WeChat is one of the world’s largest platforms and has become a hot place in China for marketing. It’s home to over 1.11 billion monthly users and offers an exceptional way to connect with prospective customers. Businesses hoping to prosper and build an up-and-coming enterprise in China contemplate creating a WeChat Official Account.
This social media platform has tremendous potential, but it’s also difficult to master. Acquiring brand-new followers is challenging and requires the right approach. On its own, the platform doesn’t allow uninterrupted marketing features to boost posts outside the main user base. In general, most of the views come from a small amount of accounts on WeChat.
Maximizing organic content is only possible through well-run promotions. Otherwise, the content won’t spread and reach out to the masses. The idea of spending days or weeks on new content and not gaining traction is disheartening, which is why using a WeChat Official Account is essential. The right WeChat marketing strategy can help grow your brand and take it to the next level.
Here are the best ways for growing your WeChat Official Account.
1) Develop Engaging and High-Value Content
Some of the world’s largest businesses understand the importance of emotional, high-value content. Your WeChat Official Account will demand organic content. It’s important to create beneficial content while maintaining your brand’s tone. This helps bring In new followers while keeping the old ones around. Research shows over 48% of all WeChat users share useful content on WeChat.
The average person will want to be entertained and education. As a result, it’s important to emphasize high-value content to bring in new followers.
When creating new content, it’s important to follow the rules.
- Develop engaging visual content (infographics/stickers)
- Welcome positive emotions through your content
- Create Interest Through Emotional and Inspirational Headlines
- Emphasize Creativity While Creating Fresh Content
- Look to answer the follower’s question(s) using targeted content (how-tos/tips/tricks)
Experts believe video content is a successful trend on major social networks including WeChat. Users love interacting with high-quality videos and GIFs. If these videos are thoughtful, engaging, and unique, the average use will be drawn towards them especially in niches such as fashion and beauty. The goal is to create short videos to evoke positive emotions while gaining their attention. A good example of this would be short TikTok videos, which are incredibly popular among the masses in China. Other businesses prefer setting up live streams and these can do wonders too. It’s important to do your research and understand what the target market needs.
Developing new content is easier said than done as time goes on. Due to WeChat’s layout and algorithm, it’s difficult to gain traction regardless of how good your content is. With the creation of WeChat Search, the aim is to help brands increase their chances of success.
This feature was created in 2015 and is still new on WeChat. More and more businesses are studying how to use it and continue to optimize their accounts by leveraging different methods. With WeChat Search, the emphasis is on keyword optimization and ranking for the right keywords. It’s similar to ranking your company site on Google or Bing. As a result, businesses are starting to analyze different keywords before creating new content. It’s become a part of their marketing approach.
Get More Wows
Early in 2019, WeChat released an extensive update. This update included simple aesthetic changes including a complete revamp of its design elements. Along with the cosmetic tweaks, WeChat also included a new feature named “Time Capsule” aimed to work like Instagram stories.
The app also included WeChat Wow as a separate feature. This feature allows users to like specific articles posted by subscription accounts. Once they click on the like button, a list of similar articles will be shown under the Wow tab. The goal is to spread the word by generating more and more likes as new content gets posted. The larger brands can quickly spread the word without spamming. It’s a unique feature and one that puts a new twist to how a company markets itself on WeChat.
Scheduled Posts for Maximum Results
Timing is important with WeChat because Official Accounts are limited. Businesses don’t get the opportunity to test different posts and getting the timing right is key. In general, most businesses prefer posting during business hours in China, which makes it a tough time slot to crack.
For your company, it’s important to sit down and analyze what’s needed from a timing perspective.
- Assess engagement metrics (number of readers) at different time slots
- Analyze the average “target user” and when they use WeChat
These points can help pick the perfect time to post your content on WeChat.
2) Improve Engagement Numbers Using H5 Campaigns
WeChat Official Accounts can run H5 (HTML5) pages to design personalized marketing campaigns. These campaigns are interactive, reliable, and known to increase customer engagement.
For example, businesses can look to set up campaigns with specialized games, quizzes, and/or surveys through targeted HTML5 pages. It’s a great way to spread the word and get users to engage. Some businesses go above and beyond with this feature by providing incentives such as gifts and discounts. There are several different ways of implementing HTML5 pages and it’s up to the business as to what they prefer is best.
