How to Effectively use WeChat for Business
Here are some facts about WeChat to put things into perspective:
- WeChat has 1 Billion monthly users
- 38 billion messages are sent every day
- 34.6% of users spend an average of 4+ hours a day on WeChat
The stats are almost hard to believe. What’s even harder to believe is the fact that brands aren’t interpreting this as a way of enhancing their businesses. Instead, they lie in the shadows of one of the largest social platforms. Never fear, a step-by-step guide is here to help you understand and reap the rewards of the incredibly diverse world of WeChat.
Much like Facebook or Instagram (both of which are banned in China), WeChat has multiple levels of business accounts which can be categorised by:
These allow for one daily broadcast message to subscribers which appear in their subscription accounts folder
Allow up to four broadcast messages per month; messages appear in the friend session list. Verified accounts have access to nine advanced API’s and are able to apply for WeChat Pay.
Once you have established which type of account best suits your business, it’s time to set up your profile. It’s all generally straightforward. Collect all the required information such as your business license and personal ID and submit your application through the official account registration page. It takes about two weeks for the reviewing process to be completed but don’t worry, there’s a pretty handy application status checker to keep you occupied in the meantime.
Oh and don’t be disheartened if your account doesn’t flourish with thousands of followers within the first few months- greatness doesn’t happen overnight.
Though possibly viewed as outdated in many western societies, QR codes are larger than ever in China. A QR (quick response) code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned through a smartphone. Once scanned, it causes a webpage to load that can be about just about anything!
When you create your WeChat account, a QR code is automatically generated for your business. So what better way to market your business than to take that code and plaster it across absolutely everything! Make sure you get creative in this because nobody wants to see QR codes on the sides of bus stops anymore.
Take some inspiration from E-Mart, a Korean discount store. They created a three-dimensional sculpture that produced a QR code when sunlight hit it at the perfect angle. With the knowledge that their audiences were most active around lunchtime, you guessed it, this is the time the code would appear. Scanning the code took consumers to the official E-Mart WeChat account which as a result, pushed sales and gained followers.
QR codes can be placed pretty much anywhere- on your website, as an email signature, on product labels, even on receipts and invoices. All together, they’re a fantastic way of amplifying your click-through rate and bringing in new followers.
Location Based Marketing
One of WeChat’s brilliant functions is its ability to detect user location. To put it simply, through different mini-programs, users are able to locate anything from famous landmarks to exquisite restaurants.
A brilliant example is the UK based mini-program, Visit Britain. Offering a fully functional map that highlights famous POI’s, restaurants and luxury stores, more and more Chinese consumers are turning to this when ‘Visiting Britain’. In the program, users can click on their interests to discover opening and closing times, location images and contact information. Brands that otherwise may not have had any time in the Chinese limelight, as a result of location-based marketing, are revealed to Chinese consumers and given the awareness they deserve.
The harsh reality is people won’t be as interested in your brand if the content you are producing isn’t consistently useful and engaging. Brands have the ability to push content through the WeChat messaging system meaning that people who have subscribed to you can see one daily broadcast message which appears in their subscription accounts folder.
This is a brilliant opportunity for you to draw your audience in with well-created content that directly appeals to them.
According to a study taken on WeChat Users (WeChat Impact Report 2016), 49% of users were most likely to share content that they thought was useful to them. So remember, as much as your content may be fun and exciting, it also has to resonate with your audience.
A brand that exhibits this extremely well is Chanel. On top of sending out their daily message to subscribers (and it’s something entirely luxurious of course), users are able to directly interact with the brand with simple words such as ‘bag’ or ‘watch’ that in return, sends out information on products linked to that word! Pretty nifty right?
Before you lose your mind, bludgeoning yourself with the same three words- ‘What’s a KOL? What’s a KOL?’- allow us to explain. Quite simply, it’s China’s version of influencer marketing and the effects it has on Chinese consumers is remarkable.
A KOL taking the fashion world by storm is Mr Bags. With an incredible 3.5 million followers on Weibo and 850,000 followers on WeChat, many people look up to and therefore do as this KOL recommends. An example of this almost too wild to believe? Mr Bags collaborated with the lavish handbag manufacturer- Tod. In honour of the Chinese Year of the Dog, 300 canine-like handbags were created- each being priced at $1,620. Within only 6 minutes, all 300 bags had sold out generating over $500,000 beating his past record of $175,000 in 12 minutes for Givenchy. Get someone like this behind your brand and you’ll be dreaming of KOL’s til the end of your days.
Amongst those mentioned, there are countless ways to watch your brand thrive by properly utilising the features WeChat has to offer. If you’re willing to put time and effort into your marketing strategies, making your business accessible to Chinese consumers will send your brand to the front on online conversation.
If you have any questions or just fancy a chat about any of the points mentioned, then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org