We all make mistakes.
Especially when it comes to manage a foreign social media channel.
Weibo marketing is very powerful for business and brands, but also confusing. I certainly made my share of mistakes when I just started.
So I’ve put up a check list for all the common mistakes, spend a couple of minutes to read through the points before signing up for a Weibo Business account.
1. Sign up for Weibo in English
Signing up is the easy part, with Weibo English version that are designed for international users, use the following links to download Weibo International:
2. Have a Chinese mobile number
When signing up for Weibo, I strongly recommend to have a Chinese mobile number. Which allows you to enable 2 step authenticity for your account’s security.
Besides, a Chinese number is necessary for many purposes, you can’t go too far without one.
You can also sign up weibo without phone number, Weibo also allows Email address sign up. One thing to keep in mind is that login email cannot be changed!
Always use a secure email address, like firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use an agency, make sure to sign up with your email.
At my company, we made a mistake. We outsourced to a Chinese marketing agency for Weibo account set up, where they used a random employee’s email address. Now we still stuck with this login email, and they can log in to our account at anytime, even after the contract expired.
3. Verified business Weibo account
A verified business Weibo account requires the following documents and 1,000 USD.
Sina has multiple oversea offices in different continent, according to my experience, it is way easier to get in touch with one of the oversea offices by email.
I’ve only in contact with Weibo Europe, their email is email@example.com, anyone knows the contact info for other Weibo offices, please let me know!
4. Pick the right account names and URL to sign up with
Verified business Weibo sign up is easy, but the process of change account name, logo, tag line and profile URL later can be a pain in the ass, if possible at all.
So the best is to pick the right ones to start with.
5. When your brand name is taken on Weibo
If a brand has some degrees of popularity in the market, chances are the name is already taken on Weibo. The easiest is to search the name on Weibo, before sign up.
Many accounts are occupied by the so called Proxy Customers, whom bought products aboard and sell it in China. They will apply Weibo with the brand’s name, so it seems legit.
If this is the case, these accounts are mostly not verified, so they won’t be able to compete with verified account.
If an account hasn’t been active for more than 6 months, you can contact SINA to get it back. Otherwise, if you cannot get your name back, it’s not a bad idea to add the word official in the end.
6. Customize your Weibo account
After successfully registered the verified business Weibo account, it is time to customise! Weibo allows business accounts to customise background and header.
Weibo dimensions 2017 updated
- Background: 1280 x 900px
- Background margin on both side: 150px
- Header: 980 x 300px
- Slider 5: 540 x 260px
The background shows on both sides, leaving the middle to Weibo profile. Many brands utilise the space.
ASOS displays it’s Wechat QR code as part of the background, direct Weibo followers to follow on Wechat (Read more about QR code).
7. Auto reply and keyword reply
If there is one thing you should do after Weibo sign up, it should be set up the Auto reply for DM, which allows customised messages send to new followers and anyone that send a DM
Most brands and influencers would custom a short and sweet welcome greetings, some brands choose to add links to it’s official websites or their current campaign.
Keyword reply is pre-recorded messages when Weibo users send a DM that contains keywords.
if a customer type in ‘store location’, it is safe to assume they are after store locations. Thus the pre-recorded response about store location will send automatically. This is especially handy when followers reach out for customer support questions.
8. Scheduling your Weibo tweet
Weibo allows users to schedule for up to 48 hours.
There are local scheduling tools that allows longer scheduling period for up to 15 days:
Free tool for scheduling posts and comments, allows multiple users and multiple accounts.
Enterprise version available for 10 euro per month.
Free scheduling tool with image database and basic listening function.
There are many IFTTT that connect Weibo with other social media channels, if your business are using other social media, I strongly recommend to check out IFTTT .
9. Management tools
Unfortunately there aren’t so many management tools for Weibo.
10. Connect Weibo with an Alipay account
From live stream to FenSi Tong, from Questions to Lottery, all paid functions requires an Alipay account.
Alipay is extremely useful in China, so even though it is not mandatory when signing up an business Weibo account, there will definitely come a time when it is necessary. Read more about Alipay here.