WeChat campaigns are often defined by a company’s sharing abilities. Whether this is through advertisements, general user sharing, or KOLs, the idea is to share as much as possible.
A brand that understands this better than most is Coach. They recently ran a campaign for Mother’s Day and allowed users to upload images of their mothers. The winner would receive a mention on Coach’s homepage and take home a brand-new wristlet.
3) Use Other Social Media Platforms to Grow WeChat Official Account
Each target audience is unique and uses different social media platforms. It’s important to do your research and know where your target market goes online. Do you know which social media platforms are their favorite? For example, certain niches often work well with LinkedIn while others work better with Facebook. It’s all about knowing what works best in your niche.
Once you do this, start cross promoting on that platform. You can grow the account by advertising on those platforms and bringing in new traffic that wasn’t there before. It’s a great way to grow both accounts at the same time.
4) Maximize KOLs to Build WeChat Official Account
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) continue to play an important part in building WeChat accounts. These influencers are well-established names in China and have a tremendous following on WeChat. They can provide a quick boost by mentioning a certain business. These KOLs can be reached through their marketing agencies. This ensures both parties can work out an agreement and come up with content for the KOL to publish on their WeChat account.
Sponsorships remain key and can help build the brand’s influence quickly. The average KOL can bring in large numbers in views and followers. Some of China’s biggest celebrities come under this category and use it as a way to earn money. In fact, several businesses use KOLs as their main marketing strategy on WeChat due to the success rate.
This is one of the more potent marketing strategies on WeChat and continues to get stronger with each passing day. More and more Chinese customers are relying on KOL marketing to buy. However, experts believe this will be short-lived as customers become aware of what’s going on.
5) Take Advantage of WeChat’s Location-Based Features
WeChat has a fully functional location feature and it allows businesses to easily target prospective local customers. The feature is available in over 300 cities and accompanied by several others including Shake, Drift Bottle, and Look Around.
The location feature is ideal when it’s time to spread the word and bring in new leads. It’s an excellent way to learn about customers in the area, when they use WeChat, and what they prefer once online. Of course, it’s a location-based feature, which means it’s important to stay safe and take all necessary precautions.
A modern company that uses WeChat’s location feature is DiDiDaChe. This is a taxi and personal transport application designed to work like Uber or Lyft. Once the user signs up, they can track where their driver is using WeChat. It’s a powerful feature and provides accurate data down to the last detail.
6) Leverage WeChat Advertising for Successful Campaigns
If the goal is to build a following on this app then it’s time to look at WeChat advertising. The platform allows companies with an Official Account to advertise on WeChat. This means organic content can be created and shared to potential followers through the platform. Once the followers come in, you can get the ball rolling with high-quality content.
There are several different ways of advertising on WeChat including Account Ads, Moment Ads, and KOL Ads.
WeChat Moment Ads: The goal is to advertise using “WeChat Moments,” which is often compared to Facebook’s newsfeed. To run an ad, the company has to set up a budget of RMB 50,000 ($7,500 USD). Please note, this is not a set number and can change depending on the company that’s applying. Once the budget is in place, a company can start purchasing ad placements on WeChat while targeting specific demographics. The price to launch the ad varies depending on the selected target options.
The ad is priced based on CPM (cost per 1000 impressions) metrics. There are no PPC options on WeChat as of right now. The company can set up an ad by linking to HTML5 pages, writing descriptions (40 characters), company name, or creating short videos (15 seconds).
In early April 2019, WeChat added to this advertising method by allowing users to tag others. This improves the likelihood of gaining traction and spreading the word about your company and its products.
WeChat Banner Ads: This advertising option is run using CPC or CPM models and involves targeting a subset of WeChat’s user base. The company can decide whom to target after they’ve set up a minimum budget of RMB 50,000.
All banner ads are placed under WeChat articles posted by an Official Account. This placement encourages views and subscriptions. It also allows a company to determine what works and what does not by using the CPC model.
Most companies start to detect patterns after running multiple banner ads on WeChat. These companies often bring their costs down to RMB 8-20 per follower.
