A large follower base is an essential prerequisite for those looking to launch a promotion campaign on Weibo. The more followers that a brand has, the more likely its Weibo content is to reach its potential customers. Therefore, growing followers is the primary goal for the Weibo marketing strategy of most brands. Below we will cover some tips on how a brand can attract an initial audience, and subsequently expand its follower base, through using brand promotion on Weibo.
There are four major methods we will cover on how to increase Weibo follower base are:
- Utilizing current databases
- Using key opinion leaders (KOLs)
- Weibo advertisements
- Online campaigns
I. Utilizing Current Databases
When you first create an account for your brand on Weibo, it is unrealistic to expect Weibo users to instantly find and follow your account; the majority of users probably don’t even know of its existence. It is important to first start by recruiting pre-established connections. Below are some techniques to assist your Weibo account to recruit an initial wave of followers, and ideally increase its visibility and begin to engage consumers.
● Asking your personal relationship network to become the first followers
A convenient and useful way to gain your first wave of Weibo followers is by asking your personal relationship network, including your family, relatives, friends, and even employees to become the first followers of the account. This personal relationship network can often prove to be beneficial, as the people in it may help by asking more people they know to follow the brand account. In this way, your follower base grows gradually as the network expands and spreads information.
Nowadays, many corporates create a social bar in their official corporate website as a way to direct visitors to their official pages of various social networks. It is useful to add Weibo in the social bar of your corporate website so that people who visit your website are likely to go to your Weibo homepage and follow your account, where they can receive regular updates or the latest information about your products or services.
● Adding Weibo QR code on your offline promotional materials
You can also add the QR code of your Weibo on all your promotional materials, including business cards, brochures, flyers, and posters. When you give out these materials, people who receive them will now have access to a quick method of accessing your Weibo homepage if they have enquiries or want to know more about your brand or products.
II. Using Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)
Key opinion leaders are extremely influential on social media and are a great way of utilizing brand promotion on Weibo. A good KOL usually has a large follower base, ranging from several thousand to several million followers. Building relationships with good KOLs who produce high-quality content related to your industry helps increase your brand exposure so that a broader audience is likely to know about your brand and follow your account.
For example, if you are responsible for a cosmetics brand, try to reach out to individual bloggers who know a lot about cosmetics products to write a product review for your brand’s product(s). You can also sponsor a post or pay them to run a creative campaign on Weibo to help gain further brand exposure.
↑ A cosmetics KOL promoting for L’OCCITANE
(For more detailed information about KOL marketing, please refer to our blog post: KOL Marketing: An Essential Chinese Social Media Tool)
III. Weibo Advertising Options
There are a range of different advertising options offered for users looking to engage in brand promotion on Weibo. The first advertising option, a display advertisement, is the most common. Display advertisements allow a user to display advertisements on the landing page of the Weibo mobile app, or the search page of the website, as well as your Weibo home page.
Weibo search engine promotion (搜索推广) is another advertising option on Weibo. Using search engine promotion, users can click the suggested keywords shown in the search bar, and relevant accounts and Weibo posts will be displayed.
↑ An example of Weibo search engine promotion for a movie to be released in 2017, Once Upon A Time.
If you want a particular Weibo post to be seen by more people, you can promote it by using the “Fan Headline” function, also known as “Fanstop” (粉丝头条). A “Fan Headline” post will appear at or near the top of your existing or potential followers’ feeds for 24 hours.
Finally, if you want to promote a Weibo account, there is an advertising option known as “Fan Tunnel” (粉丝通) that can be utilized. With “Fan Tunnel”, you can target a specific audience, through grouping users by age, gender, region, interests, and even the type of device used. Using these advertising options, you can ensure that your Weibo account and posts will be seen by more people, as well as tailoring your content and account towards your target audience.
(For more detailed information about Weibo advertising, please refer to our blog post: Advertising on Weibo: Which Weibo Advertising Option is Most Effective For You)
IV. Online Campaigns
Aside from various advertising options, users looking to engage in brand promotion on Weibo have the option to launch online campaigns. During these campaigns, participants usually have the chance to win prizes if incentives are offered; this encourages participation and thus gives brands a strong opportunity to gain exposure and popularity during a campaign period. There are two types of campaigns on Weibo: system campaigns and creative campaigns.
There are six types of system campaigns on Weibo: Lucky Roulette Campaign, Flash Sales Campaign, Repost Campaign, Content Collection Campaign, Preordering Campaign, and Free Trial Campaign.
↑ An example of an online campaign launched by the Ocean Park in Hong Kong: users have to repost with comments on which magician they are most looking forward to seeing and mention two friends at the same time to win a prize.
In addition to the system campaigns offered by Weibo, you can also set up other creative campaigns, which allow users to set up a more customized campaign by setting the rules, quantity of prizes, and any other criteria based on their needs.
(For more detailed information about Weibo campaigns, please refer to our blog post: Weibo Marketing: Campaigns and Why We Use Them)
Now that you have accumulated an ideal follower base, the next step you should consider is trying to convert these followers into real customers.
Do you have other excellent ideas on how to grow followers on Weibo or other social networks? Please feel free to comment and share your ideas! Or if you have any questions, please also leave a comment to let us know. We will be more than willing to answer them.
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