More and more brands are active on Weibo and the platform should be seen as a way to achieve effective branding in the Chinese market. Companies can build databases, promote their brand image, get feedback, increase sales and deploy effective advertising. Some of the international brands that have registered official accounts on Weibo include: Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton and Tourism Australia. They and others view it as a key marketing tool to boost their presence in China and to understand more about its people, their lifestyles and their preferences.
Official accounts are for companies, media, institutions, registered websites, apps, NGOs, school organizations, government departments, etc. Of all the official accounts, corporate accounts are the most common. They have additional features such as the ability to customize their home pages, access to the Weibo Management Centre, data analysis tools and others.
How to register and verify a Weibo account?
To register and official account, you need an email address or phone number which has not been used to register another Weibo account. There are three types of verification on Weibo: Individual, WeMedia and Official.
In order to verify a corporate account with a Chinese Business Registration License, you need the following documents:
- The business registration license.
- A certified letter.
- A trademark registration certificate.
- An ICP website record (Internet Content Provider registration) issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
- And other relevant supporting documents.
If you don’t have a Chinese business registration license, you can still verify your Weibo account by following the steps in the “Overseas Account Verification” section and you will need to provide:
- The company registration documents with a certified Chinese translation.
- The contact information of the account’s manager or team contact information.
- An application letter and a third party authorization letter.
This verification process usually takes between 5-7 working days after document submission.
What do Corporate Accounts do on Weibo?
Content strategy refers to the planning, development and management of your content. It’s best to consider in advance what language style would be the most suitable, what visual elements you require and what tactics you could use to attract potential followers.
Below are four major categories of Weibo content:
- Product/Brand : To raise brand awareness, showcase expertise and credibility.
- Soft Content : To generate audience interest and encourage interactions.
- Interactive : To maintain a good relationship with the audience and increase audience loyalty.
- KOL promotion : To increase brand exposure and attract new followers.
Posting content about the products or services your business provides is an obvious approach but Weibo also gives you an open channel to listen to your customers and find out about them. You can find out what they like or dislike about your company, how they feel about your brand, what suggestions they have for improvement and what their favorite products are and why.
All of this feedback can be used to make your business more successful.
Launch Online Campaigns
Online campaigns help brands to increase exposure and raise awareness. It’s quite an effective way to interact with current followers and attract new ones. Chinese netizens love campaigns and promotions.
There are two major types of campaigns on Weibo : System Campaigns and Creative Campaigns.–
I. System Campaigns
These campaigns use Weibo’s system with formats and rules developed by the Weibo team. There are 5 major formats of system campaign for you to choose from:
- Lucky Roulette Campaign : This uses an instant lottery format with a variety of prizes.
- Flash Sales Campaign : It’s similar to the Lucky Roulette Campaign but better suited to e-businesses or O2O marketing.
- Repost Campaign : This type of campaign encourages audience members to repost by giving prizes to selected reposters. It has a reputation for achieving the best marketing results.
- Content Collection Campaign : This encourages the audience to post original content by means of prize incentives. The winners can choose the prizes.
- Free Trial Campaign : Brands choose participants to receive a free trial. This approach is best when launching a new product. Brands can also gather meaningful feedback if they ask participants to answers certain questions to enter the draw.
II. Creative Campaigns
You can launch a creative campaign on your Weibo page and define your own scope and rules. A creative campaign is usually presented in the form of a post. There are no fixed rules regarding the participation method, prizes, nuber of winners and promotional channels. In addition, there are lots of campaign ideas to make the campaign more fun and creative, such as creating a challenging quiz. An effective tactic is to run a campaign related to trending topics such as an upcoming holiday or other big event.
(For more detailed information about Weibo campaigns, please refer to our blog post: Weibo Marketing: Campaigns and Why We Use Them)
How to Push Content on Weibo?
Engaging KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or influential bloggers is one of the most effective ways to promote your account, content or campaign. KOLs have their own follower base and their opinions and suggestions are considered credible and influential.
There are two types of KOLs on Weibo: Celebrities and influential bloggers/KOLs. In addition, KOLs are often active in Weibo Communities and on Weibo Interest Pages.
KOL promotion formats are diverse. Based on research, here are the five most common and effective ways to cooperate with Weibo bloggers.
Note that there aren’t many regulations for KOLs on platforms in China in regard to declaring brand arrangements or sponsored posts.
I. Sponsored Posts
A sponsored post is when the blogger is paid to publish content about the brand. The content outline and other materials are usually provided by the brand and each blogger will style the content in a way that makes it unique. Aside from direct posts, you can also pay KOLs to repost your tweets, which is a less effective but cheaper method for attracting potential followers on Weibo.
II. Giveaways through KOLs
Famous blogger Gu Da Bai Hua took part in a campaign sponsored by the marketing team for the TV show Westworld. He sent posters and postcards of Westworld actor James Marsden to followers who reposted his blog about the actor.
Using this method, fans receive gifts or gift cards from your company through a blogger. It tends to have much more impact than if you give the gifts through your business account
III. Product Reviews
This means that a KOL has posted a review of your product, this is a powerful way to add credibility to your brand and convince potential customers to buy your products.
IV: Participating in a Campaign
After you launch a campaign, invite a KOL to participate in it. This will grab the attention of potential followers.
V. KOL Competitions
Invite several KOLs to participate in a competition. Brands can ask bloggers to create videos, comics or other materials to enter the contest. For this, KOLs may need their followers to vote for them, this however, is an expensive method.
(For more detailed information about KOL marketing, please refer to our blog post: KOL Marketing: An Essential Chinese Social Media Tool)
There are several ways to advertise on Sina Weibo. You can opt for Display Ads or Weibo Search Engine Promotion, both of which enable you to connect with all users, or you can opt for a customized advertisement such as Fan Headline or Fan Tunnel, that can target specific audiences.
I. Fan Headline
Fan Headline is an advertising function that can be applied to all of the posts on your Weibo account page. This function helps to promote selected posts to existing and potential followers. The post you select will appear at the top of your existing followers or potential follower’s home page for 24 hours.
This is similar to Facebook page promotion, where you can promote your page by creating ads which are then shown in the feed on the right side of the Facebook home page.
II. Fan Tunnel
Fan Tunnel allows you to promote a single post, app, or Weibo account. With Fan Tunnel you can target a wide audience or a niche group. It’s same as the Facebook “Boost Post” function.
III. Banner Ads
Weibo offers display ad options on both its website and mobile app. Advertisers can place banner ads of different dimensions in each section on Weibo. Users are directed to the advertiser’s page when they click on the ads.
IV: Weibo Search Engine Promotion
Weibo search engine promotion works by means of keywords shown in the search bar instead of a digital banner. It encourages users to click and search for more information related to the topic. Once the users click the keywords shown in the search bar, the relevant Weibo accounts and promoted posts will be displayed.
Marketing campaigns offers immeasurable value and allows you to sell on Weibo. The widespread use of Chinese social networks, especially Weibo, gives businesses a fantastic opportunity to penetrate the world’s largest e-commerce market. By being present on Weibo, you can stay connected to your Chinese customers while discovering new ones.
(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)
To get deeper insights into Chinese social media marketing and utilizing it to serve your business, join ChoZan, a training and resources platform for Chinese social media marketers.
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