So, you want to work on your studios’ social media. You’ve set up regular Facebook posting, an Instagram strategy and are Tweeting all the little things that are going on in your studio.
But, what happens if the bulk of your market, especially if you’re based in China, can’t see any of these platforms?
Because of this, setting up and promoting your studio’s Weibo account is one of the most important steps for you to take in order to build your presence in China.
The 1.3B people in China represents the most populated country in the world, yet it also represents the most heavily segmented and restricted space for digital communication. As the world’s most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google are blocked, the country has developed a number of extremely powerful localised online community platforms. Of them, the most popular are Sina Weibo and WeChat, with over 700 million daily users. Although WeChat was classified as the biggest rival to Weibo, the platforms provide such different experiences and draw significantly different demographics that successful businesses know the benefits of having both.
Let’s have a look at Weibo.
What is Weibo?
Weibo is a microblogging platform that was launched in 2009. By 2012, 70% of Chinese internet users had registered their own Weibo account. It’s basically China’s hybrid of Twitter and Facebook. Its one-to-all communication style makes it one of the most important ways corporate accounts can reach their market and interact with potential customers.
Each post has a limit of 140 characters, up to 9 photos and 1 video, and includes hashtags as part of the platform’s format. Weibo is about mass distribution of information, and frequency is a key component of successful Weibo accounts. It works on the follower-followee type of relationship between members, where information can be unidirectional – similar to Twitter. One difference between the accounts though is the type of posting – Weibo members are notably more personal in their posts compared to Twitter users.
Weibo for your business
For business users looking to connect with and grow their current member base, corporate accounts are available for most organisations and groups. The profile provides a number of features and functions unavailable to personal accounts including business specific page displays, analytics, as well as profile monitoring and customer service tools.
Steps to successfully run your business’ Weibo
When you first make your company’s Weibo account, you might feel overwhelmed by the ins-and-outs of the platform. But, with some planning and direction, there are a few ways you can grow your Weibo followers, expand your market reach and increase interaction:
One of the most important steps in developing your Weibo account is in the foundation. You need to have a clear objective in mind, that is, setting a SMART goal (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic and time sensitive). For example, one goal could be to gain 1000 followers in the next 6 months organically. This will keep you accountable and focused on progress.
Find your audience
There is never just one group of users who will be in contact with your Weibo account. As a result, you need to design your social media strategy accordingly. There are 4 main groups you should be looking at: your target market, your customers, your employees and the wider audience (everyone else). Ask yourself these questions when posting:
- Which market is this going to target?
- What do you know about each market segment?
- What is your goal for this post? (sign ups, purchases, email collection, interaction, followers)
- How are you going to spread this piece of content? (hashtags, incentive, tags, including other companies)
- Does this contribute to our overall goal?
Start logging the hours
Consistency is key for successful social media accounts. The only way to increase your profile’s activity and gain valuable interaction from members is to put in the hours. Weibo recognises the number of active hours, and your followers will notice too. You may have the best marketing in town, but without high levels of direct interaction, you won’t get the followers you desire. Types of engagement include posting and reposting to your wall, as well as commenting, liking and sharing others’ posts.
Use Weibo features to your advantage
There are 2 special social technologies within Weibo that you should become very comfortable using. These include:
- Live Weibo: similar to the Facebook or Instagram live features, Weibo gives you the same opportunity. It allows you to live stream an interview any other real-time event whilst interacting with users
- Weibo voting: Weibo’s super useful built-in polling system is a perfect way to for brands to survey their members and gather invaluable information straight from the source. Companies pay tens of thousands to find out what their market want and this is an extremely easy and FREE way to do so!
As part of your social media plan, you need to think of some Weibo specific tactics in order to make any noise in such a crowded platform. This means your twitter strategy can’t just be repurposed, reposted and regurgitated onto your Weibo account – the content needs to be localised and targeting this new platform’s audience. If paid advertising is in your budget and has worked for you on other platforms, there are 2 main avenues for this in Weibo.
Firstly, you can promote a post on Weibo just like you can on Facebook. You can set a budget and track clicks, likes and follows per dollar spent. The set up is very straightforward but is only available to verified accounts. Another benefit of having a verified account is the ability to pay for repostings, with less expensive options from people you don’t have a choice in, to more expensive options for when you do.
The type of content posted is what makes Weibo so similar to Facebook and Twitter. Useful content types of posting includes:
- Photo albums
- Member reposts
Weibo is already one of the most used social media platforms in the world. In order for your business to succeed, you need to make sure all that traffic is being kept on your page through interesting and relatable context.
如果想通过社交媒体提高品牌知名度，社交团队会在脸书上发布新的帖子，制定 Instagram 策略，并在推特上发布健身工作室的日常生活。但是，如果你大部分的目标市场都无法使用这些社交平台，尤其当你的目标市场是中国时，你该怎么办呢？
运营微博账户最关键的部分在于基础。你需要运用 SMART 原则（明确性、可衡量性、可达成性、相关性）设立一个明确的目标。比如，在6个月内新增1000名用户。精准的目标会帮助公司在社交平台上发展得更快。
- 微博直播：与脸书和 Instagram 的直播相似，微博也提供同样的功能。用户可以直播现场访谈，或是实时活动，并与粉丝进行互动。