China social media marketing is deeply misunderstood and underestimated, especially by overseas digital marketers. It is a lot more complicated and tedious compared to the conventional digital marketing. For instance, registering for an official account on the Chinese social media platforms – Weibo and WeChat – requires a lot more work compared setting up a Facebook business page. In this article, we will be addressing the common myths, allowing you to understand China social media better.
Myth #1 – I can easily reach out to the Chinese audience by having a Weibo account. Account verification is secondary.
That is a huge mistake. Other than providing brands with credibility, Weibo verification drives higher engagement rates as users are more receptive towards advertising campaigns run by official Weibo accounts. It is important to ensure that all your digital channels have been verified. This verification process is only required in China and businesses outside of China might not know this.
The verification process is very tedious and daunting. You would have to go through the trouble of producing all sorts of documentation and it takes a very long time to get the approval from the Chinese government. The Chinese digital platforms help to mitigate this problem by authorizing a few overseas agencies to provide verification services to businesses outside of China.
In 2017, IH Digital has been appointed Weibo’s official agency in Southeast Asia. The partnership allows IH Digital, a Digital Marketing Agency in Malaysia, to provide Sina Weibo advertising solutions and Weibo account verification services to businesses outside China. These services will be provided via IH’s offices located throughout Southeast Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and The Philippines.
Myth #2 – WeChat and Weibo are both social platforms. I don’t have to include Weibo as part of my China Digital Marketing strategy.
China’s digital landscape is unique and very different from the global digital landscape. There is no direct comparison between the Chinese social media platforms and the conventional digital platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Evolving from what was initially a microblogging platform similar to Twitter, Sina Weibo has since developed into a fully-integrated platform for content aggregation and distribution. With over 600 million users as of 2017, Sina Weibo is one of China’s largest social media platforms where users create, share, and discover Chinese-language content.
WeChat is similar to WhatsApp as it is a cross-platform instant messaging application. However, WeChat is commonly mistaken as a social platform as its “Moments” section is very similar to Facebook’s timeline. In light of this, Weibo should be the focus in your China social media marketing strategy, not WeChat.
Myth #3 – I am not getting a high engagement rate on Weibo. Does it mean that my campaign is failing?
Weibo and Facebook users differ in their engagement behaviours. The average engagement rate for Weibo campaigns is lower than Facebook’s and it is a known fact that only Chinese celebrities and KOLs (key opinion leaders) are getting the likes from the Chinese social media users. To determine the success of the Weibo marketing campaign, the judgement is made based on the number of impressions garnered.
IH Digital has been managing the Weibo page for Siam Paragon, a world-class shopping complex situated in Bangkok, Thailand. By producing engaging content and buying ads to reach out to the Chinese audience, the top posts garnered over 100,000 impressions. If you were to rate the page based on the typical Facebook’s standards, it would be rated very poorly as the engagement rates are considered low. However, the Weibo page is successful in connecting with its social media fans, helping Siam Paragon to establish its current position as the most popular shopping destination for Chinese tourists.
Start Planning your China Social Media Marketing Strategy!
IH Digital offers a range of China social media marketing services from content creation, account verification, to Weibo advertising. IH Digital’s key clients include Siam Paragon, Bangkok Airways, Jin Air, Marina Bay Sands and Terminal 21. Drop us a message today!