SINA WEIBO‘A VIRTUALTOWN SQUARE’Our guide to how your brandcan use this platform.
“In a fast-changing and dynamic marketlike China, having capability building strategieson social media has become an imperative forbusiness – whether multinationals or locals.”Booz & Co. – Impact of Social Media in China 2012
What is Sina Weibo?Sina Weibo home page— A Chinese microblogging website that was setup in response tothe censorship of Twitter and Facebook in China.— It enables people to publicly discuss issues (e.g. politics) with alevel of freedom not available elsewhere in the country.— However, there is still strict control with many wordsand phrases blacklisted.— There are over 500 million registered users, and an estimated20 million new registrations per month.— There are roughly 140 million posts per day.— Interestingly, there are 500,000 users on Sina Weibo in Australia.Source: Sina Corp Report 2012 & Sina Weibo 2012
Key featuresUsers can create questions and polls, post photos and videos, as well as creating eventsand inviting friends. They are also able to upload directly via mobile.There is a 140character limitper post, which isroughly 70–80 wordsin English.Companies can createbadges that users canbe rewarded withwhen userscomplete tasks.Celebrities can befound on the‘Hall of Celebrity’(categorised to helpyou ﬁnd them easily).The more hoursusers spendlogged in, thehigher their levelbecomes.Ability to followtrending topics &emoticons by hour,day or week in‘Board of Fame’.
TiersTiers Read postsCreatepostsNumber ofusers allowedto followNumber of usersallowed toquietly^ followSMS Alerts~ CostUnregistered* FreeRegistered 2,000 10 FreeVIP 3,000 3010Y p/monthor 108Y p/yearMembership structureThere are three tiers of membership; unregistered, registered and VIP.*Unregistered users have limited access to posts, they can only view trending topics and some celebrity’s posts.^ ‘Quiet’ following means you can follow someone without them knowing.~ SMS Alerts include birthdays, posts, and security (i.e. when your account is logged in from an unusual location).
Promotional opportunitiesAdvertisingBanners (homepage,login), mobile banners,app recommendations,promoted ads (video,eCommerce, event).Campaign pagesOnline campaign onthe Sina Weiboplatform forinteractive games,voting or submission.Event CollaborationEvent pages with livebroadcast and screen.Great for events, parties,conferences, fashionshows or seminars.
Enterprise Weibo 2.0 – the dashboard for brands— An analytics dashboard that allows brands tocommunicate directly with consumers and track allactivity they do on Sina Weibo.— Allows brands to install custom applications* on theirpage, embed a map and provide contact hours/details,promotional zone (rotational banner and video bannerfor in-house promotion), custom background and design.— The analytics dashboard allows brands to monitor pageand advertising performance, access learning resourcesand manage applications.* Types of apps: promotion page, video page, topic page, eCommerce & third party app development.
4 key rules to using Sina Weibo1. ListenListen to your audienceand competitors, as wellas understand socialtrends and habits toreduce the cultural hurdle.2. CreateInclude relevant content,create conversations tobuild a sustainable brandcommunity.3. EngageContinue to build brandloyalty through, polls,competitions, brandedevents, product launchesand campaigns.4. AnalyseUse Enterprise Weibo 2.0to monitor and control allmarketing activities onSina Weibo.Although strategies used for Facebook and Twitter can be applied when running a page on Sina Weibo,it is important to ﬁnd any cultural nuances your target audience may have.
1. Listen“A Weibo user posted afew photos of himusing a few Durexcondoms as protectionof his shoes from therain. Minutes after thepost was published,Durex’s ofﬁcial account“retweeted” this postto over 100K followersand interacted withpeople who replied.”Rocky Fu - Entrepreneur &Digital StrategistListen to your audience andcompetitors, as well as understandsocial trends and habits to reducethe cultural hurdle.Building a strong communicationfoundation ﬁrst requires you tofollow your fans social trends andwatch your competitors.Think like your target audience.Understanding what your targetaudience like or dislike, how theyrespond to different things will allowyou to post pictures, videos ordiscussions that trend within yourbrand’s community.
2. Create“Every midnight Durex post adiscussion topic and invitefollowers to contribute theirrelevant personal experience.”Meng Shi - Durex Case Study on Sina WeiboInclude relevant content, createconversations/discussions to builda sustainable brand community.Create conversation/discussionthat will resonate with yourtarget audience.Build an online brand community.When interacting with consumers,it is important to have a tone that isrepresentative of your core values.It is also important to keepcensorship top-of-mind.
Getting around the censorship“During the London Olympics, Nike usedreal-time “guerrila” commentary of Chineseathletes and their performances on SinaWeibo. Nike never directly mentioned theathletes or events, but with their mix ofbeautiful graphics and inspiring copy,everybody got the hint.”JEREMY WEBB - Digital Inﬂuence StrategistUse puns, wordplay images or memesto avoid the censors.To get around topic or word censorshipsyou will have to get creative.
3. Engage“Clinique use their brand page topromote products that will speciﬁcallyappeal to Chinese consumers,such as skin whitening cream or fullprotection sunscreen.”Leonie Bulman - Research Manager, Wave MetixContinue to build brand loyaltythrough, polls, competitions,branded events, productlaunches and campaigns.Use competitions, voting/polls,discussions to aid in the development ofproduct design/launches and campaigns.Create appeal with culturallyspeciﬁc content.Consumers build a strong positive bondbetween brand and individual when theyfeel they were part of the decision.
4. Analyse“The host of indexes integrated intoSina Weibo’s new enterprise versionallows brand to have a much moreaccurate and broader view of the trueimpact of their Weibo presence.”Lab BrandUse Enterprise Weibo 2.0 tomonitor and control all marketingactivities on Sina Weibo.Actively monitor how your content isbeing received and what the ‘buzz’around your brand is.Understand your Weibo presence.Adapt content depending onresponses from the Sina Weibocommunity.
Summary— China has a large, growing middle class, with Sina Weibo providing a platformfor more ﬂexible freedom of speech.— Brands can take advantage of Sina Weibo’s fast growth by following the 4 keyrules, and using Enterprise 2.0 to build, monitor and control their presence.— Now is the time to make the most of this platform if your brand is consideringbusiness in Asia.
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