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Video: Maximising Business Value with Sina Weibo

Commentary

For the video link, please click here

If you are marketing your products in China you’ll have heard of Sina Weibo – the country’s biggest social media network. With an astounding 536 million users it offers huge reach for brands, but how can you use it to drive awareness and engagement with your brand, particularly in a highly competitive market that speaks Chinese?

In this presentation, Sina Weibo General Manager Ken Hong describes the business advantages of Sina Weibo, and how it can increase the visibility of your brand.

Q&A with Ken

Before Ken's presentation, we asked you to send us your Sina Weibo questions. Here are some of the key questions Ken answered.

Q. How can NZ food producers connect with Chinese audiences on SM?
A. For example, Coca Cola sold personalised bottles that consumers could order on Weibo. This kind of marketing could also be used by smaller companies. The key is to have a good story to tell. Will it go viral? Use videos, pictures, events.

Q. How could NZ food producers use Weibo to ensure crisis communication is carried out effectively?
A. Strike a balance between the general NZ Inc story and you own brand story. During a crisis, focus on your own brand story, but tell your consumers how you’re dealing with the wider crisis. It’s also important to have your own brand story because there are a lot of New Zealand brands telling a similar story and you need to give consumers a compelling reason to choose your product / service.

Q. Who can New Zealand companies partner with to make sure their message on Weibo is a good cultural fit?
A. It’s really important to make sure that content isn’t just translated, but is localised for the Chinese culture. Some New Zealand business hire Chinese students to manage their social media in China: they speak the language and understand social media. This is a relatively cost effective method. Other companies use digital agencies – they cost more but will also be able to take a bigger role ie not just crafting messages, but assisting from a strategic perspective and working with key influencers.

Q. Why is the cost of getting a business account verified on Weibo not standard?
A. Verifying an account internationally is a bit more complex. At the moment, this is how rates are set.

Q. How do you measure how effective Weibo is for your company?
A. Weibo offers free back-end metrics for certified business accounts. There are also third party analytics providers for those that want expanded metrics.

Q. We are seeing a continued increase of the use of LinkedIn in China. How do you see the local versions (like Ushi) fitting into the landscape?
A. LinkedIn is definitely fairly popular with Chinese professionals, especially for those who are working with multi-national companies or people who are interested in working for them.

It's also true there are some Chinese players pushing aggressively into this market. These platforms are targeting Chinese workers aggressively and I do think they will give LinkedIn increasing competition. They may have some advantages over LinkedIn in more local talents and lower tier cities.