Brescia uses Chinese social media platform to reach students

March 4, 2013

London, ON – Brescia University College reaches out through the Great Firewall of China by using the Chinese social media site Sina Weibo (www.weibo.com). This initiative has helped Brescia to engage with prospective students, current students, and their parents. The overall goal is to increase international recruitment, retention, and student satisfaction for Chinese students.

Though popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked in China, it is still possible to reach this demographic using social media. Brescia decided to focus attention and resources on the widely popular social media site, Weibo. Launched in 2009, Weibo is unique to China and hosts over 400 million users  80% of whom are university students. This micro blogging platform is a hybrid between Facebook and Twitter. Users interact in a Twitter-like fashion using hashtags, a 140-character limit, and through sharing hyperlinks. Much like Facebook, Weibo also features an instant messaging system and the ability to do longer blog posts.

Brescia launched its Weibo account in September 2012, with help from Rongjing Ma, a current fourth-year international student from China, who is studying management and organizational studies at Brescia. Ma translates, exchanges, and facilitates conversation to users in China as well as current Chinese students at Brescia. “Rongjing takes initiative to develop conversations rather than pushing information,” says Web Developer Dan Bashaw, who leads social media at Brescia. “She has been a contact person for prospective students and parents in China who are curious about her experience.” He adds, “Weibo has also been a great tool for connecting with current Chinese students at Brescia. They are more comfortable in asking questions on Weibo about campus events. We have seen more engagement from these students as a result.”

Brescia University College is a student-centered community that encourages women to participate actively. “Our Brescia Facebook page is a great way to connect with students and provide current information in a forum that is familiar to them,” says Marianne Simm, Director of Student Affairs at Brescia. “The launch of Weibo is a way to provide our Chinese students with this same opportunity.” Brescia continues to grow participation on Weibo, with 223 followers to date.

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For more information please contact Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer, at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 orcolleen.aguilar@uwo.ca.

Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,275 women registered as either full or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room athttp://www.brescia.uwo.ca/media/index.html