Tighter blogging restrictions to benefit brands
China – Microblogging in China, the country’s go-to tool for spreading far-reaching, damaging and sometimes inaccurate information, is heading for tighter government controls.
The Chinese government's tightened internet controls on microblogging sites, which requires them to institute real name identification, kicks in on 16 March and hopes to keep a close eye on who is posting, in an attempt to stem rumors being spread through blogs.
But what does this mean for brands on the platform?
“In the short term, it will have impact on the overall engagement level of the users on social media platform; the growth rate of new users will decrease,” Michael Chu, Managing Partner of OgilvyPR Shanghai, said.
He added that in the long run it would create a healthier environment in the long term with less rumors and slander. But while it can help control crisis on social media, brands and companies will still have to be transparent and engage in dialogue with consumers.
Raffi Kamalian, chief operating officer of alivenotdead, said the new regulation is beneficial for brands because now they can find out who their true followers are and actual success they are experiencing on the social platform.
He explained that in the past some companies and brands have created proxy accounts in order to inflate the number of followers and since key opinion leaders already use their real name, it doesn’t affect celebrity endorsements.
With more than 250 million bloggers in China, Ogilvy PR and CIC released a report titled “Crisis Management in the Microblog Era” with findings showing major public crises and scandals erupting with increasing frequency and speed through pervasive use of microblogs.
Compared to a few years ago, discussions on Chinese microblogs have become emotionally charged and the broad demographic of users on the platform means a larger portion of the population not only become aware of the crisis, but also take part in it.
Daisy Zhang, CEO of CIC, with news able to spread in a matter of minutes and seconds, failure to respond to the initial crisis could lead to a second or multiple crises online.
“It’s crucial that companies implement regular, ongoing monitoring of their reputation online so that they can respond quickly to negative sentiment before it’s too late.”
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- Ogilvy and Mather
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