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What is Weibo? A Social Network to Build your Audience Reach in China

Chinese social network
What is Weibo? Chinese Equivalent of Twitter to Build your Audience

Knowing what Weibo is today is essential knowledge to effectively promote your business in the Chinese market and, above all, to have the maximum possible reach among Chinese consumers.

Mastering the main Chinese social networks, such as Weibo, Toutiao, WeChat, Little Red Book, Douyin, Kuaishou, and many others, is essential for your marketing strategy in China to obtain the best possible results, since the main characteristic of the citizens of this great Asian country is their high level of digitalization.

Being familiar with the main Chinese social networks, such as Weibo, Toutiao, Xiaohongshu and Douyin is essential for foreign businesses that intend to establish an effective marketing strategy in China.

In this article we will take a detailed look at what Weibo is, as well as its main features. Then, we will talk about the options when promoting a brand on this social network, as well as how to register on it

Table of Contents

1. What is Weibo?

Sina Weibo, or Weibo for short, means, in its Chinese translation, “microblog”. It is a Chinese social network sometimes known as the Chinese version of Twitter which, unlike WeChat, is open, and is characterized by its focus on content sharing, as well as the possibility of creating communities and gaining high visibility.

Weibo was founded in 2009, after China’s censorship of Western platforms and applications. Four years later, in 2013, the giant Alibaba Group had already acquired 18% of the company, later becoming 32%, according to an ABC report. 

The giant Alibaba Group has acquired 32% of Weibo's business.

In recent years, they have developed new functions and features, with no resemblance to the competition, so they have had the ability to overtake them and provide a multitude of opportunities for brands to promote their products and services

What is Weibo?

Who uses Weibo?

Weibo is a Chinese social network used by approximately 30% of all Chinese internet users, constituting more than 500 million monthly active users, according to Forbes’ annual report.

30% of all Chinese internet users use Weibo, constituting more than 500 million monthly active users.

Of these, more than 56% are men, while 43% are women, according to LaTercera. In addition, 80% are people under 30 years old, and 12% are between 31 and 40 years old, which shows the great importance of Generation Z for this social network.

More than 80% of Weibo users are under 30 years old, which underlines the great importance of Generation Z for Chinese social networks.

What does Weibo do?

Now that we have seen what Weibo is, let’s take a look at some of its main functions. It is worth noting that, like most Chinese social networks, Weibo has a myriad of functions and serves many completely different areas. 

  • Sharing content with other users of the platform.
  • Promoting products in China through posts.
  • Creating new communities.
  • Writing and sharing articles of less than 2,000 words.
  • Messaging.
  • Posting for interactive purposes such as polls and voting.
  • Video games.
  • Following hashtags of your favorite topics. 
  • Running advertising campaigns to maximize the reach of your posts.

Some of Weibo's most important functions are: selling in China, content sharing, writing and sharing articles, hyperlinked discounts and promoting a brand through posts.

What does Weibo do?-main functions

2. How to promote your brand on Weibo

Since Weibo is an essential Chinese social network to gain reach and recognition in the Chinese market, we need to know the different ways for a brand to promote their products and services on this platform.

Advertising on Weibo

One of the ways to promote your brand on Weibo is through advertisements and ad campaigns. Weibo offers a range of different advertising options, including graphics, promotion on Weibo search engine or search bar, photos, images, landing pages and landing page ads. These are chosen according to needs and available budget.

Another option is Display ads, the most common one, which enables ads to be shown on the mobile app homepage or website search page, in addition to promotion on the Weibo homepage. As such, netizens can click on the suggested keywords displayed.

Advertising on Weibo

Content strategy

On Weibo, trends and hot topics of the past few days are detected to generate this kind of content to users, so a specific topic may be full of brands and influencers talking about it. Therefore, it is crucial that your community manager is up to date with the main topics on Weibo in order to develop strategies based on them.

The consumption of multimedia content has seen a substantial increase, with the craze for short videos, especially inviting KOLs and celebrities to participate in order to get more exposure. If you’re interested in these types of strategies, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to run an influencer marketing campaign in China.

Using hashtags can be a key strategy to interact with the target audience, as that post will have a greater chance of being seen, as it pertains to a specific topic.

How to promote your brand on Weibo-Content strategy

Influencer marketing (KOL)

KOLs in China (Key Opinion Leaders) have a huge impact on Weibo users, so their promotions are extremely effective. In China, they are considered social media experts, so their recommendations have infinite credibility.

KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) have a huge impact on Chinese consumers when it comes to choosing or not choosing a product or service.

How to promote your brand on Weibo-Influencer marketing (KOL)

3. How to register your business on Weibo

Now that you know what Weibo is and have some fundamental knowledge about it, the last step is to register your brand on the application. To do this, you will need to follow the steps below.

  1. Go to the official Weibo page and click on Register a new account.
  2. Fill in the details and submit the form. You will receive an email; click on the link.
  3. Contact VIP customer service to verify your account, via mail vhelper@vip.sina.com . The requirements for verification and to be an official account are:
  • Company registration document with copy translated into Chinese.
  • Application letter and third party authorization letter.
  • Operations team contact information.
  1. Prepare the documents for submission. 
  2. Pay the verification fee, costing 1,000 USD per year.
How to register your business on Weibo

To get your Weibo account verified you will need to send the company registration document with a copy translated into Chinese, application and authorization letter and contact information.

Types of Weibo accounts

Concerning the types of Weibo accounts, there are two types available, depending on whether your goal is commercial or non-commercial in intent:

Weibo personal account

Weibo personal account

Ideal for

Individuals

Companies or organizations

Advantages

Unlimited content and entertainment

Promote products and services

Disadvantages

No promotion possibilities

Verification takes more than a month, plus many documents such as trademark patent are needed

Registration

Telephone number and country

Requires submitting official documents from the organization. The process takes about 4 weeks.

Cost

0 USD

1000 USD

Differences between Weibo and Twitter

Weibo and Twitter, although they have very similar functions, have decisive differences, so knowing and recognizing them is of crucial importance:

  1. “Weibos” (accounts) are not public like on Twitter, except for some celebrities. 
  2. Twitter DMs let you write fewer characters than Weibo.
  3. In the profile of your Weibo account you cannot put a link that redirects to a web page.
  4. On Weibo there is much more spam than on Twitter.
  5. Advertisements are more effective on Weibo, as the platform provides much more help to companies than Twitter.

4. Conclusions

As we have seen, Weibo is essential for the marketing strategy of any business that wants to break into the Chinese market, so knowing the specifics is of vital importance.

If you are interested in promoting your business in the Chinese market, contact InfluChina through hello@influchina.com, a social media agency that is dedicated to promoting chinese outbound tourism in foreign businesses through strategic collaborations with Chinese influencers.

If you are interested in promoting your business in the Chinese market, contact InfluChina, a social media agency that is dedicated to promoting tourism through collaborations with Chinese influencers.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Weibo

Weibo is a Chinese social network sometimes referred to as the Chinese version of Twitter, which functions as a microblog, and is characterized by its focus on content sharing.

Weibo accounts are not public like Twitter, there is more spam, promotions from organizations and companies are more effective, among other things. 

Some of the most important functions of Weibo are: selling in China, exchanging content, writing and sharing articles, providing discounts through hyperlinks, and promoting a brand through posts.

Weibo is used by 30% of the total number of Chinese users with internet access, constituting more than 500 million monthly active Internet users.

To promote a brand on Weibo, there are three options: influencer marketing, through advertising and ad campaigns and content strategies.

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