- Focus Banner
We’ll talk more on this on a separate content. For now, here are a few case studies you can refer to as you explore Weibo marketing for your business.
Weibo Marketing Case Studies
Looking for a Weibo marketing agency?
IH Digital is a China digital marketing agency in Asia that provides 360° services, including influencer marketing, Weibo and WeChat social media management, Baidu SEO and SEM, e-commerce, content marketing and more! Want to get started with China digital marketing? Contact us today at https://www.ihdigital.com/contact-us/ for a consultation soon.