7 Steps to Weibo Success
Netconcepts Posted on 2012-12-21 – 13:29:11
Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, is a powerful digital communications and marketing channel. Use of this real-time microblogging social technology in China has been unprecedented, and companies have a unique opportunity to use Weibo to reach and engage new audiences in China. Weibo has an estimated 300 million registered users in China. Users cover a broad swath of China’s internet population, including youth, domestic and international celebrities, CEOs, professionals, and media personalities. First developed as China’s answer to Twitter, Weibo has developed its own features that some would argue make it a unique marketing and communications proposition in China, and in many ways a more diverse and dynamic platform than Twitter. Because of these differences, international brands and companies cannot necessarily assume that their Twitter strategy will work for Weibo. Weibo requires its own strategy. For example, 140 Chinese written characters on Weibo can tell a full story, but the same number of characters in English on Twitter gets a sender only as far as a teaser message or a one-liner with a link.
How can a company successfully create a sustainable and results-driven Weibo program for reputation management and marketing in China? Traditional marketing and communications strategies should be the core of a company’s Weibo program, but it should also consider Weibo’s unique features to reach more people and increase audience engagement.
These seven steps will help you develop a successful Weibo strategy for your business in China.
• Follow A company should develop a follow strategy that includes both who the Weibo stream should follow and how it can attract followers. Following other influential Weibo streams is a smart way to increase followers. An organization’s Weibo stream can reward active brand advocates—such as those who continuously engage with the company’s Weibo content—simply by following them back.
• Let the world know To attract followers, a company can promote its Weibo presence using all types of media available to the organization, including owned, paid, and earned media. Promote social media streams on company websites, emails, and blogs, through traditional paid advertising, and by attracting new followers through current followers.
• Content A strong content strategy is vital to the success of your Weibo program. Ensure the quality of your content, and post valuable content at the right times. While developing a content strategy, take advantage of the most frequently shared topics on Weibo—social news and events, helpful information and tips for users or their friends, and humor and interesting news. Tell stories, be generous, and be funny. Organizations can and should take advantage of these topics and integrate them with corporate positioning, business objectives, and communication goals.
• The 1/3 principle A corporate or brand Weibo account must also align with corporate or brand communications objectives—not simply be based on what’s trendy and popular. A general rule of thumb is the “1/3 principle” for content. Divide your content among three main areas of focus: value-added, engagement, and branded or promotional content. Value-added content, such as how-to and other informational articles, provides useful information for users and their networks and can increase shares and exposure for your posts. Engaged content, such as asking your followers questions, encourages users to interact with your stream. Promoted content is related to the company’s branding, products, or events. Reviewing audience feedback will help to fine-tune the content proportions specifically to the company’s strategy and program.
• Posting A company should also decide when it is best to post content on Weibo. A company can develop annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly posting calendars depending on business needs. Prepare and maintain a posting time-line—much like an editorial calendar—and develop and keep content ready in advance to guide daily posts and updates.
• Define a process to respond and engage The goal of an engagement strategy is to guide your Weibo activities with your audience, such as when to share (retweet) and respond to users. Guidelines and management processes can help Weibo operational teams engage with users in different situations while ensuring compliance with legal and company marketing rules.
• Reporting Companies should collect data through continuous monitoring, analyze data for insights and recommendations, and take action based on these insights and recommendations. It is necessary to develop a measurement and reporting system that is in line with your performance indicators as the foundation for continuous monitoring. This system will provide guidance for future improvement through regular review and analyses with an organization’s management team.
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