How Small Businesses Can Use Weibo in China (and Make Money)?

If you want to work in China and leverage social media to get the most visibility for your company and products, you must know Weibo. 

What is Weibo ? 

Weibo is originally Sina Weibo because it has been launched by this Chinese tech company in 2009. Weibo literally means « micro-blogging», «  微 » (wēi)means micro/small (same for WeChat in Chinese is Weixin for small message) 博 is from 博客 (bókè)which means blog. Weibo is kind of the Chinese version of Twitter (but in fact, the platform allows wider use services than Twitter).

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Weibo the Perfect Social Media for Marketing in China

Weibo used to be the unique social media platform available in China due to the Great Firewall that pushed away big players like Facebook or Twitter.

If Weibo is more and more discreet in the news, facing the rising stars of social networks like Douyin, Toutiao, etc. In fact, it has been this way since the launching of one of the most powerful and influential social networks in China: WeChat.

However, Weibo is discreet but still growing, firstly in terms of size: nearly 431 million monthly active users in 2018 but also in terms of investment and revenue: the total for 2018 reached 460.2 million dollars which represents an increase of 44% over 2017.

How can small company can leverage Weibo in China ? 

Verifying your account  – Chinese Trust V

In order to get the most out of your Weibo use, your company should seriously verify your account. This may be seen as a time-consuming option, but it allows access to useful features of the platform. 

  • You can register as a local company (if you are working for Chinese company or if you have a business licence for your company in China). This is the easiest process for getting your account verified. The process usually takes around five days and is totally free!
  • Second option is to make your account verified with the help of a distributor, but careful, this can only be done if your trademark is registered in China. This process may be a little longer, around a week. And the fees depend on your distributor.
  • Third option is verifying an oversea business account (this is a tough one!). This may be a long process and a might cost some money to the company. Price is evaluated depending on where your company is established, fees are around 800 $ to 1100 $. All the documents that you will need to provide must be translated in Simplified Chinese. Then, depending on the validity of your documents, you will have more or less a week to wait for your Weibo account to be verified.

Only Verifed Weibo account can advertise

So why bother making your account verified? Like any other social network, it has this little logo (in Weibo it is a small V) that certifies that your account is the account of your company and not a fraudulent account and makes the users gain trust in your company. This can also protect your business from potential fake accounts that might be created.

Other « status » verification? 

More than the « V » verification that can certify that your brand is authentic, Weibo is also displaying some «badges» that can show how active your brand is on Weibo! There are multiple levels of badges, the more active you are, the more you interact with your brand community influences your capacity to win a superior level badge. This feature can also raise trust and loyalty in your followers. 

Weibo has proven in the past that they are able to provide companies with some quality services to improve their performances (whatever the size of the company might be!).

Weibo easily associate to Taobao/Tmall

Weibo is owned by Alibaba and joins the Alibaba Ecosystem, so it is favorable for any Ads linked to a Taobao/Tmall Store

  • Straight to the point! 

For Weibo campaigns, the fact that the maximum capacity of a post is 140 characters is forcing the marketing team to think about what’s the real message, what is the point of the post. They need to create some clear and brief messages that will get straight to the mind of potential customers! 

However, if you really need longer than this, the « article » feature allows you to share content longer than 140 characters, even though these short posts are the most used on the platform.

  • MultiMedia Platform

Weibo can display very useful features that allow companies (and users of course) to enrich their posts with videos (plus: users don’t need to exit Weibo to another platform to watch the video!), links, photos, GIFS, and so on. These are details but for the purpose of marketing campaigns, these can make the post appear more attractive and can more easily catch the eye of users. Moreover, like other Western platforms (Instagram, Facebook) Weibo integrated a survey feature. This is a very useful feature that allows companies to engage users but also to collect data to adjust their targeting strategy.

users don’t need to exit Weibo to another platform to watch the video!), links, photos, GIFS, and so on. These are details but for the purpose of marketing campaigns, these can make the post appear more attractive and can more easily catch the eye of users. Moreover, like other Western platforms (Instagram, Facebook) Weibo integrated a survey feature. This is a very useful feature that allows companies to engage users but also to collect data to adjust their targeting strategy.

