By: Britt Johnson
This week Digital Royalty client Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson kicked off a 25-day worldwide press tour in Taiwan to promote his upcoming action-adventure film, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Amidst planning the social strategy to support his appearances, one hitch became more and more apparent: How will he share his experiences with his Chinese fans?
Due to strict government restrictions, popular American social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are banned throughout the country of nearly 1.3 billion residents. The regulations have spurred the rapid development of native platforms, one of which being Sina Weibo. The Twitter-like website allows users to post short-form bulletins, repost interesting content, and engage in two-way communication with friends.
Weibo currently boasts 250 million registered users, and nearly 80 million posts per day. Despite these statistics, very few American-based brands have taken the opportunity to extend their online influence to China and its surrounding counties. Digital Royalty helped Dwayne launched his Weibo account upon his arrival in Taiwan, joining the likes of other notable users such as Starbucks, the NBA and actor Hugh Jackman.
Several trans-continental e-mails and phone calls later, here are the lessons we learned from creating a Weibo account:
- Content is Key: Just like your English posts, Weibo fans want to connect with the human aspect of your brand. Quality photos and videos can cross the language barrier and communicate messages more effectively than text. Plan to utilize a media-rich content strategy if creating an international account.
- Ask for Help: Traditional Chinese is a complex language. Despite numerous translation tools available online, these methods cannot identify the subtle nuances in grammar and figures of speech. Identify resources that can assist with the translation of posts, and the optimization of brand accounts.
- Don’t be Afraid to Repeat: One look at your Facebook and Twitter insights will tell you that your content is not reaching much of the Chinese-speaking demographic, if at all. Re-purposing messaging from these sites is permissible, given the very small overlap in fans. For example, Dwayne utilizes his Taiwan-specific tweets and posts as material for his Weibo account.
- Acknowledge Cultural Differences: The beauty and challenge behind managing a Weibo account is finding messaging that will resonate with a new and unfamiliar audience. Acquaint yourself with the holidays and notable events that may affect your brand. Finding content that is specifically tailored to their interests will help your account to grow more quickly and accumulate dedicated fans.
- Get Certified: Much like Twitter, Weibo has a verification process for high-profile brands and personalities. Be sure to obtain the badge upon launching an account. Chinese fans rely heavily on the “certified” status. For this reason you will likely see a large spike in followers after Weibo has granted you the badge.
If your brand is seeking a comprehensive international social strategy, I highly recommend checking out what Weibo has to offer. So with these tips, I say, 好運氣. (Good luck!)