No need to remind you that China is a growing market, especially in the Higher Education field.
So, to be present on a Chinese social network was kind of an evidence for HigherEdMe. The real struggle was to take the first step.
China has its own social networks and strict policies about who can advertise on them.
First steps on Chinese social networks
With the help of some native chinese speakers that were present in the team for a short period time, we explored some of them :
We created personal accounts for all of these social networks without too much difficulties. You just need a mobile number and understand Chinese of course. We had to adapt our habits on Zhihu and Douban because advertising on them is forbidden and they are really proactive in suspending accounts that break the rules.
Our goal was to find a way to launch promoted posts on these social networks. We had a choice between Wechat and Weibo to do so. We chose to try our luck on Weibo, simply because they are open to foreign companies unlike Wechat that requires a Chinese bank account to create a certified advertising account.
Some facts about Weibo
Weibo is a microblogging platform with posts limited in character quantity, and used monthly by 313 million of users and 90% of them use mobile phones to access it..
With so many users, Weibo cannot be overlooked if you are considering the Chinese market.
Our first tweet, oops I mean our first BoKe 博客 !
Similarly to Twitter, on Weibo you have your followers on one side, the accounts that you are following on the other, and most importantly you can tweet/post about whatever you like, add hashtags, picture(s), external links or video content.
Like Facebook, Weibo offers more interactions possibilities between its users than Twitter. The posts can be commented on, you can manage contests and make your followers win prizes.
But the main goal that Weibo users have is getting trending news, and second is following interesting content*.
Our first post:
The path to being certified for advertising
Weibo, despite the fact that it is a more open social network than the others, it’s not that simple to create an advertising account.
To create an advertising account, you have to be certified, and to be certified you have to pay 800£ and to have a certain amount of documents translated into Chinese by an official chinese translator.
Weibo delegates all of this to a London agency that certifies European accounts.
Anyway, we managed to get certified and to credit our advertising account with Yuan.
Our first promoted post
Our first advertising was about studying abroad in Paris. We are a French Start-Up, the first destination that we talk about must be Paris, of course! Another topic that we prioritise in our post (promoted or not) is that HigherEdMe is different from a study abroad agency. For chinese students, this topic is very important. And there are more and more of them to make the choice of going abroad by their own means.
I am know able to set up a promoted post on Weibo by myself, select specific interest, group age, and limit the daily cost of an ad. However I still need help on the content of the advertising of course, strangely I didn’t manage to learn chinese in one month.
I must admit Weibo is a really amazing social network to my french eyes and very rich in possibilities.