Is Weibo still a relevant social media to promote your brand in China?

Weibo, the second most used social network in China, is one of the best platforms where to promote your brand and products to Chinese consumers in 2020. Why? Our analysis of Weibo users, 2020 results, and its functions will explain to you why.

Why is Weibo important for brands in China?

When it comes to digital in China, we immediately think of Wechat, but the social channels to be taken into consideration are also others, especially Weibo if we set ourselves the goal of generating brand awareness. Brand awareness is key in China as Chinese people are very wary of brands and products they don’t know. Brand awareness gives you the opportunity to reach out to Chinese consumers and become one of their options when choosing to purchase.

What Weibo offers to users and brands?

Weibo, which means “microblog” in Chinese, is a Chinese Twitter-like online networking tool. The logic behind it is similar to Twitter, as you can post content with a maximum text length and set #hashtag to share and follow specific topics. But compared to the American platform it offers greater potential:

  • allows you to create microblogs
  • Sharing multiple photos and videos at the same time
  • allows all users, even if not registered, to read all kinds of news.

Thanks to the “hot” section, users can stay up to date on current trends (like on Twitter). So much so that the same platform offers companies the opportunity to buy keywords in order to be in the top positions of searches. It also allows you to integrate direct links to online stores or videos from Youku, the Chinese equivalent of Youtube.

Good commercial content on Weibo can have a lot more impact than on Wechat

Proper management through collaboration with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) can make your advertising campaigns go viral on this platform.

To learn more about how to choose the right KOL for your brand, read more about our service and contact us!

With Weibo, it is easy to share and get viral because compared to Wechat is an open social media. Everyone can see everything and comments everywhere which encourages people to comment and engage between themselves and with the brand.

It is a must for many industries because peoples still refer to Weibo to evaluate the credibility of a brand.

Wechat or Weibo: Which one to choose?

Brands should know that both Wechat and Weibo are essential social media in China. We must invest in both as they have different objectives:

  • Thanks to a “one-to-one” communication, WeChat is optimal because we want to verticalize the message and build loyalty in the community.
  • Weibo, on the other hand, is preferable to generate brand awareness or give the greatest possible visibility to events or promotions.

To sum up, it could be said that Weibo can generate a great contribution in the initial phase of brand/ product positioning and in building the fan base. Without forgetting that over time it remains an essential tool in the hands of Influencer and KOL.

Weibo’s numbers are enough to express its potential

Weibo users in 2020

Hundreds of millions of netizens across China use Weibo as a platform to exchange information and voice opinions on social issues in a nation under strict news censorship.

  • 40% of Weibo users are between 23 and 30 years old, which means users are predominantly millennials.
  • Compared to other social media channels like Instagram, Weibo has more male users than female users. In fact, there are 57% of male users and 43% of female users.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Weibo proved its indispensable value as a leading social media platform to keep the public informed, connected, and engaged.

In March, Weibo experienced the strongest user growth in terms of net MAU (Monthly Active Users) and DAU (Daily Active Users) additions on a year-over-year basis.

  • Monthly active users (“MAUs”) were 550 million in March 2020, a net addition of approximately 85 million users on a year-over-year basis. Mobile MAUs represented approximately 94% of MAUs.
  • Average daily active users (“DAUs”) were 241 million in March 2020, a net addition of approximately 38 million users on a year-over-year basis.

Weibo 2020 monetization results

As for monetization, Weibo has seen a gradual recovery trend since March for most brands and merchants since the February low.

Additionally, Gaofei Wang, CEO of Weibo, said he wanted to continue to focus on optimizing advertising products and improving ad performance to enable advertisers to further leverage their social ad portfolio and improve monetization efficiency.

Weibo offers multiple functions for brand marketing

Weibo is one of the leading social media that allows people to create, share, and discover content online. Weibo combines the means of public self-expression in real time with a powerful platform for social interaction, content aggregation, and content distribution.

Any user can create and post on the platform, and any user can follow any other user and add comments to a feed while reposting. This model allows an original feed to become a live viral conversation stream.

Weibo allows companies to promote their brands, products, and services to users. Weibo offers a wide range of advertising and marketing solutions to businesses of all sizes. In addition, it offers the ability to target audiences based on user demographics, social relationships, interests, and behaviors, to achieve greater relevance, engagement, and effective marketing.

Weibo users can:

  • Open personal accounts
  • Follow accounts and be followed by other users
  • Publish textual and visual content
  • Stay updated on the latest news by following the so-called “hot topics”
  • Watch live streaming

Weibo companies, through a verified brand profile, can:

  • Communicate to the masses, as it is a one-to-many platform
  • Increase their brand awareness
  • Convert users into customers
  • Retaining those already acquired
  • Collaborate with KOL to increase audience ratings
  • Recommendation through word of mouth
  • Weibo advertising (Display ads, search promotion, fans headline, fans tunnel)

Opening an official account and getting verified is the first step to using Weibo

After registering on Weibo as a business, it is necessary that you get it verified. This, which is shown as a “V” next to the username, serves to demonstrate that the account data has been verified and confirmed by Weibo. It will give you access to more tools and give you more credibility with your followers.

If you are a foreign entity you’ll have to pay an entry fee of $1000 against $300 if you have a Chinese business license. After registering a personal account, you have to submit documents such as application letters, company registration papers, etc.. translated into Chinese. Afraid of the paperwork? GMA can help you with registering and creating a verified Weibo account.

