How to use Weibo for B2B Marketing in China
Weibo is the largest microblogging site in China. It is similar to the western site Twitter. Just like Twitter, Weibo users post short text messages of up to 140 Chinese characters. As well, they post videos and photos on their feed. Users reply, like, or share posts from other users, and follow their content. Started in 2009, Weibo has an ecosystem of users that range from average Joes to celebrities, influencers, government services, and more. Content posted on Weibo also varies in scope, from the latest news, memes, and gossip. So how popular is Weibo in China?
Let’s take a look at Weibo’s numbers reported for the third quarter of 2021:
- Weibo’s Daily Active Users (DAU) averaged around 248 million in September, an addition of 23 million users from the previous year.
- Weibo’s Monthly Active Users (MAU) averaged around 573 million in September, seeing an increase of 62 million users from the previous year.
- Weibo generated $607.4 million in net revenue, an increase of 30% from the previous year.
- Advertising and marketing revenues increased 29% from the previous year reaching $537.6 million.
Data shows that Weibo marketing sees an upward trend in its active users and revenue on a year-over-year basis. These figures attract companies to the platform. Specifically, foreign companies looking to expand their revenue and popularity by entering the Chinese market. This article will cover how Weibo can optimize your B2B marketing strategies in China, by leveraging the application’s built-in features. We recommend WeChat and Zhihu for B2B marketing. However, Weibo marketing is a valuable asset to add to your marketing arsenal. By helping you reach your desired target audience and elevate your brand’s recognition to the next level.
Tips for Posting on Weibo
Less is More
When posting on Weibo, keep your texts short and sweet. This means crafting a compelling, eye-catching message about your product that sticks within the 140 Chinese character limit. We recommend this for many reasons. First, research shows that users’ online attention span continues to diminish over time. Therefore users are less inclined to read a long piece of text unless their interest is piqued. Second, while Weibo does permit you to post up to 5,000 characters, these posts are folded – requiring the user to open the full text.
Make it Eye Candy
As a brand wanting to acquire new customers, it is imperative to glamorize your posts so that they are impactful and thought-provoking. That’s why we recommend that you add visual variety to your posts. For example, Weibo lets you post up to 9 pictures in one post. Posting 9 pictures at once may seem excessive, but the fact that photos appear in a 3×3 grid has inspired businesses to leverage this structure and create colorful collages. This can instantly make your post stand out.
Other forms of visual content provided by Weibo include posting a poll for users to vote on. This can be a great way to interact with your followers, build a relationship, and let them feel involved in the brand. Uploading short or long videos on Weibo is another option, which can vary your content. In particular, post short video clips, as they are particularly in vogue right now among online users.
Finally, make sure to leverage hashtags! On Weibo users browse hashtags via general categories such as trending, education, food, or niche hashtags. Each category will display the most relevant and trending hashtags. So, if your brand is in the food sector, check out the latest trending hashtags in the food category. Then include those in your post. Users that are browsing through hashtag-related posts may discover your brand!
Unlike Twitter, Weibo doesn’t limit hashtags to the end of your text. Weibo users place hashtags at the beginning, and sometimes in the middle of their text! You can also tag other users in your post using the @ sign, so their follower base can discover your page.
Advertising on Weibo
The majority of Chinese social media apps integrate ads within its interface. This offers companies the opportunity to advertise their brand to millions of users across the country. And Weibo marketing is no exception! Your brand should create an advertising campaign that has a strong call-to-action (CTA). Then, share it through a range of different advertising options.
News Feed Ads
If your posts receive a low amount of interaction and viewership, News Feed ads allow you to boost your posts. This exposes the post to a wider audience. You can customize settings so that your post targets audiences based on location, sex, and interests. Boosted posts will then appear on the first spot of the user’s news feed. But, it is marked as promoted. Leveraging News Feed ads is a relatively fast and inexpensive way to get exposure. Even if you don’t have a large budget, you can experiment with various settings. Then see which brings the most exposure to your brand.
Fan Connect Ads
Fan Connect ads are similar to News Feed ads. But, they provide brands with more customizable options to target their desired consumer base. This allows you to refine your advertising campaigns to tailor them to a specific demographic. Fan Connect allows you to advertise campaigns in a variety of formats. Such as photo grids, videos, a card, or even a simple CTA that directs users to your website. These ads will appear in the third and ninth spot of a user’s news feed, giving your brand a lot more exposure.
Note: To run Fan Connect ads, your account will need a verified business license from China or abroad. Contact Gab China for more information regarding this topic. Fan Connect ads are also more expensive than News Feed ads.
Brand Share Ads
The most costly, but interactive, form of advertising on Weibo are undoubtedly Brand Share Ads. Typically bigger brands with large budgets use them. Simply put, Brand Share Ads are more advanced and imposing types of advertising compared to the options above. Because Weibo prioritizes these ads first in users’ feeds. Brand Share Ads appear in places that you would least expect to find an ad pop up. Such as, in the comment section of a popular article that you’re reading. Writing creative copy in the comment section may encourage users to like and reply to your comment. These ads also vary in size, and in some cases may take up a large portion of your screen! Finally, Brand Share ads allow for brands to be creative with their ads, such as including an interactive CTA.
Apps such as WeChat, and more recently Douyin, are receiving most of the attention in B2B marketing strategies in China. So, it’s important to keep leveraging all available platforms that will elevate your brand. In light of its user base and revenue, Weibo exemplifies an underappreciated platform that should grab your interest.