Sina Weibo is one of the largest social media platforms in China. With over 593 million monthly active users, it’s an app foreign marketers must explore if they want to promote their brand and reach local consumers.
However, this app does not operate like other social media platforms. It has a highly engaged user base, rich media content options, and a unique micro-blogging format. Because of these factors, a typical marketing campaign won’t always engage Weibo users or drive them to follow your brand’s official account.
If you’re interested in utilizing China’s Twitter for your marketing plans, here are some Weibo campaign tactics you can try for your brand and other essential tips you must know when using the platform.
7 Tactics to Launch Effective Promotional Campaigns on Weibo
1. Utilize System Campaigns on Sina Weibo
Although marketers are free to create promotional content based on their chosen strategies, they have the option to launch generic system campaigns on Weibo.
The app regulates these campaigns, and they have a pre-determined format that you can utilize to generate public interest in your brand or engage active users within the platform.
These campaigns already have specific functions (e.g., roulette, flash sales, etc.), so customizing them for specific branding needs isn’t exactly what this Weibo content is created for.
Before considering this strategy, it’s worth noting that system campaigns are only available for brands, companies, and individuals who register for an official Weibo account.
Here are some of the system campaigns you can utilize with an official Weibo account:
● Lucky Roulette
As the name implies, this system campaign allows Weibo users to spin a roulette wheel for a chance to win a prize from brands who launched the platform event. Its free-of-charge lottery format usually drives the audience to check out your products and leads them to the brand’s landing page.
The main objective of this Sina Weibo campaign is to increase brand awareness and gain popularity within the social media platform. SDG used the same strategy with the Lil-lets Weibo Lucky Draw Campaign, where our team utilized this opportunity to introduce the brand’s wide range of offerings.
This Sina Weibo campaign was launched on Lil-lets’ official account around the pre-Christmas period, so we took the chance to attract as many active users as we could with paid ads. Fortunately, this strategy generated over 15,000 impressions and more than 500 additional fans in the brand’s follower base.
● Free Trial
Another system campaign event marketers can implement with an official Weibo account is offering free trials or samples of the brand’s products and services.
Although the China market is a booming business scene, foreign companies must remember that Chinese consumers have a solid preference for better quality products. Because of this, local shoppers are often wary of new and unknown brands.
Through this system campaign, brands can ask their potential audience to engage with the Weibo post and share why they should receive free samples or trials from the event. You can utilize the platform’s comment function to generate traffic and engagement on the brand’s own page.
Turning the samples into prizes and incentives can help you collect reviews and feedback data from active users within the app, even before the products are released in China. It can also generate a positive message that your brand values engagement and communication with local consumers.
● Flash Sales
Although Flash Sales are similar to Lucky Roulette campaigns, these promotional activities are more suitable for brands under the e-commerce and O2O categories.
This Sina Weibo content strategy allows active users and followers to get their hands on discount deals and prizes for a limited event duration.
These campaign posts can generate buzz for your brand within this social media platform, but keeping the mechanics simple is crucial. If not, you’ll drive the potential audiences away. Implementing a short event time frame will also create a sense of urgency, prompting users to buy your products as soon as possible.
You can integrate this campaign with other strategies like search engine optimization and paid ads to encourage non-followers to follow your official Weibo account.
Another campaign that’s also prevalent in other social media platforms is the reposting event. Typically, these promotions require the target audience to repost content from the brands, tag friends under the comments section, or follow their official Weibo account.
Since Weibo users can easily do these actions through the app, it’s a user-friendly method to garner user interactions and collect platform data from your potential audiences. The Weibo account winning the prizes is often randomly generated or selected by the brand.
Hollywood Universal Studios Weibo Reposting Campaign
One of the best examples of repost campaigns on Sina Weibo is the event launched by Hollywood Universal Studios. Not only did this campaign lead regular accounts to follow their page, but it also made other users check out their posts and trust their upcoming promotions on the site and the Chinese market.
● Content Collection
User-generated content is a popular marketing tool in Mainland China, mainly because local internet users are savvy online shoppers who research before buying anything virtually.
