WeChat and Weibo dominate the social media space in China, especially with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google being blocked in the region. The two are pretty similar in terms of their aim of connecting people and making the web a valuable means for engaging and efficient communication, but they also have key differences that set them apart.
WeChat is a powerful instant-messaging platform which includes all-in-one services, like making payments, hailing a cab, making purchases, sending bitcoins, paying utility bills, and more. It was created in January 2011 by Tencent. It’s now the number one communications platform by the Chinese society. It’s also a huge Chinese competitor of Whatsapp. It has over a billion monthly active users that enjoy its mini-programs feature and various functions developed by Tencent and other independent developers. It now has over 580,000 mini-programs in its arsenal.
Weibo was launched in August 14, 2009 by Sina Corporation. This Sina app is another leading social media network where people can create, discover, and share Chinese-language content. People can then publicly express themselves in real time and interact with other users not just in China but in the whole world. This social media and microblogging service is also referred to as the Chinese Twitter. They have this revamped feed that pushes content most relevant to the users. This keeps the audience engaged and stay in the app further. It’s got over 376 million monthly active Weibo users with its features seemingly combining that of Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. Despite its close competition with WeChat, Weibo furthers their company strategies by introducing more live streaming and creating content partnerships with third parties.
Now, let’s tackle the main weibo and wechat difference.
Differences Between Wechat and Weibo (Weibo vs Wechat)
In terms of privacy, Weibo is more open, visible, and fast. On the other hand, WeChat is more relationship-focused and private.
Basic Core Philosophy
Weibo believes that Chinese millennials would increasingly ditch text in favor of richer content in the form of video and other more interactive forms. They also focus on effective information gathering and sharing and engaging users with the most relevant content around.
WeChat strives to be the most transformational mobile service in China. They believe in innovation and invest in creating multiple features to become a true one-stop shop.
Communication Models and tools
Weibo can be accessed using both mobile and desktop. WeChat on the other hand, can only be used on mobile phones.
WeChat focuses on two-way connections while Weibo app is an open social media network which is not as “rigid demand” as WeChat.
Content Sharing Flexibility
WeChat app, as it is more private than Weibo, promotes mainly one-to-one connections. Weibo focuses more on one-to-many connections, and Weibo users can view the activities of other users they’re not necessarily connected with.
Nature of accounts and content positing freedoms
On Weibo, any user can post a feed and attach a long-form content or multi-media. The user relationships are rather asymmetric — users can follow other users and add comments to any feed while reposting. This allows an original feed to easily become a live viral conversation stream.
Meanwhile, WeChat is geared towards two-way relationships. Users can send texts, photos, and videos to their contacts. They can also make a voice or video call.
Relationship with the audience
Weibo is mainly used by the younger audiences– 70% of its users are 30 years old and below. Weibo is popular for communicating news about public figures, news events, celebrities, well-known brands and companies, etc. On the other hand, WeChat’s audience population is more diverse.
KOL (Key Opinion Leaders)
Weibo is preferred by Key Opinion Leaders or KOLS. They’re trusted experts on certain industries with a huge following. They’re authorities in their niche. When these KOLs make recommendations, Weibo users then get more drawn to choosing their recommended products or services. This is not something prevalent on WeChat.
Viral content Generation, Discussions and Stimulations
Since messages and ads are more public on Weibo than they are on WeChat, Weibo’s content can get viral more easily. However, WeChat and Weibo both have the capacity to generate content and open discussions that users can actively take part in. Weibo is just more open and public than WeChat.
Marketing Strategy/ Online Campaigns
Weibo is a great tool to engage mass audiences. That’s why many marketers and businesses maximize the power of this platform. Many local and international brands partner with Weibo to promote their campaigns and boost their social media marketing.
If you want to use WeChat as a marketing channel, you can engage loyal customers through direct messages. You can set up subscription accounts on WeChat to send direct messages like company news, feature stories, and sales information to WeChat users. WeChat content might not get viral easily, but both platforms can be maximized to boost engagement and establish customer loyalty.
WeChat has received around 29% of all the time Chinese users spend in mobile apps. Weibo, on the other hand, has outdone Twitter in terms of worth, surpassing Twitter’s market capitalization at $11.3bn.
Both WeChat and Weibo are social media giants, not just in China but also in the world. Both do have key differences, but they still share the same principle in terms of making users’ social media life fast, easy, and engaging. You don’t really have to choose weibo or wechat since you are free to maximize both.
In the future, we still can expect more transformations from these companies, and we still can anticipate more businesses taking advantage of their marketing potential and more users consistently using these platforms as a part of their day-to-day living.