In this week’s tutorial, our group has discussed some microbloggings in China like Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and Sohu Weibo. Today, I would like to talk about one of the most popular microblogging websites in China—Sina Weibo.
(The logo of Sina Weibo)
Micro-blogging makes it possible for online users to post brief messages, so as to share personal thoughts to anyone or some restricted groups. It is usually less than 200 characters. Users can frequently update their post through a smart phone or other mobile devices (Anamika).
(the image depicts the number of users on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo)
Cao maintains that 76 percent of Chinese online users have a Sina Weibo account. Active users log on to Sina Weibo at least two times per day. Over 130,000 companies have a Sina Weibo account, which includes the top 500 enterprises in the world. Without a doubt, Sina Weibo is very popular in China.
Similar to Twitter, Sina Weibo limits users to upload a maximum of 140 characters in each post. If the bloggers want the others to read their posts, they can use the format ‘@username’. Hashtags are also used to link together similar posts. Unlike Twitter，Sina Weibo uses double hash tags placed at the start and end of the relevant keywords or phrases(Custer). We are able to categorize post content and track the trending topics by means of these searchable keywords.
Another apparent difference between Sina Weibo and Twitter is that Sina Weibo provides more than 400 free emoticons for users to use. Yue notes that emoticons refer to the inclusion of cartoon facial expressions. It is used to express senders’ emotions vividly and directly.
(some emoticons from Sina Weibo)
In addition, Sina Weibo Event enables people to participate in a wide range of events, parties and movies. The event planner can post the event information on the event page and then forward it to their followers. Sina Weibo also has a ‘medal reward system’, which gives users a variety of medals when they ‘retweet’ a certain number of others’ posts (Koetse).
Micro-topic is one of Sina Weibo’s innovative features. Users are able to view the hot topics and commentary for a topic. All comments are presented at the bottom of each post, making it very easy to follow the whole chat. Trending topics are classified into several categories like culture, technology and public posts.
Soulati suggests that Sina Weibo offers the account verification system for its users. An orange ‘V’ badge is for a verified personal account and a blue ‘V’ badge is for a verified company.
Furthermore, Sina Weibo is the ideal way for brands or companies to promote their products in China. Some companies have invited a great number of celebrities for online marketing and promotion. By 2013, there were nearly 130,000 official accounts concerning businessmen, athletes, politicians and musicians (Koetse).
Take Na Li’ s Weibo for example, she is a professional tennis player who gained world No.2 on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. So far, she has 23,370,693 followers.
The following image shows the top ten celebrity endorsers on Sina Weibo. She ranked at sixth place.
(the top ten celebrity endorsers on Sina Weibo. Na Li ranked at sixth place.)
According to Saliba, celebrity endorsement means that brands whose campaigns feature famous people can increase sales through their reputation. Sina Weibo is a platform that has supported this, with 61 percent of celebrities mentioning the product that they endorse in their profile description, and 27 percent of them make posts about their endorsed products twice a day. Therefore, I believe that Sina Weibo is a great channel to reach the wide range of potential consumers in China.
Back to the example of Na Li’s Sina Weibo, she has endorsed seven brands on Sina Weibo including Nike, Rolex, Benz and Samsung. From August to September, the automotive industry always encounters cold season in China. Over the duration of 14 days of promoting the automotive industry on Na Li’ s Sina Weibo, more than 60,000 cars were ordered with sales totalling US$1.5 billion. Among these 60,000 cars were more than 30 brands, such as Benz and Chery. (Xiang)
The video below shows how to use Sina Weibo to get started on your business marketing.