Weibo is China’s microblogging site, similar to Twitter. As of 2017, it has more users than Twitter making it one of the most prominent social media platforms in the world. It is also China’s most distinguished and efficient mass-marketing tool and its usership is approaching 500 million.
Weibo is not a direct carbon copy of Twitter—Weibo has different features adapted to the Chinese context:
- Expanded Focus: On Weibo, instead of viewing content from people you follow, you also view trending topics in your newsfeed. When things go viral or international publications talk about trending topics in China, chances are that it emerged on Weibo. Here’s an example of something going viral on Weibo: someone posts a noteworthy video that causes people to comment on the situation, often in relation to Chinese society. Subsequently, the video causes more people to comment and the frenzy is picked up by the press or stifled by the state.
- Incorporated Media: Weibo incorporates stories of images, short videos, and hashtags, similar to Instagram. The platform is generally where the sharing of memes, content publication and rapid dissemination of information takes place. Recently, 360 panoramas and 360 areal videos have become popular on the platform as China rapidly embraces VR/AR technology.
- Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs): Commonly known as Influencers, these internet celebrities are very active on the platform. Most of them, especially in art, fashion, travel—anything culturally related—launched to prominence on Weibo. For example, Tao Liang, also known as Mr. Bags, managed to acquire over 3 million Weibo followers through his keen interest in luxury handbags.
WeChat requires marketing—that’s where Weibo comes in.
Weibo is a perfect mass-marketing tool because it is an open platform that disseminates content in an accessible way. Both platforms require riveting content and engagement in order to retain followers, however, Weibo can attract followers while WeChat requires the user to search for the company on their own.
Marketing on Weibo is more effective than marketing on WeChat as it can attract followers unfamiliar with your brand. Weibo’s marketing platform allows users to target specific demographics and interests. Marketing on Weibo is more cost effective compared to WeChat. While WeChat does allow ads on Moments and embedded ads in articles, they are rather expensive and foreign entities are not permitted to use it to advertise, unless a marketer works with a KOL. WeChat account posts are limited to account followers who need to actively follow your account or see a repost of your content by someone within their network.
Meanwhile, Weibo allows marketers to directly target users based on their interests. When users register a Weibo account, they select certain topics pertaining to their interests. This is one of the most popular and straightforward ways to find an audience, however, is as with any social media company’s marketing platform, big data can be collected and leveraged to narrow down targets. Companies like Weibo have the ability to hold each user’s big data from their online activity and can help marketers direct ads to users who are most likely to be enticed.
Weibo is a platform that can be used to drive followers to your company’s WeChat, or directly to your site.
Weibo can execute four different types of campaigns:
- Display Adverts: inputting keywords that link to user searches--ads come up in user’s feeds and direct them to a company’s homepage.
- Fan Headlines: targeting your existing followers by boosting your content to the top of their newsfeed and their connections who may also be potential targets.
- Fan Tunnel: the best way to rapidly grow a following, you can promote a post or your account and will appear on users’ news feed, targeted by their specific interests.
- Weibo Search Engine Promotion: using targeted keywords to increase the visibility of your account when a search correlates with your keywords.