If you’ve had any contact with China in the past five years, you’ll know just how embedded WeChat is in daily Chinese life. With 1.4 billion monthly users according to Tencent’s 2021, WeChat has almost complete penetration of the Chinese market.
WeChat was launched in 2011 by Chinese tech giant Tencent. Literally meaning micro message (微信), it was launched as a messaging app and soon replaced texting in China. Since then, it has grown to become a full suite social-media app encompassing all aspects of daily life.
Its WeChat Pay function has eliminated the need to carry cash in most cities in China. Its WeChat Mini Programs function means users often don’t even need to leave the app to access other utilities and applications, such as ride-hailing (Didi taxi) or booking plane/train tickets. Its WeChat Store function, while not able to compete with larger Chinese e-commerce platforms like Taobao, means e-commerce is also covered within the app’s ecosystem.
As a complete ecosystem with ubiquitous reach in China, it is imperative for any business looking to break into the Chinese market to have a strong WeChat presence. Below we detail a list of WeChat marketing best practices for businesses:
Types of WeChat Official Accounts
A WeChat Official Account is similar to a Facebook page. It allows brands to publish content for their followers to see as WeChat newsletters. This replaces email mailing lists common in Western marketing campaigns, as most people don’t use email in China. There are two types of WeChat Official Accounts: service account and subscription account.
Following these three steps in setting up a WeChat Official Account:
- Go to https://mp.weixin.qq.com/?lang=en_US and click Register Now
- Choose the account type most suitable for your business
- Enter your email and click the Register button
Prices for Influencer Campaign on WeChat
Now that you’ve set up an Official Account, it’s time to reach your audience. In China, influencer marketing is widely known as KOL (key opinion leader) marketing. By partnering with local KOLs, you are able to localize your brand messaging in China while getting access to their network of followers.
Some KOLs run their own WeChat groups, which have a maximum capacity of 500 members. These groups usually revolve around specific interests, and engagement can vary depending on their quality. Other KOLs have their own Official Accounts with large followings due to their reliable content. Below is a rough guide for industry standards for WeChat KOL marketing:
All about WeChat Mini Programs
Depending on the scope of your business, it might make sense to dive into making a mini-program specifically for your brand. WeChat Mini Programs are applications built within the WeChat platform, providing advanced features with smooth integration with WeChat. WeChat features such as WeChat pay, geo-location, contacts, and notifications can all be smoothly integrated between WeChat and its Mini Apps.
Loyalty Programs on WeChat mini programs
Brand loyalty is still important in China. After a strong marketing campaign, you now have an influx of customers. Loyalty programs are essential in retaining them. WeChat Mini Programs allow you to build a loyalty program for your brand easily.
Build your WeChat loyalty program by rewarding points to potential customers for proactively linking their WeChat accounts and filling out their profile on your Mini Program. Giving points for daily check-ins will incentivize your followers to keep up with your brand’s latest news and offers. You can then allow users to use these points towards discounts when they shop for your brand.
Using WeChat as H5 Mini Website
While WeChat Official Account pages have limited customization features, an H5 landing allows for providing users a professional and unique experience for your brand to stand out. H5 is a Chinese buzzword that essentially means HTML 5, or a single HTML 5 landing page. It allows for illustrations, artwork, and animations perfect for mobile experiences.
Get started with building an H5 page with services such as MAKA, Renrenxiou, Yixiouwang, but do keep in mind the interface is in Chinese.
How to do WeChat Live-streaming
Livestreaming is a huge aspect of the Chinese trend of social e-commerce. It allows for engaging with audiences and potential customers in real-time to answer their questions about your brand and products. Leverage the immediacy of see-now-buy-now mentality with WeChat’s recent livestream feature.
WeChat allows for two main options for livestreaming: via Tencent’s native livestreaming solution and via WeChat Mini Program feature. Both offer a variety of integrations with WeChat’s native WeChat Shop feature for a smooth e-commerce experience.
