Nowadays, WeChat is much more popular than all social networking platforms. It is also a channel where business firms have the opportunity to meet WeChat’s 809 million monthly active users and engage in branding and promotional activities. In fact, WeChat is also an exclusive platform because users can only see what they subscribe to and follow. In order to maximize a company’s marketing campaign on WeChat, having as many followers as possible will be the key to success. The question is: how to market your brand on WeChat Marketing
What is WeChat?
WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China, first released in January 2011. The app is available for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone platforms. The users can do just about anything, including play games, send money to people; make video calls, order food, read the news etc.
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Interesting Facts on WeChat
- WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China, first released in January 2011. The app is available for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone platforms.
- WeChat has over 700 million downloads, with 300 million active users. This makes it one of the most popular social apps in the world, and a valid competitor to WhatsApp and Viber.
- WeChat has multiple features including video chat, voice calls, SMS, games, QR code scanning and much more.
- This offers full M-commerce capabilities inside the app.
- WeChat was built and owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, which is China’s first globally known Internet brand.
How to Use WeChat for Business
Let’s start by looking at the three types of WeChat business account: subscription accounts, service accounts, and enterprise accounts. They all fall under the category of Official Accounts, which are available to celebrities, media, government organizations, and businesses. Subscription accounts offer more messaging, but service accounts offer more robust functionality. Enterprise accounts are primarily for organizational management and are not of primary interest to marketers.
Subscription accounts: Allow one broadcast message per day to subscribers; messages appear in the subscription accounts folder.
Service accounts: Allow up to four broadcast messages per month; messages appear in the friend session list. Verified accounts have access to nine advanced APIs and can apply for WeChat Pay.
Enterprise accounts: Offer messaging and business tools but are only available in Mainland China.
How to apply for a WeChat Official Account
These steps apply to the International-Market Platform. If you have a business based in China, you can access the Chinese market by using the Mainland China-Market Platform.
- Gather all the required information, including your business license and personal ID. It’s a good idea to check the full list of required materials before you begin.
- Go to the Official Account registration page and submit your application.
- It takes two weeks for your account to be reviewed. While you wait, you can check your application status using your application email and application number.
How to Grow Your WeChat Account
Here are some indispensable tips to help create a community, build a strong relationship with your followers and finally, help your brand to increase its value.
Check and Verify Your Account
Checking your account each day, showing your followers that you are online, would allow you to engage with your target market. The consumers who are surfing on social media will be more trustful if your account is organized clearly, and if your brand is active. This process is time-consuming but essential in order to increase your brand awareness and brand loyalty.
Interact With Your Followers
Interacting on social media shows that brands want to invest time and effort for their customers, and this can go a long way to build trust and loyalty in a brand. If a brand is not active, if it always publishes the same types of articles, if it doesn’t take account of its fans, it will appear as a brand which is not concerned with its products, or its clients, therefore reducing the chance of customers becoming enamored with the brand name.
Build Relationship with Customers
You are one brand amongst others, and in front of you are more than 600 million internet users. They all want to feel unique, special, and respected members of a community. This is the Key. Just reply to their queries, listen to them, interact with them and you will be able to build sustainable and high-quality relationships. This is the basis of a loyalty program.
Share Hot Trending Topics
Discussing the suitability of content posted could be redundant advice; however, it could actually be more important than it seems at first glance. When you fully understand their interests and motivations, it will be easier for you to develop a batch of content which will really resonate with them. Some sensitive topics need more attention and care when writing. But you need to be certain your work is of the best quality before posting it, in order to reap the benefits.
Promote Innovative yet Attractive Content
Present your content in an attractive and visually aesthetic way. There needs to be a harmony of colors, incorporating both bright and dark colors and a clear, interactive presentation. Your Wechat account represents your brand, and it must attract attention. If you do not work on it, your customers will move on, without any regret.
Read More: WhatsApp Marketing
How Can Brands Use WeChat Marketing
For most brands, a Service Account is the best option. Anytime a Service Account publishes content it appears as a direct message among the followers’ personal chat log.
This means more visibility and a higher probability your message will be opened, read and shared. A Service Account is limited to publishing content to four times per month, however each time you publish; you are able to publish up to eight separate articles within each post.
