With the use of a public account on WeChat, marketers have a unique way to engage with customers and fans of the brand. This mobile chat app was only launched in 2011 and already has more than 300 million users. Not only in China, but already in 30 countries worldwide.
Information about how to use WeChat as a marketer is still limited on the Internet. We have made a collection of the best blog posts we could found to launch your WeChat public account and marketing on the increasingly popular platform.
How best to Market on WeChat?
First Off, You Need To Attract Followers
To be successful on WeChat, you need followers. Unlike some channels, most WeChat users won’t find you through a search; it’s all about your QR Code. WeChat allows you to simply create a QR Code allowing WeChatters to do a quick scan to become a fan. Without overdoing it, ensure customers can find your QR Code: post it on your website, on your packaging, social media, in your store and on your advertising – if it’s easy to scan. WeChat also has an API that allows you to integrate the service into mobile apps to attract followers. Be aware that consumers who follow a businesses on WeChat are letting them into their inner circle, so you need to give them a good reason to sign up. You can offer coupons, prizes, entertainment, pictures, WiFi access, POS promotions, VIP treatment or support. Get creative. WeChat has some handy features such as finding other users close by, or sending a message in the bottle to random users, as you’ll see in some of the success stories below.
Help Your Followers Love Your Brand and Act upon it
Once you’ve got the followers, you can send communications to individual users or specific groups. It’s a good idea to tailor your messages to make them relevant and personal. News, coupons, offers and promotions, VIP membership, entertainment and general pieces of interest all work well. Amongst the mass of people in China, Chinese consumers like to feel exclusive, especially for luxury brands, and WeChat allows you to create exclusive clusters for VIP customers. It can also provide a useful forum for research focus groups. Soon brands will be able to offer customizable menus on their WeChat pages to allow shopping and other features such as recommending close-by
shops. Watch this space.
- Define the role of WeChat in your brand’s digital ecosystem
- Define your content strategy
- Promote your WeChat QR code
- Attract as many followers as you can
Overview on WeChat
One of the very important reason is that WeChat is quite funny, especially when used for marketing. It could become more attractive than weibo and branded webpages. The reasons are listed:
- Information could be sent to specific consumer, from which receivers could feel kind of special treatment. Just like a conversation between brands and consumers
- Information is more precise and receivers get it spontaneously
- The interface has nothing except for marketer’s information and users’ finger. This is very essential when users are tired of overwhelmed ads on websites
- It is free
- Rich media enables the marketing to be quite high-end
- Combined with locations, you can never imagine how much fun could be discovered
- How can you realize those fun mentioned above? Just make others interested in your account and update the message regularly
In fact, the real marketing on WeChat started last August when WeChat public platform was launched. On this platform, verified accounts have more choice to send message on their followers’ cellphone.
And the basic methods to take use of WeChat are still based on the 5 function of WeChat. In another way, with these 5 functions, you can also make amazing campaigns. Now let’s see what are the pros and cons of these 5 methods.
Should company really intend to cultivate its Weixin mobile community, here comes my little suggestions:
- Treat these connections superbly nice, including responding to their specific needs, for they are very likely to be your loyal fans and customers
- Watchful of your message sending frequency, always less is more and once a day is sufficiently enough; otherwise your connections would delete you fairly easily
- Content wise, always succinct, saucy, and crispy. Remember if Weixin’s public account is more apt to solidify your customers’ bond and adhesiveness via the mobile conduit, the quality of your fodders always matters the most.
Weibo Is an Open Platform (Keyword: Content Push)
You follow one user and you get to see all the content she posts. You would be able to comment but you normally do not expect an immediate response. You are demonstrating an opinion toward that particular content post; not exactly a two-way conversation yet. Any comment is open to every user and any of them are allowed or able to respond to yours as well.
