DiffIt was in 2014 when China’s version of Twitter, Weibo, lost momentum when a large part of China’s population placed their focus on WeChat. WeChat provided person-to-person communication and soon, Weibo was lagging behind in terms of technology. Weibo’s initial public offering was met with little excitement and just when everyone was quick to discount the Chinese microblogging site, the return of Weibo happened.
The return of Weibo is due to reignited user growth with its typical monthly audience reaching up to 340 million people and its stock market value rising above $16 Billion in May of 2017. Weibo went after social media services previously ignored by competitors. Partnerships with cheaper smartphones in order to cater to a larger audience is also one of the major attributions to the return of Weibo.
Weibo’s goal was to provide entertainment to their users. And so, the return of Weibo started when they began tailoring feeds based on user behavior. They also partnered with hundreds of local celebrities & TV stations. They even partnered with police departments to provide a lot of content to their users. Inspired by the style content marketing in Hong Kong, Weibo focused on creating stories. Different users enjoy these stories. By infusing their app with content that their users are looking for, Weibo got their momentum back.
Weibo’s partnership with Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces proved to be a great source of revenue for Weibo. Alibaba purchased 18% stakes in Weibo in 2013 and promised to bring in no less than $294 million in revenues to Weibo. Their partnership focused on Weibo bringing in the advertisers and Alibaba being the e-commerce partner. Weibo was in charge of content, even taking note from content marketing in Hong Kong and other countries to keep their audience and advertisers happy.
Return of Weibo & Luxury Brands
Luxury brands, who were previously focused on content marketing in Hong Kong, saw the opportunities offered in China. And while some luxury brands are still hesitant about the outcome of user-generated content, they know that it is worth the risk. Luxury shoppers in China want to a better relationship with luxury brands. The best way to reach out? Through social media, specifically Weibo.
Kantar Media reported that in the past five years, China has produced social media influencers giving power to “regular” folks with a large following. Luxury brands often choose Weibo due to the fact that they provide a more transparent ecosystem. Weibo’s transparency is the main reason why luxury brands choose to share their content on the site.
Weibo’s strength can also be found in their digital campaigns for luxury brands. Luxury brands saw the opportunity in Weibo’s numbers. With over 55.67 million fans and 13.6 billion feeds, luxury brands saw the opportunity. Luxury brands saw the many digital influencers’ authority over the China market. With a closer interaction with the fan base, Weibo’s digital influencers know what they are looking for and what speaks to them. Weibo is able to provide data that is relevant for luxury brands and what can help them succeed.
Weibo is also an open platform that gives a bigger opportunity of information sharing. It also gives way in raising of public awareness towards a brand. Their audience is also responsive and receptive to Weibo’s campaigns. Two luxury brands who have successfully captured the audiences in China is Chanel and Gucci. Both of their content strategy on Weibo garnered not just an increase in awareness but also in sales.
And with that, the return of Weibo is only beginning.
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