Want to leverage livestreaming in China? Contact us today!
WeChat ads is a Tencent program that sells ad space under other WeChat Official Account posts (WeChat banner ads) or in users’ timelines, or Moments (WeChat Moments ads).
To apply for WeChat Moment ads, there is a minimal entry price of 50,000RMB for both Chinese and foreign companies. It requires verifying your WeChat Official Account and applying for the right to advertise on WeChat in the backend of your Official Account. Only after approval can you start creating campaigns. The CPM for WeChat Moments ads is between 60-150.
Launched in August 2014, these type of WeChat ads have notoriously low performance. Advertisers are only able to choose rough target demographics and cannot control which specific accounts their ads appear. The CPM for WeChat banner ads is between 2-5RMB.
Learn more about advertisement on Wechat in our WeChat Advertising: Types of Ads, CPM, PPC Prices guide!
WeChat Channels is a new feature that just launched in 2020 for businesses and personal accounts. This feature is similar to Douyin (China’s counterpart to Tik Tok) in that these accounts can now share short video content (3 seconds to 1 minute long) under a branded profile. Video and static images are accepted, with a maximum of 9 static images laid out similar to Moments posts.
Read more about the latest features on Wechat
Regardless of how many different WeChat features your business chooses to include in you campaign, content is still king. A solid localization plan is essential in making sure your brand and product messaging resonates with Chinese consumers and their culture. Remember to post often to keep you followers engaged.
WeChat Update of 2022
WeChat has updated its app ones again and this year the users can enjoy the functions of music share, pausing and resuming voice messages, blur of the background during video call, channel videos in a floating window and some other minor ones.
Foreign brands using WeChat to drive conversion in 2022
As WeChat is unavoidable tool for everyday life in China, brands big and small are taking advantage of the functions of WeChat to drive traffic and conversion. Here are some of the rules you need to follow when planning your WeChat marketing strategy.
- Have a strong visual identity. This means using professional software to create long page design, using high quality photos.
- If you are a tangible/product oriented brand, you don’t need to write lots of text in your post. Focus on visuals to stimulate desire in your readers.
- To drive traffic to your WeChat mini program or WeChat store, do not forget to link products from posts.
- To drive traffic to Tmall or other marketplace, use customized codes (specific per platform)
- WeChat now allows redirection to other social media platforms – use links to mention them! This includes the mention of your website in China.
- Don’t forget to include “read other articles” at the bottom of your post and link these posts.
WeChat Official Account Promotion in 2022
One of the best and quickest ways to promote your account on WeChat is to use the help of KOLs, influencers and buy advertising. But not every brand is as big as Zara, and many young brands are keen to promote themselves without using large budgets. But in this case “small budget” means “lot’s of working hours”.
In the year 2022 one way to do so is to “break the closed circle” of WeChat and start using WeChat Channel – a video platform where people are exposed to all content published, not only the content of people and accounts you follow.
Another way to promote your WeChat official account “on a budget” is to invest in community building and private traffic. This means inviting every person who might be interested in your brand one by one to groups you manage and communicate with them via these groups. You can hire a manager to do this full time, or an agency like HI-COM, to save cost and time.
For some foreign brands offline activities work wonders. pop ups, expos, collabs with offline partners, event sponsorships and more can help you to achieve more than one goal at a time! Guests will be exposed to your WeChat QR codes and fulfill the commercial purpose of the event you hold.
Learn all the ways to promote your WeChat account here!
WeChat for business is a part of any strong Chinese marketing plan. While the above is a list of current best practises for WeChat for businesses, the Chinese tech landscape moves rapidly. Keeping on top of the newest features being rolled out on WeChat will give your business the edge over the competition in this fast-paced market.
HI-COM is a localization and multilingual communication agency dedicated to providing China-specific strategy, social media communication and e-commerce marketing services to businesses around the world. Working with more than 100 brands, HI-COM is the go-to partner of companies that want to enter China market! Contact us for your free consultation today!
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