1 Publishing frequency
The first question anyone going into the publishing business should ask is: what am I putting out? A weekly? A monthly? A bi-weekly? A daily paper?
A weibo publisher must first answer the same question. We’ve noticed that some brands use their weibo account rather sporadically, posting more than a dozen posts on some days, and sometimes remaining silent for as long as a week - this is hardly the way to win fans.
In the same way a newspaper reader expects to find his favorite paper in the mailbox every morning, a weibo reader likes predictability too. Enjoy the flexibility afforded by weibo, but post regularly, with a well thought-out plan.
Success comes from quality content. Although a weibo presence is meant, ultimately, to help increase sales, its brand-building potential can only be realised with content encompassing a range of topics relevant to the target audience.
So if you are in the high-end fashion business, besides announcing the arrival of latest collections or hot sales, talk about travel, interior design, gourmet food, literature, etc. Appoint a weibo editor-in-chief, who understands the brand equity and has a point of view.
3 Circulation management
The circulation of a microblog should be proactively managed to increase its “subscription” base. Tactics include following and re-posting posts by other popular microbloggers; encourage high-profile fans to re-post and/or comment; inform loyal customers of the availability of the brand microblog and ask them to become a “fan”.
4 Visual impact
One cannot overstress how important art direction and graphic design are for a magazine. When it comes to publishing a weibo, a picture still speaks a thousand words.
The beauty of weibo is that a picture or video can be easily imbedded into a post, as a small thumbnail, which the reader can choose to click and enlarge for viewing. According to Sina, over 70 per cent of posts that gets re-posted have images or videos.
5 Interaction with readers
Interaction with readers has always been valued by editors, who publish and respond to “letters from readers”. Weibo publishers fortunately can engage readers in a more timely manner.
Acknowledge fans by replying to their posts. People love it when they are noticed. Mini polls or Weibo-only incentives are also great tools to engage visitors.
A truly “sticky” relationship will grow out of genuine dialogues, however minuscule, happening on a daily basis.