When it comes to social media in China, WeChat is the place to be. That’s why the biggest brands in the world are now investing in WeChat marketing in the hopes of getting into the booming Chinese market.
But what is so special about WeChat, and how do you maximize WeChat marketing strategies for your business?
- WeChat Dominance in China
- Unique features in WeChat
- WeChat Accounts for Business
- Tipsfor Effective WeChat Marketing Strategies
- In summary
WeChat Dominance in China
WeChat was an app first launched by Chinese tech giant Tencent in 2011 as a means to message people over the net. Currently there are over 1 billion monthly active users with 100 Million users outside of China. Almost half of these active users are 20-29 years old, with most of them spending at least 90 minutes daily on their smartphones.
WeChat still serves its purpose as a messaging app, with an average of 38 billion messages and 6.1 billion voice messages sent daily. Like Facebook, WeChat also has a friends newsfeed that allows users to post pictures, videos, links, and comments. But beyond the message numbers, WeChat has become an indispensable app for people living in China.
Unique features in WeChat
China’s population is currently living in the future of mobile pay technology because of the ubiquity of WeChat and its payment features. According to the latest statistics, there are 300 Million WeChat users that have linked their credit or debit cards to their accounts. WeChat Pay is also available in 25 countries and 13 currencies. You can also use WeChat Pay in 300,000 offline stores that accept them.
There are five ways to use WeChat Pay.
- Users present pay codes for Quick Pay options
- Users scan a unique QR code ad for purchases
- Users can purchase through an official WeChat store
- Users can make in-app payments through other partner apps
- Web pages generate codes that direct them to a payment page to complete the transaction
The tight integration of payments and social media makes Wechat marketing extremely powerful.
WeChat Mini Programs are sub-apps within the platform. It gives users advanced features like e-commerce, task management, coupons, and games.
Brands and businesses use mini-programs to give added value to users like locating charging stations, paying for gas, or unlocking shared bikes. There has also been a growing trend of creating mini-apps for e-commerce stores and content mini-programs. Users can even create their own mini ecommerce store directly in WeChat.
QR Codes, Fitness Tracker, Dating App, and Many More
QR codes are used everywhere in China and enable faster transactions through WeChat. Scanning codes let you compare product prices, book your trips, order food and reserve tables, and even track delivery services.
WeChat also has a fitness tracker that monitors the number of steps you make in a day. It also has collaborations with JD shopping channels and stores. It even has its own browser, geolocation, and mapping services.
Differences between WeChat and Facebook as marketing platforms
WeChat shares some similarities with Facebook, which is blocked in China (though it can be accessed via VPN). While many foreign businesses are quite familiar with marketing strategies on the Facebook platform, there are some differences when it comes to WeChat.
WeChat offers more privacy. There are only three ways to add people on WeChat: Scanning their personal codes, knowing their exact user ID or phone number, or turning on the “People Nearby” function. WeChat users can only view comments or posts that are directly posted by contacts in their own friends list. This makes it much more difficult to spread “viral” posts organically.
Facebook, on the other hand, offers more open features when it comes to live streaming, groups, and geotagging check-ins. When it comes to targeting audiences with ads, Facebook also has more features that help get your ads to the right audiences. If done right, Facebook Ads can track your ad performance; understand their behaviors and increase brand awareness and sales conversion. And all of this you can do on a very limited budget. WeChat is more limited in this respect.
WeChat Accounts for Business
There are three WeChat accounts that you can choose from if you want to start marketing in China as a business.
- Subscription accounts – this is focused on information and brand communication. These accounts can act like news feeds and publish 1-6 articles every day. It is also most suited for individuals who are information-oriented and content focused.
- Service accounts – these accounts are focused on providing customer service and CRM and can publish up to 4 times a month with 1-6 articles per post. Service accounts also need verification for additional functions such as registration for WeChat Pay and WeChat Store. It is also best for businesses with bigger audiences and customer databases.
- Corporate Accounts – WeChat can also serve as an internal communication and management tool for companies. These accounts can partner with third-party APIs and have multiple internal management functions such as chat rooms and file sharing. It also has a higher security requirement, which means users have to be added manually by the account owner to get access to it.
Tipsfor Effective WeChat Marketing Strategies
Create awesome, optimized content that is relevant to your audience.
WeChat plays a vital role in its user’s daily lives. And if you want to create traction for your account, you must prioritize the quality of the content you’re creating.
The key is to know who your target audience is so you could create relevant content for them. Create content that taps into people’s emotions to encourage sharing on social media. Play with your content format and use short “Sights” videos, images, text, and interactive content that your audiences can enjoy.
Engage with key opinion leaders, celebrities, and other influencers and create good relationships with them. And most importantly, identify your niche and stick to it.
Check out tips on how to optimize your WeChat content strategy here for more tips.
Build a long-term relationship with your followers.
People only buy from people they like. And for people to like you, it’s important to create good, trustworthy relationships with them.
The best way to build a relationship with your audience is to be consistent in your messaging and content. To do so, you must post regularly and create content that people can learn from and relate to.
Engagement is also a key factor in creating relationships with your online audience. Consumers in China expect to be able to ask questions about products through direct messaging. Try as much as possible to respond to inquiries and concerns in a timely manner. Be visible both online and offline as much as possible.
Remember that no matter how advanced technology is; the best way to market a product is still by word of mouth. Make your content easily shareable by keeping in mind image formats, QR codes, and video formats. Here are killer strategies you can use to establish audience loyalty.
Maximize your account’s growth with organic and paid advertising
There are two ways to grow your account: organic and paid advertising. The content you create weekly can be re-shared within and outside of WeChat. This will help get more eyes to see you and your brand organically. After that, you can also create engagement by responding to the threads and posting call to actions to help direct traffic back to your account.
You can also use WeChat Moments Advertising to target audiences in specific cities and locations. Choose between three city-specific categories and industries, including food & beverage, beauty products, finance, education, travel, etc.
Moments Ads can drive traffic to your WeChat Official Accounts, WeChat Stores, and even external links and other social platforms you might have. To learn more about pricing and the types of paid ads you can use on WeChat, read more here.
WeChat is an exciting platform to explore for businesses expanding in the Chinese market. Marketing on WeChat requires an understanding of who your audiences are and the technical subtleties of the platform. This will help you create a more successful WeChat marketing strategy that will increase your chances of getting into China’s fast-moving marketplace.