From a brand perspective, you are distributing whatever content you feel is relevant for your target customers. It’s something that your audience feels is useful and worth spending time reading or digesting. You may not hear from them right away, but if you wish to trigger some feedback or response, some simple sweepstakes are in the plan. Imagine if any customer is writing negative feedback toward your brand; it is also open to the public so your brand response has to be intelligent to ensure it does not backfire.
WeChat Is More of a Closed Network (Keyword: Conversations)
Remember how you used to have a text conversation with your friend via SMS? Now we put them all into one consolidated and free-of-charge platform. Of course the current WeChat provides more than just one-to-one and group chats but also has text/image sharing features available as a content push to your friends. This is a much more intimate relationship as conversations are two-way and personal. You do not get to see any third-party conversation.
Again from a brand perspective, if a user wants to connect with the brand and initiates a conversation, it comes from more than just sharing their thoughts or love toward the brand. It must be something requiring the brand to address immediately or follow up on. Therefore, brand marketers need to ensure this is beyond a marketing communication tool but also a brand customer service platform. You do not want to frustrate your customers by leaving an impression of ignorance. If you do not have sufficient resources to answer the user requests, think twice before you open a brand space there. Another opportunity to use WeChat is to leverage the benefit of exclusivity. Users need to become your brand’s friends in order to receive some sort of privileged information or benefits and therefore feel more connected and engaged with their “beloved” brands.
Insights about Wechat Marketing
Rumors have it that China’s monopolistic telecom service providers are working out a plan to impose charges on the use of Weixin, with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology saying “it is possible that telecom operators will be allowed to impose fees on WeChat for signaling channel usage”.
The telecom service providers say Tencent should pay for taking up bandwidth and generating excessive data flows for the applications it has developed and operates, which sometimes cause traffic jams on the Internet highway.
Given the huge number of Weixin users (about 300 million), complaints against the three State-owned telecom giants have been rising not least because of their poor service and hidden charges. The common streak of the complaints is: Since customers have already paid telecom operators for the data volume needed to chat (through text or voice), why should they be charged a second time if telecom service providers are eventually allowed to collect fees on the use of Weixin?
Clearly, people spend a large proportion of their mobile device time on apps like Weibo, WeChat and Mobile QQ. Be it Android or iOS, these three apps have secured a place in the top five and together account for a substantial amount of activity on the smartphone. Connectivity in the form of enhanced instant messaging is a key need in Chinese smartphone users’ lives.
Chinese internet giant Tencent is planning to integrate its popular messaging service app WeChat with e-commerce, its regional executive said on Monday.
In a concept video clip shown at a forum on branding and innovation, people can interact with their friends via the service WeChat, and buy goods, pay bills at a restaurant or even complete transactions via the simple mobile app.
“It is how we picture the future,” said Norman Tam, head of Tencent’s Taiwan and Hong Kong office, adding that such services will first be available in China.
In addition to giving out promotions and receiving real-time information, WeChat can also allow users to select seats and receive boarding passes through a linked platform, he added.
But there are several other reasons that are more deeply intertwined with the social norms of Chinese society – I won’t go into the social norms but I’ll just briefly list several reasons why Chinese youth love WeChat
- curiosity – Shake it Function (摇一摇), the Drifting Bottle in the Sea (漂流瓶) function, and look around (附近) feature makes it easy for users to chat with strangers
- meeting strangers offline – the near by (附近) function allows you to see who is physically around you and then message the people you want to meet in person
- emotional exploration – many youth use it to meet strangers and talk about their emotions.
- dating – youth use it to flirt with other youth, some use it to find other youth for one-night stands  Translation of “How to find a One Night Stand on Weixin below
- small groups – users can easily create a chat group
- visual language – any asian mobile app always has a wide range of emoticons – this is a MUST!
- updates from friends – Moments is a built in social network that looks a lot like twitter or facebook, users can post
Used in the right way — perhaps for exclusive deals and vouchers issued directly to select groups of WeChat fans — it could be a lot more targeted and interesting than other channels in China.