Yizhibo app worked with Weibo to integrate the live streaming feature into the Weibo ecosystem. Which is a good way to share meaningful content, and live with customers. You can use it for many different purposes: Question and Answers sessions, « Behind the Scene » of a campaign, special event hosting, etc. But not only if you are working on campaigns with KOLs this can be a major advantage. The live streaming business is booming in China, and Chinese netizens are fund of this feature. It is an ideal way to interact with and engage the audience.

  • Smart Comments 

Like most social networks today, comments are posted as feeds underneath posts. But what Weibo has added is that the comment space is convenient because it gives a lot of freedom to users: it is possible to add photos, videos, and links.

  • One page for the relevant content

Hashtags are able to group similar topic content on the same page, but on Weibo, some algorithm chooses keyword and gather all the content related to the same topics. Users can quickly find the topics that interest them the most and interact with other users, debate, and give their opinion. These pages can be linked to a marketing campaign, and companies can search for content related to the campaign and have feedback from users, and improve their content. Another very interesting aspect of these « micro-topics » pages is that it is possible for companies to share their knowledge about content that is related to their business to increase visibility, credibility, and trust from users. This helps, particularly for brand awareness.

This goes with also with the Board of Fame of Weibo which gathers all the hottest topics. It is possible to get the most of Weibo if you succeed by creating some very relevant and viral content. All these features can be incredibly useful to increase your visibility, but your content must be your priority! Create awesome content, relevant to your target audience, and then promote it!

These are the features you can use for improving organically your visibility, but if you want more, you have different choices in terms of ads campaign.

Different ads strategy on Weibo 

In order to use the right strategy for your ads you need to establish a clear goal, and understand how to reach your objectives: do you want to increase your visibility? Do you want to engage your followers? Gain more impressions? You decide and choose the right type of ad, the one that fits your objectives.

Native Ads on Weibo

  • Hashtags

Weibo makes it possible for you to own your hashtags. Which makes it possible to create these pages we talked about earlier. The hashtag is free but you can still pay for it to be promoted in the trends of Weibo.

  • « Fan Headline »

Fan headlines is a kind of ad that will appear on the top of users feed (users that follow your account). The ad will be pinned with the word « 推广 » (promoted). Because this ad is quick and small, it is important to try to make it attracting and engaging for its users.

  • « Fans Tunnels »

Fans tunnels are very practical, you can choose to promote either your company account or a specific post (like a marketing campaign post). Same as « Fan Headline », it appears as a headline on top of the followers of your company feed. But what’s more, is that you can add a targeted audience that may not follow you, depending on demographic data.

  • Promotion by Search

This works as an SEO digital strategy. You can gain visibility through the search bar. When people will search with some keywords depending on how well you established your strategy, your ad will be on top of the list of the search results.

  • Display Ads 

These are very random ads that appear as a banner on top of the app. 

  • Welcome Screen Ad

This is basically, an ad that will show just before the app opens. It can be an image, or a video and it stays for several seconds. It contains a link that can lead the user to the website of the ad’s company.

What is interesting about Weibo for small companies, in particular, is that it can offer very affordable options to promote your company or campaign. Meaning you can use effective and budget-friendly options to try what suits your strategy.

Weibo KOL Strategy

KOLs are a major trend in Chinese Marketing Activity, they are able to cultivate a community that is following every one of their steps, daily lives, and to some extent what are their consumption habits. So they are one more way of advertising your products. But they can bring authenticity, to your campaign because their followers trust them and their choices. 

