In the past, when the University of Michigan (U-M) hosted a reception in Shanghai for admitted students and their families, about 80 people attended. Last year, the university used its profile on the popular Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo, to promote the event and 200 people showed up. With 400 million users, Weibo is similar to Twitter.
The U-M's Sina Weibo account has more than 5,000 followers and is part of the institutions comprehensive social media strategy. U-M even has a "full-time Chinese content producer – Zhang Xiaoxi, a graduate of U-M’s School of Information Science – who posts daily in Chinese." When Chinese students asked about Chinese restaurants in Ann Arbor, Sina Weibo was used to poll current students.
Because access to Facebook and Twitter is restricted in China, US institutions are using Sina Weibo as a way to connect and engage with prospective students and alumni. Other US institutions that have an active presence on Sina Weibo include Duke University and Yale University. Duke University has even developed a formal Chinese social media strategy.
How is your institution using Sina Weibo? Does your school have an international social media strategy?
Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.