While this may sound limiting, four posts per month is enough for most brands. It is important to only publish extremely high-value content. There are millions of Service Accounts, all vying for attention, and over the past years as the number of accounts has drastically increased, reads have gone down.
Never publish just to publish. Remember, your content will appear among a fan’s personal messages if they find your content annoying or useless just once, they will unfollow you.
The other type of account brands can have is a Subscription Account. This allows brands to publish content once per day, however, all Subscription Accounts live in a Subscription Account folder which users have to actively check for new posts.
A red dot indicates new messages, and this is where it can really pay off to publish at precisely the right time of day to get your account on top of the heap.
Subscription Accounts are good for news outlets or brands that often have promotions. If you are a Subscription Account your content will have to be especially engaging and memorable, as you will need followers to actively check your account for new content.
How to Boost Your Fan Base on WeChat
Innovation is the crucial part to all marketing campaigns in any industry. To attract attention from an online community, businesses must be creative in what they do.
Case Study: Uniqlo in China
To boost their numbers of WeChat followers, Uniqlo launched a campaign, called “Style Your Life” to connect with customers in their brick-and-mortar shops and online stores. Uniqlo placed monitors in-store to take photos with backgrounds in Tokyo or London for customers after they try on different outfits which are then sent through Wechat, where people can share it. Online shoppers can also join this campaign by taking a selfie with Uniqlo’s outfit and sharing then it on WeChat. This Style Your Life campaign successfully increased their number of followers on WeChat. They had 400,000 at the beginning of the campaign and over 1 million six months later. In addition to this success on WeChat, the campaign also increased the sales of key items of clothing by 30 % in stores and online.
Shareable content is an alternative to the word of mouth which in essence makes the content become more trustworthy and visible on the internet. A company should adjust the content they share based on the culture and followers’ interests. We live in an era where visual and video content is much more effective than lengthy text.
Case Study: McDonald’s WeChat Account
On McDonald’s WeChat account, you see that they share interesting content with customized menus alongside Happy Meal and Special Toy promotions. This kind of content includes many different elements that could successfully get the attention of its followers and encourage them to share it in their social circle. Involving children in this way is a powerful marketing tool, especially now the one-child policy has been lifted in China.
Knowing the demographics and identifying your followers will help companies to better communicate with followers. Brands can start up a certain interesting conversation group via their official account where they can do specific promotion in an exclusive group chat. This tactic will increase the effectiveness of any brand’s marketing campaign since they understand the interests of their target audience. Combining the techniques of targeting groups and approaching individuals is effective; WeChat allows brands to be creative when interacting with followers.
Case Study: New Coffee Definition Campaign
A campaign named “New Coffee definition” launched by Starbucks is an engaging activity where it starts up conversations with their account followers. Users will receive a message with a short music video based on what emoticon the user sends to Starbucks official account.
Innovative Ways to Attract More Followers on WeChat
Develop Loyalty Programs
One of the useful WeChat features for marketing is that one can employ a membership/ loyalty program with their WeChat official account. It allows business or brands to convert their followers into members. Here is some advice for your loyalty program:
- Offer Membership/ VIP cards via WeChat to increase account followers
- Send out exclusive promotions/ marketing news for branding
- Rewards (E-coupons) encourage more purchases
- Partner with other companies to provide all-inclusive offers
Events can be very broad, including trade shows, conferences, new product releases; it is a very good opportunity to broadcast your brands combined WeChat activities. A simple series of topics with QR codes can explain more detail about your brand than you would imagine. It is also the cheapest way to promote your official accounts while holding events to attract media attention.
QR codes are a very effective invention which brings businesses and customers closer than ever before. There are some important things you can learn to maximize the features of QR codes to further your marketing campaign on WeChat.
- Publish QR codes on your sites and social media
- Add WeChat QR codes to company newsletters/PR
- Include QR Codes on product packages
- Run WeChat marketing in print
If your company is involved in any type of sales directly, why not consider integrating your payment method with WeChat pay. It will enhance the users’ experience greatly with the payment simple and at their fingertips; they stay within the app for the whole process. This feature is used by a massive amount of WeChat users in China in their daily lives. From the farmer market to the department store, WeChat pay has totally changed payment behavior in China.
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