Weibo is frequently called China’s version of Twitter. It is a powerful digital communications and marketing channel. Use of this real-time microblogging social technology in China has been unprecedented, and companies have a unique opportunity to use Sina Weibo marketing to reach and engage new audiences in China. Users cover a broad swath of China’s internet population, including youth, domestic and international celebrities, CEOs, professionals, and media personalities.
Users can open their own accounts and upload text or multimedia content (pictures, videos, gifs, etc.) which is shared with other users on the platform. Apart from standard posts, users can also hold live streaming sessions or upload “Weibo stories” (similar to Instagram stories). The story function allows users to upload a 15-second video/story that disappears after 24 hours. You’ll recognize these features from other popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
Here is a little bit about some useful features of this huge platform from our KOL-clients and partners. These will increase engagement and follower numbers for any Weibo account. We use it, we love it, and we want to share it with you.
Weibo also makes use of hashtags. However, they are a little different from the hashtags we are used to on the Western social media. To make a hashtag on Weibo, we have to put the hashtag symbol (#) both before and after the word. For example, #Weibo#.
Hot hashtags and topics can create a circulation of relevant content. Here you might catch the ride and increase the visibility of your brand. But, because of the specifics of the Chinese language, these topics are actual phrases, titles, news lines. It’s not keywords, as we know.
It’s actual questions and situations, which are updated every minute. Keep it in mind and play with it.
To foster communication between users, Weibo introduced functions such as: “Like”, “Comment”, “Repost”, “Share” and “Chat” (inbox). Users can also subscribe to particular accounts to keep track of their posts or join chat groups with topics they’re interested in. Thanks to these versatile functions, Weibo has successfully built a thriving online community among its like-minded users.
Chaohua超话 Super topics
There is another feature called “Super Topic”, which is commonly used by celebrities as it gathers related posts shared by other users (mostly fans), similar to a hashtag. For example, as Huang Bo is an actor, the super topic under his name includes several discussions, pictures and videos related to him.
Unlike a hashtag, a “Super Topic” has its own page with dedicated moderators. “Super Topics” allow users to discuss a certain topic and post relevant content to the page, and since it is actively moderated it can provide more valuable information than a standard hashtag. Within “Super Topics” there are some unique features, including “essential content” and the “hall of fame” where content is manually selected by moderators to be featured for users visiting the “super topic.”
Super topics can also be about places, specific topics, and interest. People share here their ideas, content and post questions. And they are ready to engage. The thing is to find “alive” and relevant to you.
Be careful when posting in Super topics. It’s better to uncheck “同步到微博” before posting content, so you won’t dabble post it in your page at the same time with Super topic’s page. Anyway, you can always find your post on Super topic in the 超话社区 in the mobile app.
At Weibo, you can send not only directed message tête-à-tête but also participate in massive group chats (up to 1000 users). They usually are created around one topic: lifestyle, celebrities, sport, etc. Also for hufen which we will discuss later.
Here you can promote your post (share it) if it’s relevant. And also directly go to your target with direct messages.
Group chats have their group Weibo page – similar to Suter topic, but more closed.
When you want to grow the number of followers FAST, Hufendatin is the first tool, that comes to mind. The main idea is in the mutual following. Different users, with different interests and targets, come here to ask for 互粉互赞互评 (mutual fans, mutual likes, mutual comments).
You follow they follow you back. You “like”, they “like” back. You comment, they comment back. This easy, this fast, this time consuming, actually. But be confident, most of them are as real as you are. (But how real are you? As for us, there are at least 3 “us” in Weibo.)
Actually, 互粉大厅 is the name for one of the first and biggest Super Topics for mutual following. But there are many others. You can easily find them at Weibo by yourself, just search for something like 互粉 or 互关. Go there with a small piece of content, ask for followers and follow people who are already there.
Also, there are plenty of group chats, which work much better but take more time and concentration. They also are easy to find on the Weibo app, in your chat list. I highly recommend you mute them immediately because there are too many messages every second. When we follow people in these chats, we @ them in the message and ask them to follow back.
There we work not only for numbers but also for connections. The thing is that there are so many different people. You’ll never know who will come next, after so many ads, sweet girls and anime-lovers.
Your target audience is there, and moreover – it is the active part of your target.
Apart from standard posts on Weibo, users can also hold live streaming sessions or upload “Weibo stories”, which are pretty similar to Instagram stories.
The story function allows users to upload a 15-second video/story that disappears from “story” section after 24 hours but will be still at your main page. You can easily recognize these features from other popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
Users can comment on others’ Weibo stories, “like” and reshare them.
Weibo Stories has a lot of challenges. And you can take part in them. You should, actually, if your content suits.
It is a topic (hashtag), which appears at the top of news feeds (at the mobile version), where everyone can share their story and the more views they get, the “hotter” story becomes.
Similar to TikTok challenges it’s a good way to get visibility and ideas for new content.
When you use @ with the user’s nickname, they will get a notification about your post.
This strategy could be quite aggressive, but this is the way to get someone to check your content. And if your content is relevant and interesting – you will get a like or comment, or even a re-share.
With one good @ you can get thousands of views. But this @ should be definitely good. Using this feature is similar to being a sniper. Breath deep, be calm, wait for ideal target and then – shoot.
Boom, you get your views.
Other features for Sina Weibo Marketing
Apart from the features mentioned above, Weibo also provides a lot of extra functions such as Weibo Fit, which records sports and health data like walking distance and calories burnt. Another main function would be Weibo Wallet, which claims “paying online is just a tap away”. Through the wallet, users can make payments within Weibo for any product someone shares or links to within the app. People can pay loans, buy insurance, buy movie tickets or even see an online doctor through the app! All you need to do is link your credit card or Alipay account and you can get started!
After all, we want to note, that Weibo algorithm can punish you for posting too aggressively. Be careful. Try to balance the promotion and soft pushes with good content.
Now you have some nice Weibo tools for engagement. Like every platform for social media marketing, Sina Weibo marketing has its own tips and tricks, and they’re far different from those in Western Social Media. But you need to master them if you want to be a pro in Chinese digital word. The tools we mentioned in this article will work for you, as they work for AICY Create and our customers.
Just take your content and go to Chinese social media and Sina Weibo marketing.
If you need more convincing, check out this infographic from Fishtank Creative with more Sina Weibo marketing advice!