Some Western companies are still reluctant to use Weibo, but here are three foreign brands that are embracing China’s popular microblogging platform.

Weibo is a Western brand’s entrance into the other side of the world, a ticket into social networking and connecting with the Chinese market. But many Western brands have been reluctant try out Weibo—China’s popular social networking platform that is a combination of Twitter and Facebook.

Many brands in the fashion industry, though, have embraced Weibo, and are engaging loyal and potential customers on this free social media platform. Here are three engaging campaigns by Western fashion brands that are finding success on Weibo right now.

1. Play with colors

Fendi asked its Weibo followers to vote for their favorite color in one of its new handbag collections.

Fendi asked its Weibo followers to vote for their favorite color in one of its new handbag collections.

The Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi recently launched an interactive campaign on Weibo, Fendi Play with Colors, featuring their latest handbag collection called “Crayons.”

Fendi asked Weibo users to vote for their favorite color in the collection via the brand’s Weibo page. The campaign encouraged the brand’s followers to forward the campaign to their friends and to vote. At the end of the campaign on Sept. 19, Fendi will give four participants a handbag from the new collection valued at RMB 1,500 ($245). According to Fashionbi, a digital marketing optimization company, the post that asks followers their favorite color from the latest Fendi collection has generated 3,840 reposts and 1,495 comments in one week. Another post during the campaign highlighted the color blue and generated 205 reposts and 66 comments, which reached 884,073 Weibo users.

Some of the campaign’s results indicate how important it is for Western brands to have a presence on Weibo and how simple it can be to start engaging. Since Fendi started its campaign on August 2, the brand’s activity increased by 44 percent. What is most remarkable is that activity in terms of reposts increased by 536 percent—up to 4,547 reposts—in a little over three weeks. If you didn’t think the campaign was successful yet, let’s take a look at the number of followers: Fendi’s followers increased by 7,301 in just over three weeks, an increase of 255 percent. The average number of active followers was up 550 percent to 43 active followers per day.

2. Footprints

Coach's Weibo followers can win a luggage tag if they provide the company with their contact information.

Coach’s Weibo followers can win a luggage tag if they provide the company with their contact information.

American luxury leather goods company Coach, Inc. has just released campaign in China called Coach Footprints. The campaign encourages any of Coach’s Weibo page followers to provide their contact information for an opportunity to win a luggage tag, valued at RMB 500 ($82). Coach randomly selects one lucky fan every day and posts the winners on the brand’s Weibo page. Since the launch of campaign in September, reposts have increased by 13 percent and user comments have increased by 50 percent. Fashionbi’s analytics show that the brand’s followers increased by 157 percent (7,358 followers) in just five days. The campaign is not only a great way for the brand to connect with their fans and followers, but it also provides the brand with a way to create their own customer relationship management (CRM) system in China.

3. Mid-autumn festival

IWC's campaign focuses on China's Mid-Autumn Festival.

IWC’s campaign focuses on China’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

High-end Swiss watch company International Watch Co., also known as IWC, has created an innovative Weibo campaign that focuses on China’s Mid-Autumn Festival. The campaign, The Most Stunning Moon, is encouraging participants and Weibo followers to follow the brand’s Weibo page and share a photo of the moon with a caption. The campaign will last until September 19, and IWC will select three winners with the most beautiful photo and caption to win a Mid-Autumn Festival surprise gift.

The campaign is a clever way for IWC to show that they care about Chinese customers and that the brand is aware of the different festivals and events that take place inside of China. So just how receptive and engaging have the followers been with this campaign? Since IWC’s first post in mid-August, the campaign has generated 137 reposts and 41 comments, which is quite strong considering the total number of Weibo followers on IWC’s page is 39,694. Though IWC’s Weibo page is still new, it’s growing, according to Fashionbi’s analysis.

These three brands have used creative and fun techniques to encourage engagement on Weibo. No matter what type of brand you are, there is opportunity to create awareness in China. There is no secret or recipe to success on Weibo, but it starts with activating a creative campaign that prompts uses to engage with brands. Give Chinese consumers a reason to start engaging with your brand, even if you don’t have a presence in China, and chances are they will start to pay attention to your products.

[author] Courtney Gerring works in digital PR at Fashionbi, the world leader in business intelligence for the fashion industry. Fashionbi enables smart decisions about the marketing of fashion and luxury brands by forecasting, analyzing, and reporting their performance and client perceptions in 90 countries. [/author]

(Photo by Cedric Sam via Flickr)

Posted by Christina Nelson