The following article was written by Adinah Brown, content manager at Leverate.
China, a country with 1.3 billion people, a country that rules the ecommerce landscape, is also a country with no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube and no Instagram. Sounds sad? Rest easy. While the Chinese may be missing out on the West’s social networks, they have the mother of all social media networks; a platform that allows close to 846 million Chinese to chat, read news, play games, track their fitness status, make voice and video calls, share with friends, shop online and even pay for things both online and at brick and mortar stores! That’s right. WeChat is the all-in-one and number one communications mobile app in China.
With about 60% of WeChat users opening the app more than 10 times each day, We Chat provides a powerful way for businesses to connect with consumers.
If you are a broker doing business in China, you need to be on WeChat.
Let’s start with the very basics.
There are 3 types of WeChat business accounts, all under the category of Official Account:
Subscription accounts: Most suitable for brands that are content-based, subscription accounts focus on information communication. With a subscription account, you are able to broadcast one message per day to subscribers and publish 1 to 6 articles each time. The messages are sent to subscribers’ subscription folder without any push notification.
Service accounts: Most suitable for businesses with large customer bases, service accounts focus on customer service and CRM. With a service account, you are able to broadcast 4 times per month, with 1-6 articles each time. While service accounts offer less messages than subscription accounts, they are more robust, and messages are sent to the friend’s session list. Verified service accounts allow access to 9 advanced APIs, including the ability to create additional apps, such as an Instant Customer Service app and to apply for WeChat Pay.
Enterprise or Corporate accounts: Most suitable for internal communication and management, corporate accounts are not available to the public, nor marketers. Corporate accounts offer staff management functions, like internal chat rooms and resource sharing capabilities. Messaging and business tools of corporate accounts are only available in Mainland China.
How can you apply to one of these WeChat Official Accounts?
The following steps are applicable to the international-market platform of WeChat:
- Gather all the required business information listed under the required documents list.
- Visit the Official Account registration page and fill out your application.
- The application review process may take up to two weeks the status of your application can be checked here using your email and application number.
- Once approved, you’ll receive access to the Official Account Admin Platform, where you can manage your account, interact with users, run marketing campaigns, and track your results.
- Set up your profile from the settings tab at the bottom of the page from the left-hand menu. Choose your profile picture, create your QR code, select your region, and add a company description. You may only change your picture and description up to 5 times per month, so make sure you have both properly edited before saving them.
Now, how do you make the best out of WeChat?
- Take advantage of location-based marketing. When you open an Official Service Account, WeChat enables detection of user’s location.
- Engage with your audience by personalizing content curation and content marketing. WeChat allows your users to self-select the type of content they would like to receive based on a list of keywords.
- Use high-quality media in a variety of formats. Audio messages, videos, photos.
- Leverage WeChat’s gaming capabilities to tie up promotions to trivia or other types of games.
- QR codes have completely changed the landscape of commerce in China. From serving as a payment method to promoting a marketing asset, QR codes are a great marketing tool. WeChat creates a QR code for each official account. Use it to add followers to your account; the moment someone scans your WeChat generated QR code, they become a member of your channel and begin following your content!
- Entertain your audience. Not all content needs to be in-depth. Gossip, a joke, or a funny fact can be a great ways to engage with your audience.
- Post frequently. In WeChat, noise is better than silence.
- Create loyalty programs to turn your WeChat followers into members using geolocation. Then offer promotions targeted by location.
Now that you know the very basics, go out and test the waters. No one said that penetrating the Chinese market was easy, but then WeChat might well be that key, you’ve been waiting for.