Brands can bank on this consumer behavior and launch Weibo’s content collection campaigns. Through this event, marketers can encourage active users to share original content related to the brand, like reviews, images, videos, and other posts.
Unlike other official Weibo account campaigns, determining the winners depends on the quality of the participant’s content. Marketers can also utilize the user’s entry as marketing material to drive users into engaging with the brand within the platform.
2. Launching Creative And Eye-Catching Content
Humans, in general, are visual creatures. So, it’s only natural that images and videos are two of the most popular forms of content within the largest social media platforms in China. This sentiment also applies to the user behavior of the Chinese Gen Zs, as this generation prefers eye-catching and engaging content such as short videos, memes, or GIFs.
Our team’s work with Ubisoft‘s official Weibo account is also a testament to the users’ preference for visually appealing content. During the Hungry Shark Mobile Launch, we made sure to microblog shark-related comics and animations within the app to drive more awareness about the game.
Ubisoft Hungry Shark Mobile Launch Campaigns
Posts like these can also encourage followers of your brand’s Weibo account to create their own version of the content. By the end of this project with SDG in the Chinese market, Ubisoft gained over 60,000 new fans on Weibo.
3. Work with Relevant Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)
Modern Chinese consumers are shoppers with more trust in Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) than foreign celebrities. Thanks to this credibility, each social media platform and industry has a roster of official account influencers with massive followings that marketers can utilize in their promotional campaigns.
For new brands on the Weibo platform, KOL campaigns are an excellent way to communicate a message to Chinese audiences unfamiliar with your products and services.
The format of posts for KOL campaigns is diverse, and it depends on your agreement with the influencer on how the promotions will happen. Some brands often opt for sponsored content, where influential users can post an article, image, or video about your products and services.
Besides that, these official accounts can take the opportunity to appeal to their fan bases through honest product reviews. Chinese consumers are more keen on genuine user-generated posts than sponsored content, so this strategy can give your brand a more positive reputation than you think.
4. Employ Weibo Search Engine Strategies
While Weibo is among the largest social media platforms with monthly active users, it’s easy for your campaign to get lost among thousands of promotions within the app. Fortunately, Sina Corporation integrated an internal search bar within the platform, making it easier for users to find content based on related keywords.
Brands can utilize the perks of Weibo’s social search feature by adding industry-related keywords to their news articles, posts, and other content. Implementing this strategy is of utmost importance, especially if you want your content to appear on local search engines like Baidu.
Another reminder when executing this tactic for your campaign is to use keywords in Chinese characters. Like most social media platforms in China, Weibo content is predominantly written in the local language.
Adding the right Chinese word and term is necessary if you want to increase brand visibility using this strategy.
Even though optimizing your Weibo page and content in Chinese is recommended, never use Google Translate to substitute brand localization services. You may think it’ll solve the dilemma, but it’s still prone to mistakes and may lead to mistranslating your marketing materials.
5. Create A Targeted Advertisement Campaign
Weibo’s massive daily and monthly active users can be a perk for your campaigns, but it also poses a challenge in reaching as many Chinese audiences as possible on this crowded platform.
As a new brand, having an official account and posting content is only the tip of the iceberg. Social advertising is the answer if you want maximum user engagement within this Chinese platform.
Here’s a brief guide on the ad options you can utilize using your brand’s Weibo official account:
- News Feed Ads
These ad options are a straightforward way to boost post visibility among users within the Weibo platform. They are cost-effective, with as little as 80–100 CNY (15 USD) reaching over 10K users. Targeting options for this promotion include interests, demographics, location, and trending keywords.
Your posts will appear at the top of user news feeds, labeled as ‘promoted’ (推广) or ‘trending’ (热门).
- Fan Connect Ads
Fan Connect ads are suitable for platform campaigns bidding on followers of influencers who match your target audience. The popular model is CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), with an option to switch to oCPM for automated bidding.
Since this advertising option allows marketers to access Weibo data analytics tools, only a verified official account with a business license can execute this paid campaign. On top of that, you must have an account balance of 3,000 USD.
