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Boston University’s use of Chinese social media from Weibo to WeChat

If you were at HighEdWeb in Hartford this in October, a number of presentations jumped out. One that really caught our attention was 'From Weibo to WeChat: Boston University's Use of Chinese Social Media Networks' presented by Carol Duan. The presentation was an excellent summary of Weibo / Wechat and what was achieved within the Boston University. Well done Carol.

The subject of how to attract international students is an important one and we have talked before about the importance of using regional social media sites like WeChat. What was really interesting about this presentation were the really practical insights that Carol gave.

For Boston University Chinese nationals account for the largest portion of foreign students. In China, many western social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are blocked. Instead, people use Chinese social media like Weibo and WeChat to communicate with their friends and family.

Weibo Boston University Screenshot

Boston University uses these platforms to engage with a broad audience that encompasses current and prospective students, alumni, parents, reporters and the general public. Carol shared the university’s ground rules for using the Chinese social media sites which include writing content in Chinese and remaining consistent with the university’s main social media channels.

Weibo Ground Rules

Boston University launched their official Weibo account in December 2013 and their WeChat account in October of 2014. Since then, they have accrued over 15,000 followers.

Boston University largely uses Weibo as a main source for news and information such as announcing campus updates, sharing visual content such as videos and infographics and social listening.

While they use the WeChat app, which has over 889 million monthly users, to share original content that focuses on student life and features Chinese students and alumni.

Interestingly, Carol shared that 1 in 5 WeChat posts that the university posts gains more than 100 shares.

The presentation was a fantastic resource for any university who are thinking about launching Chinese social channels with Carol providing information on how to get started, stressing the importance of asking yourself is it necessary, what are your goals, who is your target audience and what’s your budget among other points. Entering another market is never easy and there are many obstacles such as cultural differences and language barriers. The thing to remember is that original and interesting content will shine if you put the time and consideration into it.

Has your university used WeChat or Weibo? Share your tips with us on Twitter on in the comments below.

Carol's 'From WeChat to Weibo' presentation slides are available to download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9x80m52v61njsjc/From%20Weibo%20to%20WeChat.pdf?dl=0 

Tagged: weibo, wechat, China, social media

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