There are multiple ways of with working KOLs on Weibo: 

  • You can make them be part of a classic marketing campaign by just talking about it to their community.
  • They can do one of your products review, because their followers trust them, this can convince them to purchase these products.
  • You can sponsor KOL’s posts. You can either send them products, or just pay the KOL to talk about the brand to their followers, you can give them guidelines about how you want the content to be, and they will personalizes it to suit their style and their community.
  • You can organize giveaway, meaning that you give the KOL the opportunity to make his/hers community win some products of your brands. This can also be transformed into a marketing campaign if you agree with the KOL on what making the followers do to win prizes (organizing some photos/videos competition for example). 
  • Making Kols to compete by creating content around their brand and call their community to support their favorite KOL!

To sum up, KOLs are able to bring awareness to your brand by creating various types of content: photos, videos, live streams, texts; and by being able to engage their audience. The price of this is very different from one personality to another and also on the types of content, you want them to work on.

What are the benefits?

All of these strategies can bring a lot of benefits to your company. 

First, because Weibo is a very open platform, it allows you to raise your brand awareness and traffic to your website! 

Gain credibility and improve your brand relationship with customers. This goes by improving the customer services, and with the features of Weibo (comments sections/surveys/…) feedback collection is made easier.  It allows winning customer loyalty.

Because the contact with the client is easier, it made crisis management less of a burden. 

Is Weibo better than WeChat? 

Weibo is a more open platform, therefore more suitable for reaching a wide range of customers. Whereas WeChat is a more intimate type of sharing because content can only be seen by people close to you. But that also means that WeChat is able to create closer relations between their customer.

It really depends on what you want for your brand, in fact, Weibo is better at raising brand awareness because WeChat has a very closed ecosystem. Also, Weibo comes with wider possibilities for advertising and campaign. Weibo is able to get the most in terms of targeting, focused on increasing visibility and optimizing return on investments. Because both the Social platforms have their own advantages, the best idea is to use both and try to get to know both platforms for getting the most out of these two.

We are a Weibo Marketing Agency

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  1. Hi,I’m Crystal

    Wants to do weibo advertisement.
    We are the starter and want to advertise my English programme in China.
    Can you please guide me on how to penetrate the China market?
    Please let me know a quotation.


  2. I am having trouble with weibo app. But when I try and get support it takes me to this page and I can’t seem to find a way to translate to English. Do you provide app support in English?

  3. Hi Weibo team,
    I am from Italy and would like to subscribe to your app. I tried with my phone number but I didn’t get any code
    I tried again a few times, even with e-mail but keeps asking the code
    What can I do?
    I get this message in chinese. Unfortunately I can’t copy it to translate. can you tell me what it means?

    Thank you in advance. I hope you can help me!

  4. good morning how are you?
    I would like to know how I can create an account on weibo, if I live in Argentina. because I don’t appear in the list. Thanks for your time
    Weibo China, do You have a tutorial, how to use?

  5. Thank you. Today, my Weibo is come back for translate chinese to Indonesia although, i can’t sand the videos until now.
    Weibo 李解 actor fan is 爱解少的雪儿​ or 雪儿 evidence of absence writings and wishes written and she discussed in her comments columns of her Weibo with a friend who wears the face of Shinichi Kudo Weibo picture/photo. She wants making love with 李解 until have a child. But, she is just only a fan. Can you talking with 李解 for becareful with her. After that, i sand the photos about her. I take from her Weibo. I want her inside to the jail or Phsycathric Hospital
    I have report about fan of 李解 is 爱解少的雪儿 make trouble with her Weibo photo in her profile photo. She is only fantastic fan not 李解 girlfriend. Can you tell to her for change her profile Weibo photo. I sand you Weibo photo of her is a drawing not photo and once a photo with the same object, it’s very different. 李解 not like and love her. She is just only fan.
    This’s real photo. Look at the head of them not near head by head, but so far. Tell to her for change. She told in her e-mail impolite to me, she told me, I am bitch so bitch. I am not bitch. I work for Yamaha Music as a Violin Teacher and i told to 李解 for as a future wife. He blocked my weibo for not fight with her. Can you help me? Thank you.

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