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The following guest post is courtesy of Adinah Brown, content manager at Leverate.
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What WeChat can do for your brokerage, is similar to what a protein shake will do for your body; supercharge energy levels and provide extended power. But unlike the protein drink, it does this through the power of integration.
WeChat essentially offers a complete funnel eco-system. The marketing messages of the acquisition process lead to a platform who’s external interface is the same, but also utilizes the full range of features available through WeChat to facilitate registration and payments. A client’s entire interaction with a WeChat integrated broker means never leaving the eco-system, dramatically simplifying their experience, whilst heightening the conversion and retention rates of the broker.
The savvy integration of WeChat, makes the interface an ongoing source of envy for its western counterparts. Imagine an app, that effectively roles into one Paypal, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, your bank account, your online supermarket account and your identity card – and that’s just at its most basic. For retail brokers, the value of WeChat is immeasurable as it provides extended power and reach in numerous spheres of operation.
A broker applies for an official account through which it is able to operate a wide variety of marketing activities. The most common is that of creating interest based groups, so that for example, a broker will create groups for users with special interests, be it “fundamental analysis” or “EUR” and then post customizable content that is relevant to the particular group. This ensures that segmented audiences are only presented with relevant marketing content that addresses their trading interests. Another approach is by developing your broker’s account as a knowledge center, as users perceive your account as a source of professional leadership, they will build trust in your brokerage and continue to access your account as an information resource.
Similar to social media, marketers should aim for frequency and high engagement to make the biggest impact. Often a marketing team will post very frequently, with relevant messages on upcoming events “We’re going to make a seminar in Shanghai”, or even better are real time events “We are launching a new product today”. Like any social media tool the focus is on engagement. Brokers have been known to post interactive activities or amusing games that are embedded using third party apps based on HTML5. This allows marketers to simultaneously send out highly engaging content, reach out to more people and gain more exposure. A WeChat API can also be incorporated to provide a chat-robot, so that a broker’s sales team can assist leads with any question that they may have.
The rules of engagement are simply not the same as those in the west, but for most medium sized, B2C focussed brokers, are more geared towards capturing interest, through humour or emotion and forming a community, rather than ensuring messaging consistency and relevance. Posts are therefore off-topic where it’s not uncommon to post jokes and celebrity gossip. Considering that WeChat exposes your brokerage to an audience of millions, who individually will spend more than 5 hours on WeChat every day, according to Aki Ying, Leverate’s Senior Marketing Associate in Shanghai, the intent should be about grasping the moment. “Take advantage of those short moments at work, where a user is glancing at the updates in their WeChat feed. It’s at this point that your brokerage has the chance to make some noise. Eventually, when the day comes that they want to know more about trading forex, your brokerage may be the first contact that they think of.”
The marketing messengers sent out by the broker, effectively become the gateway for which a user enters the marketing funnel and commences the registration process. For example, a broker may share a picture with a QR code, the trader will then extract the QR code which will send them via a link to the broker’s landing page, effectively launching a trader into the broker’s acquisition funnel. Or alternatively, a user may engage in a topic of particular interest, further pursue the topic, be it the value of the USD or the CHF by going to the broker’s third party web application and checking the trading charts, and from there it’s just a quick step to the platform to place a trade.
There is no need for a lengthy registration process, where the client needs to fill out their personal details and credit card numbers, just as it cuts out the ongoing exchange of documentation. The enhanced integration addresses all of these issues. As soon as the client submits their request to trade, all their data held on the WeChat Open ID, or the open graph (auto logins for leads), is automatically transferred to the broker. With an additional application this information can automatically enrich the information fields of the broker’s CRM. This effectively brings both acquisition and registration together, by the user submitting just one click of approval.
Brokers have the choice of either creating a WeChat integrated trading platform, or more easily purchasing a white label through which they can establish a trading platform with their own logo. A returning trader does not need to input a username ID or password, their WeChat ID is instantly recognized so that the user is logged in automatically. From one WeChat ID account a user can set up multiple trading accounts, allowing them to easily flip between trading on a demo, a guest or real account.
Whilst on the WeChat feed, a trader can receive notifications from the broker, advising the trader of market developments that he may want to respond to, or if their account may be approaching a margin call. The trader simply responds to the notification, which directly transfers him to his personal trading account from which he can act on the tip-off. However, the synthesis with marketing objectives gets even savvier than this; a trader, on being notified that he is currently in a winning position, by let’s say 500Y is able to extract the QR code of this message. The trader can then choose to brag or wizen others to his win by sharing the QR code on his personal page or in a chat group. Friends, seeing the post on their personal or group feed can than in copycat-style extract the QR code and execute the same position in the hopes of winning similar gains.
From a regulation perspective, the trading platform is also designed to enhance the KYC of the registration process. The facial image used in the Trader’s WeChat account, can be picked up by the broker via the trading platform. The image is then automatically analyzed for facial consistency with facial image records held by China’s central government database. The broker then approves or rejects the client based on the credit history information sent from there.
Playing a significant role in this integration ecosystem is WeChat Pay and WeChat Wallet, where users store their bank account or credit card details to facilitate payment to online stores, real world vendors and peer to peer.
WeChat Pay along with its industry competitors, have managed to change the face of finance in China. To transact a payment, a person merely hovers their phone over a QR code to scan a hashtag. This has turned China into a cashless society, where the nation’s millions of app users go through their day without ever having to pull out plastic cards, let alone “prehistoric” cash.
Likewise, making a payment on a WeChat integrated trading platform, requires no additional steps, other than simply submitting the purchase order. By this stage of the user experience, the Open ID has been able to transfer client data between the broker’s public official WeChat account and the applications opened through WeChat by the client. In this process the client’s identity is established, the client’s credit history is verified and their financial transaction details have been received. Sounds amazingly seamless? Well, we promised you it would be.
This high level of seamless integration has been made possible due to the wide scale adoption by millions of just one master app. But what makes this all the more incredible was the ability of Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, to successfully convince China’s distrustful masses to connect their financial details to the app. Not an easy challenge, they managed to do so with a combination of their already familiar and trusted brand name, by applying a robust malware security system and also providing sophisticated password authentications, which have so far included, voiceprint and fingerprint authentication.
Whether this could ever become a global day to day norm seems unknown, if not unlikely. But if this WeChat phenomenon teaches you anything, it’s never, say never.