Just a few days ago social media feeds around the internet blew up with the news that Twitter added a new feature: the ability to quote an entire post without taking up any precious real estate of your 140 characters. Little did they know, Twitter’s “innovative” new function was actually adopted from its Chinese micro-blogging counterpart, Sina Weibo. Often seen as a cheap Chinese copycat of Twitter, Weibo is actually a feature-rich social media platform that goes far beyond what Twitter has to offer.
Many of these features aren’t necessary to a foreign business seeking to market to Chinese internet users, such as in-site pirate games or a feature specifically used to “Secretly Follow” your ex-lover. Outside of these gimmicks, however, exist several valuable tools for social media marketing. Here at KAWO we’ve identified five unique features useful to your social media marketing strategy in China.
Do your followers prefer cats or dogs? Do your followers own cars or take the subway? If you’re trying to get your followers’ opinion on something you can simply run a poll right on your Weibo. The poll will show up in your followers’ timelines as a normal post, making it incredibly convenient to participate in.
Weibo users, both commercial and personal, can claim ownership of a hashtag through an application process on the website. This is particularly useful for businesses, as ownership of a hashtag allows you to control it’s usage as it doubles as a marketing scheme. Weibo also provides the owner with analytics about the hashtag.
Separate original posts from reposts
When you click on a profile on Weibo, at the top of the page underneath the header there is a series of buttons that can filter all of the posts of that persons page. The ability to separate out original posts from reposts makes reposting worry-free–your followers can find all of your original posts at the click of a button.
Have a lot to say? 140 characters not enough for you? Trying to write a book to your followers about how much you love them? Weibo has a special feature that allows you to write long-form posts. The post can be up to 10,000 characters and offers word processing features such as font, font size, etc.
Weibo File Share
Probably the most shocking feature on this list. This feature allows any user to upload any file, from PDF to MP3, even DMG files can be uploaded to Weibo and shared directly to your followers timeline. This has wide implications for any foreign firm seeking to expand their Chinese customer-base, as it could be used for anything from a viral ad campaign to customer education.
As you can see, Weibo is so much more than a heavily-censored Chinese version of Twitter. It’s an ever-evolving social network that can be utilized in any number of ways. This is just a taste of the interesting and innovative features available in the world of Sina Weibo.