How can brands increase brand awareness on Weibo?

Create hot and creative content on Weibo

The types of posts are quite different on Weibo. They can range from short text messages similar to Twitter tweets, blogs, live streams, videos, and questions and answers from which content creators can generate revenue.

  • The linguistic style must reflect the brand image, but it must also be aligned with the target of customers to which it is addressed.
  • Concise, interesting, and clear posts with content such as photos, videos, memes, and GIFs are preferred. They convey information and act as an incentive for readers to share the post.
  • Live streaming is extremely popular in China. It is often used by KOLs to connect with their audience and promote new products.
  • Hashtags are used with two hashtags (# hashtag #) instead of one. This peculiarity is due to the Chinese writing method that does not include spaces between words. For this reason, hashtags must be separated into two hashtags.

It is crucial to keep in touch with your Weibo follower by answering questions, and giving suggestions but also by keeping your Weibo page alive.

Post good content easy to consume and easy to share. Your post will get only a second of attention so make it count. Weibo is a great tool for being commercial. Weibo users are looking for discounts and commercial offers, don’t shy out.

Collaborate with KOLs to increase brand followers

The preferred channel for influencers to communicate with their audience is Weibo since it allows for “one-to-many” communication. In addition to the ordinary micro-blogging features, it also offers a service particularly appreciated by KOLs: live streaming. Weibo, in fact, has a connected video streaming platform that allows you to watch live broadcasts directly within the social network and publish them in the official profile feed.

It should be remembered that in a collectivist society like the Chinese one, the opinion of “experts” and social consensus is also reflected in the purchasing behavior of consumers. Furthermore, the Chinese tend not to trust the brands they know due to the numerous counterfeits. For this reason, Influencers and Key Opinion Leaders are fundamental in a brand’s strategies to reassure the consumer and induce him to buy a specific product.

Use targeted Weibo Ads to experience a rapid increase in revenues

Weibo generates a substantial majority of its revenues from the sale of advertising and marketing services. In fact, Weibo users tend to shop on Weibo because the advertisements targeted at them match their needs. The ads system on Weibo is similar to Facebook and one of the cheapest options with a good ROI.

Weibo Paid Advertising Guide

Therefore, what are the types of advertising on Weibo?

There are four main types of Weibo advertising, it’s important to tailor a strategy based on budget, KPI expectations & their specific sector.

The main types of strategy to consider are:
  • Display Ads (Display ads are traditional but certainly still effective. When users click on the ads they are directed to an advertiser’s homepage. Display ads are mainly placed on the search page (in the discover section), on the Weibo homepage as well as on the side of users’ news feeds (akin to Facebook Ads)).
  • Weibo Search Engine Promotion (Weibo, unlike Wechat, has an in-built. an advanced search function that allows for browsing of accounts, posts & fan pages. Weibo search promotion focuses on increasing the visibility of your account itself).
  • Fan tunnels (Fan tunnels are the most targeted and intelligent way of reaching new consumers & followers. You can use this to promote either a specific post or your account. It functions like a ‘headline’ that appears at the top of a user’s news feed).
  • Fan Headlines (Fan Headlines are an alternative option and focus on targeting your existing follower base and their connections. Like a tunnel, the post or account will appear at the top of the news feed of followers & also their relevant connections. This increases the likelihood of re-sharing of content, an activity 65% of all Weibo users do on a daily basis (1-3 posts shared on average)).

Make good use of the Weibo store to boost sales

Weibo, in addition to being used for more traditional activities such as sharing posts, photos, etc., also has a very important function from a commercial point of view.

In fact, Weibo has definitively embraced social commerce by inaugurating its new “Weibo Mini Shop” platform.

Previously, thanks to the partnership with Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform, the Weibo window gave you the function of direct sales through the collaboration of e-commerce sites such as Taobao and Tmall through links.

Subsequently, Weibo decided to disable direct links to Tmall and Taobao, in order to encourage the portfolio of users of the Weibo social network to buy directly on Weibo. This means that users will be able to open and manage their shops directly.

Compared with other e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and Jingdong, Weibo does not have product listing and management functions and must link to third-party platforms such as Taobao, Tmall, and Youzan. Therefore, his nature is more like Wechat, but it has more promotion and management functions than Wechat.

GMA is your Weibo Marketing Agency in China

We have been using Weibo for a long time and have run many successful campaigns for our clients. Weibo was and is still a great tool that keeps evolving. If you are looking at getting started on Weibo or strengthening your position on the app but are not certain about how to achieve your goal, GMA has years of experience with Chinese social media and marketing in china from start-ups to multinational corporate.

Our Weibo marketing services:

  • Weibo Account Set Up (We take care of the creation of your official account, stress-free and fast)
  • Content Management (Creative & buzzy content copywriting. Regular post & account optimization)
  • Followers Engagement (We keep your community engaged and interested in your brand while growing it)
  • Weibo KOL Marketing (We choose the right influencers for you and create a viral campaign)
  • Weibo Marketing Campaign (Contest Games, Live streaming, buzz content… Get more exposure with the right strategy)
  • Monthly Marketing Report (What happened, what is coming & everything that went on your Weibo account).

Contact us for additional information!

Read more about Weibo:


Leave your comment