Friday, 1 August 2014

How to Succesfully Market on Weibo Part 2: Paid Features

by Owain Lloyd-Williams



So, following on from my previous post where I jumped in and tackled some of key points to embark on a successful marketing campaign for Weibo from a content perspective, here’s the promised sequel which looks at its paid features.


Like any social media outlet, Sina Weibo offers up its very own array of paid tools, though these may differ slightly in terms of what we’re used to with Twitter or Facebook. Also, as with any localised marketing campaign, it’s important to ensure that steps are taken to ensure that any outreach or content publication done under these paid features is relevant to Weibo’s user base and your specific demographic from both a cultural and societal perspective, some nuances of which I’ve touched on in some of my previous China articles (see here and here).

1. Fensi Tong (粉丝通)

Fensi Tong (literally “fan connection” or “fan reach”) is a tool which promises higher visibility for the content you post, resulting in a potential spike in followers (or “fans” as they’re known on Weibo). Posts that are published through Fensi Tong appear at the top of users’ content feed on a category relevant basis, and feature quick-follow button which allows users to latch on to your account in no time. This runs of on a cost per thousand impressions (5 RMB per thousand) or cost per interaction basis (with a minimum bid of 0.5 RMB per action), and carries significant value in the sense that content that appears high up in people’s content feeds is gauged as trustworthy and credible by Chinese netizens, and is therefore likely to receive more shares and subsequent account follows.

2. Key Opinion Leaders

Key Opinion Leaders (or KOLs) is a model unique to Weibo that features the involvement of industry experts and thought leaders to post commercial content related to your account. In a similar fashion to content published on Fensi Tong, KOL-forwarded content promises high ROI in terms of shares, visibility and increased followers due to the fact that their accounts are held in high esteem by Chinese netizens. You’ll find KOLs for almost every industry on Weibo, though perhaps the most famous KOL of all is former Google China exec and founder Lee Kaifu, whose 52 million fans and often politically poignant, censorship-bashing posts have often seen him make international news following run-ins with the authorities.

3. Enterprise Account

Weibo offers users a large choice of account upgrades all with varying arrays of perks and features, though any serious attempt at a serious marketing campaign on Sina Weibo should involve the mother of them all – the Enterprise account. Setting up an Enterprise account requires a series of documents including photocopied company registration files and an authorisation letter detailing account management responsibilities, though provides a highly customisable, rich experience allowing you to personalise your marketing activities to a very high degree. Features include video embedding and pinning, personalised banners and backgrounds, multiple links to localised websites and Weibo sub-accounts and a detailed analytics tool and keyword tracker to name a few.

Below is a snapshot of the official Weibo page of Uniqlo, a brand that enjoys huge popularity in China and knows how to run their Weibo account successfully. Their Enterprise account features a background promoting their latest collection, pinned slides and company videos as well as numerous links to regional Uniqlo web pages and sub-Weibo accounts. Their Weibo posts consist of shareable fashion-related content that interacts with various industry KOLs and consumers, and they currently boast over four million fans. The highly-customised account is a prime example of combining great, attractive content with Weibo’s various paid features to great effect, and is an interesting case study on how to market successfully on Weibo.




Photo: bfishadow

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