If you live in China or visit from time to time, you have probably already heard of Weibo. It is one of the biggest tools for digital social networking, interaction and entertainment, and is one of the main players in digital marketing.
The first thing you need to know, is that there are actually 2 Weibos; one is Weibo Sina and the other is a child of Tencent, called Tencent Weibo. Today we are going to look at the older, more popular one – Weibo Sina.
There are more than 503 million registered users on Sina Weibo, and yet a large number of foreign businesses in China are still yet to take advantage of this marvellous social media marketing opportunity.
Although Weibo is a Twitter style micro blog (users only have a 140-character limit for their posts) it has become a home for the majority of China’s key figures, music groups, celebrities, and even for a few non-Chinese personalities, such as Tim Cook and David Beckham whose fame continues to grow in China by the day. Today David has more than 5 million followers!
People are now comparing Weibo to Twitter or Facebook, and they are not wrong, however the sites are not completely similar by any means. Here are the basics of what you can do with Weibo:
- General abilities: add hashtags with “#HashName#” insert emoticons or attach your own pictures, music, video files in every post.
- Other abilities: you can invite your Facebook friends to follow you on or even log in through your Facebook account.
- Verify your account: there are several kinds of verifications: personal verification, college verification, organization verification, verification for official accounts (accounts of government departments, social media platforms and famous companies) Weibo master (people link their accounts with their phone numbers and their followers). The orange V, as in the picture above, is for people (like in a case of Beckham), and a blue V is for organizations and companies.
- Create a fan base: creating interesting and useful content attracts Chinese speaking people from all over the world, reaching far beyond the domestic market.
- Post, but also read: Weibo is now one of the most trusted sources of information.
- Use Weibo as an Influential marketing tool. More and more companies and brands are using Weibo as a platform allowing them to connect with their customers on a personal level. For example, Nike has built up a virtual fan base of 800k people.
Many brands have benefited greatly from highly influential celebrities mentioning products in their posts. Here is the list of the most followed people on Weibo:
- Xie Na (xiena): 88,863,172
- He Jiong (hejiong): 82,614,504
- Chen Kun (chenkun): 80,873,729
- Yao Chen (yaochen): 80,488,165
- Zhao Wei (zhaowei): 79,010,664
- Angelababy (realangelababy): 78,591,848
- Ruby Lin (linxinru): 73,526,057
- Guo Degang (guodegang): 67,499,504
- Jimmy Lin (dreamerjimmy): 66,765,834
- Amy Cheung (iamamycheung): 64,540,547
So, why not get started with your own page! It’s a lot simpler than you may think, and all the steps are detailed clearly below in our step-by-step guide.
When you go to weibo.com you will land on this page. As you can see you can filter by popular topics, celebrities, fun topics, check out videos, headlines, and so on.
So go right ahead and click ‘sign up’.
Here you will need your phone number and a password. You have the option to register as a business, but today we will look at how to set up a personal account.
After verifying your information, you should be good to go.
Below is what your Home page will look like. On the right you have the number of followers, as well as your registered name and your level (you have long way to go before becoming a Weibo master!). Also on the right side you can access your favourites, shortcut to the hottest topics, and create group chats. You can also send and receive private messages, which is what the envelope in the top corner is for.
As you can see you can start posting right away in the middle bar. You have various options for your posts, including setting a clock for your publication and voting options, so go ahead and experiment with them. Press Publish when you’re ready to speak to the world.
We published some text and a photo, and here is how it came out:
Weibo is fun not only for posting, but also for discovering the lives of the locals, and seeing what an average day of a Chinese netizen looks like. It is a great way of learning about their daily habits and interests. Or if that sounds a little mundane, you can also have a peek into the luxurious lives of China’s elite.
Weibo is a great tool for marketing, research, communication and more. And now you are ready to explore its ocean of possibilities with a profile of your own!