Author: Mads Korsæth

Since WeChat is the app that does everything and the most important digital platform in China, one might ask what’s the point of using Weibo for marketing? What makes Weibo appealing to digital marketers and businesses in China.

Firstly, it should be explained that Weibo, which means microblog in Chinese, is a mixture of Facebook and Twitter. As opposed to WeChat, Weibo is a more open and public platform. This openness makes the potential for exposure and outreach greater than on WeChat. In addition, it can be an additional and important channel of communication. The Chinese mostly use Weibo for trend-spotting and entertainment. Thus, as a marketer one has the tools for increasing brand awareness by using a celebrity or a KOLs (or wanghong in Chinese). Weibo is also a good tool to use when gathering information about Chinese customers’ trends and entertainment. Weibo does not have as many users as WeChat does. However, there are 170 million users every day, which is a substantial figure. These users are accustomed to using comment sections as a tool for social interaction. Because of this, Weibo provides a grand platform for communication with customers.

For example, The North Face used a very effective strategy by engaging with users on Weibo. This can be seen when a user posted a picture of a pair of shoes that he wanted to buy for his wife, The North Face responded in the comments by offering the user a discount coupon (see the picture below). This kind of interaction offers an incentive to keep discussing the brand. In another case, The North Face offered a pleasant surprise to everyone who commented on a promotion of their new line of clothing.

The North Face is engaging with customers on Sina Weibo

Tourism New Zealand is another company which has been successful at marketing on Weibo. They hired Huang Lei who is famous for acting, singing, writing screenplays and teaching at the university. He was invited to New Zealand to promote New Zealand as an ideal destination. During his time in New Zealand, he posted on Weibo about his trip. This story got a lot of attention, with half a million likes and more than 1.6 million views. The story even generated the publication of five hundred articles which turned out to be great advertising value to Tourism New Zealand.

In conclusion, Weibo is an excellent platform for increasing brand awareness and connecting with your Chinese customers.  It can certainly be valuable and beneficial in a strategy into digital China.