Selling in China or thinking about it? These 5 reasons will help you understand why it is essential to have Weibo as a key part of your marketing strategy.
China is hot right now. As consumer spending growth dries up in most western markets, businesses are increasingly diverting their focus on enticing the highly-prized Chinese middle class. There are now over half a million foreign businesses in China, many of them competing for a share of Chinese consumer’s wallets.
But with such intense competition in China, how can small or medium business make any headway against the deep pocketed corporations and well established local businesses? There’s no silver bullet, but Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-Facebook hybrid, should be in the mix for anyone who’s serious about wooing customers in China.
1. Your target market is using it
Since launching just three years ago, the number of Weibo users has soared to more than 350 million. Although that’s only a quarter of China’s population, it’s the highest educated, highest earning, urban Chinese middle class, who are most likely to buy foreign products such as yours.
2. Chinese consumers expect businesses to be on Weibo
A good number of advertisements in China these days promote a Weibo address in addition to a web address. In a Sina report summarizing user behaviour, 56% of Weibo users follow a business on Weibo, following an average of four businesses. 50% of Chinese consumers believe Weibo is a way to make complaints to a business, and 55% have participated in a conversation on Weibo about a foreign brand in China.
3. Chinese consumers will trust you more
Chinese people trust what they read on Weibo more than the state-controlled newspapers, television and radio. The ease at which people can share their thoughts about a brand, makes it an extremely transparent medium which has led to 95% of Chinese trusting a brand more if they see it on Weibo.
4. It’s the best value market research you’ll find anywhere in China
While Weibo isn’t a substitute for engaging a professional market research firm in China, it does give you real time and widespread insights into what Chinese consumers think about you, your industry, competitors and even partners who sell your products.
5. It can be a cost effective way to tell the masses great things you’re doing
Like any social media, a well thought-out campaign or promotion can spread quickly through your target market. Cash flow poor small businesses can get more bang for their buck than other marketing methods. It is not uncommon to have tens of thousands of comments and forwards for popular Weibo posts, so if you come up with something good, it will be seen by a lot of perspective customers.
That should give you enough to get started. China is a huge market brimming with opportunities, so make sure you’re fully utilizing Sina Weibo and approaching it with your best foot forward.
About the Author: Mark Tanner is the founder of China Skinny, a service helping western businesses better understand Chinese consumers. He has been in the marketing game since 1998 in North America, Europe, Australasia and most recently, China, with a short break in Africa paddling down the Nile. His company China Skinny provides a free weekly newsletter giving insights into Chinese consumers. Subscribe at chinaskinny.com