- Brand Share
Brand Share is a premium option, prioritized over regular Fan Connect ads. It enables interactive ad placements, including comments section integration, banners, and creative CTAs. It encourages users to creatively engage and interact with your brand within the Weibo platform.
6. Unlock Valuable Insights with the Weibo’s Data Center
Although the Data Center is a paid service that Sina Corporation offers, it can provide users access to trending topics of interest, review official company account statistics, and monitor real-time changes in account data.
Marketers can use account statistics and other real-time Weibo data to optimize the content they release on the platform, from article creation to choosing the right advertising option.
7. Stay up-to-date with the Latest Trends and News on Weibo
Like Twitter, Weibo has become a digital space where users air their sentiments about everyday life, from lifestyles to political issues. The platform’s user base is socially aware and expects brands to stay informed on societal matters.
Joining the conversation about the latest news will give your brand’s official account page more credibility. However, being insightful and respectful in engaging with this content and other users is crucial, especially if you’re a foreign brand.
You can also ride on the craze of pop-culture collaborations and other industry-related campaigns, as Gen Z consumers often warmly welcome these trends in China.
Crocs X King of Glory Weibo campaign
Why Foreign Brands Should Utilize Sina Weibo Campaigns
- Sina Weibo boasts over 500 million monthly active users, making it a prime platform to tap into the Chinese market.
- Leveraging Weibo campaigns can significantly enhance brand visibility and awareness among Chinese consumers.
- Weibo offers precise targeting options, ensuring your campaigns reach the right demographics and interests.
- Analytical tools on the platform, like Weibo Data Center, provide valuable data and insights into consumer behavior and preferences in China.
- Most of the top businesses in China use Weibo as a marketing tool, so it’s an excellent place to research the industry and your competitors.
How does Weibo work?
Weibo’s micro-blogging feature is one of the reasons why it has been coined as China’s Twitter. It allows users, personal account or not, to post various types of content, including text, images, videos, or a link.
On top of these generic social media functions, brands with verified accounts can build user relationships through more exclusive content like Weibo stories or live streaming.
Weibo Live streaming for the Fashion Week, product demonstration and gaming
However, creating an official Weibo account is crucial before launching the promotional campaign tactics we discussed earlier. Not only does a verification badge give you access to data analysis tools, but it also adds credibility to your brand.
Here’s a brief step-by-step guide on how to create, verify, and configure a Weibo account for your brand:
- Step 1 – Visit the official Weibo site and register for an account. You can choose to sign up with a personal account first and exchange emails with VIP customer support to save time on obtaining your official account badge.
Weibo Signup page
- Step 2 – After completing the sign-up form, the next registration process is clicking the link sent to your email to activate your Weibo account. You’ll also receive an SMS verification that requires you to verify the mobile phone number provided.
- Step 3 – Once the SMS verification confirms your mobile phone, you can contact Weibo’s VIP customer support by emailing [email protected] to verify your account. Make sure to include the required documents as part of the verification process.
- Step 4 – Make the payment for the account verification. Typically, it’s 1000 USD, but it may vary in other countries.
- Other Options – Foreign brands can verify their accounts using a Chinese business license. However, as part of Weibo’s verification policy, you must submit an authorization letter as evidence that you’re allowing the Chinese company to establish a Weibo page with your business name, logo, description, and other pertinent details. If you’re unsure how to do this process, consult an experienced digital marketing agency in China.
Your Weibo Campaign Partner In China!
At first glance, Weibo may bear a resemblance to Twitter. However, as you explore the campaign features it can offer, it becomes more evident that the platform can be an effective tool in your marketing arsenal.
The real question is, can a foreign brand utilize all these perks to open business opportunities in China? Definitely! Our experienced team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, unlocking your brand’s full potential and ensuring resounding success in this dynamic social media landscape.
We offer comprehensive services to empower your Weibo campaigns in China. From crafting compelling content to harnessing the power of SEO and KOLs, we provide the digital solutions you need to thrive within the Chinese market. Contact us today to learn more!
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