Steven Hawking, a well-known theoretical physicist, becomes popular among Chinese community, especially younger generation, because he launched his first Chinese Weibo on April 18th, and gained over 1.8 million followers within one day. Up to 10th May, Hawking’s Weibo has attracted 3,778,244 followers with only 5 posts.
This indicates that Sina Weibo is still an effective platform to outreach Chinese audiences, as long as you know how to attract them, and what’s more, maintain the relationship with them.
These days, more and more companies determine to use WeChat as their main social marketing platform as WeChat has become the largest mobile social communicating platform in China with its unique mobile-friendly features and user-friendly functions. However, latest research reveals that if companies want to maximize their social influence in China, a cross-platform strategy integrates WeChat and Weibo is essential. Therefore, the power of Weibo marketing should not be ignored.
First of all, Weibo is still China’s most popular social media channel. According to China Internet Watch, by the end of March 2016, Sina Weibo’s daily active users and monthly active users reached 66.6 million and 143.8million respectively, which are increased by 37% and 34% respectively compared with the same period last year.
Secondly, compared to WeChat, it is easier to increase brand awareness on Weibo platform. Currently, WeChat offers two kinds of official accounts: Subscription Account and Service Account. Both of them have restrictions on quantity of posts in a certain period of time. In contrast, Weibo has no such restriction, and this means that you can push as many posts as you can to attract traffic and potential followers.
Again, Weibo and WeChat have different propagations. WeChat mainly adopt Word of Mouth mode of transmission, which refers to promotional activities that leverage social interactions and word of mouth between consumers. It is one of the most credible forms of marketing to help promote products or services. Different from WeChat, Weibo marketing mainly depends on Promotion and Publicity.
Research agency WIMI once conducted a research (amongst 10,000 China netizens) about people’s purchase behaviors towards using WeChat and Weibo when buying luxury and premium brands online.
As shown in the graph, Weibo users tend to be younger and have lower personal income, while they are more engaged and love to read users reviews and follow celebrities, While WeChat followers are more likely to follow what their friends’ recommended. However, according to WIMI, consumers who purchased goods through Weibo is more loyal than those in WeChat. It is reported that 70 percent of Chinese consumers would make purchasing decision after they finished research in Weibo.
In addition, according to Klarity Report , the sports/casual wear brands worked superior in terms of the amount of followers. As it can be seen in the ranking below, top attractive brands in Weibo are all youth-targeted brands.
In conclusion, Weibo is still an effective marketing tool to buzz brand awareness and exposure. The use of innovation, campaign creativity, and consistency within an account’s strategy are musts to make it worth investing in Weibo. From the conception to the evolving development of a microblogging brand strategy, it is essential to think of not only how to make the best use of the real-time two-way communication it offers, but also how to leverage an increasingly sophisticated and integrated social platform to establish your brand as a reference on China’s social grid.