7) Create a New Loyalty Program for WeChat
Forming a proper relationship with customers is the way to go. This is why more and more companies are leaning towards building loyalty programs. These programs allow companies to find long-term customers that will continue to bring in revenue for months or years to come. The average company will want customers to spend at least 1-2 seasons buying their products/services, which becomes easier through a well-designed loyalty program. With this in mind, companies understand the importance of loyalty programs while using WeChat.
It’s difficult to bring in new customers, which is why businesses prefer keeping loyal ones around for as long as possible. A high customer retention rate generally leads to success and that’s why loyalty programs are established in the first place. In China, these loyalty programs can make all the difference in the world.
A study on loyalty programs in China showed a significant uptick in performance through the implementation of customer retention strategies. It was clear that companies with reliable loyalty programs were bringing in more revenue without rapidly increasing their customer base.
A smart company should look to establish a comprehensive loyalty program using targeted WeChat promotional strategies. This helps build brand awareness, bring in more sales, and grow at a reliable pace. Over time, most of these loyal customers will spread the word about your company to their loved ones too.
To build the perfect membership/loyalty program include the following features:
- Exclusive Promotions for Loyal Customers
- VIP Cards to Select Customers
- Personalized Coupons (i.e. E-Coupons)
- Seasonal Discounts with Additional Purchasing Rights Given to Loyal Customers
- All-Inclusive Offers/Packages for Loyal Customers
In general, a small subset of loyal customers is more than enough for a business to prosper. It’s okay if a large number of customers don’t fall under this category. The goal should be to get as many as possible while building a solid brand. This will bring in a good amount of revenue.
Case Study – WeChat for Business
It was Sephora (popular cosmetics company) and its WeChat Official Account, which set the tone for loyalty programs online. The company set up an official page on its account to illustrate what it has to offer, how its products work, and what discounts are on offer. This informational campaign helped as more and more customers joined in as new tutorials, giveaways, and discounts were advertised.
Sephora allowed customers to set up accounts and collect “points” by purchasing their products. Chinese customers then used these points for additional rewards/benefits. It also allowed them to keep in touch with the brand.
The marketing plan has been a massive success and ensured Sephora’s position among Chinese cosmetics companies. Their WeChat Official Account continues to grow and has only gotten stronger with time. It’s a wonderful example of what WeChat for business is all about.
8) Set Up WeChat Micro-Sites
The power of WeChat still hasn’t been explored to its fullest potential. The platform offers access to a long list of tools including the ability to develop “micro-sites.” These small websites can set the tone for your business and its products. The premise of these sites is to make sure customers learn more about your brand without leaving WeChat. With nothing more than a few photos, quality Chinese copywriting, and a WeChat Official Account, the micro-site can be up in minutes.
The site is all about building a positive image among WeChat users while shedding light on your business and its products. This is when your WeChat Official Account grows and brings in new leads. A well-designed mini-site can act as a host for your content. On your WeChat Official Account, set up links to the mini-site, and watch as users click-through.
9) Leverage Branded WeChat Stickers
WeChat is heralded for several features including WeChat stickers. These stickers are used across the platform whether it’s professional or personal accounts. The reason WeChat stickers stand out has to do with how personalized each sticker is. Users can easily upload custom stickers and use them on WeChat. This allows users to have a bit of fun while creating new stickers and using them while conversing with others. On the same note, brands are able to do the same and generate positive interest about their company.
Chinese users love communicating on WeChat and traditional blocks of text can become boring. To avoid boredom, the integration of WeChat stickers offers something fresh and new. This is why WeChat stickers are popular among users and are often used more than traditional emojis. The reason for this has to do with the range of options available through WeChat stickers and their app-friendly WeChat sticker shop.
Users can scroll through 1000+ WeChat sticker packs while building their collection. The beauty of using these stickers has to do with the downloading process. It takes no more than a few seconds to start using the sticker on WeChat. Users simply press on the sticker, favorite it, and add it. It’s this simple. As a result, brands can take advantage of the option and use it to build their accounts.
It’s important to sit down and do your research as a company before releasing or using new WeChat stickers. In general, the best WeChat stickers are relevant, useful, and in line with Chinese requirements. Chinese users have specific preferences and those requirements should be kept in mind. This is the only way to appeal to them. Many brands incorporate specific stickers while branding their own too.
A good example would be something as simple as “666,” which is often associated with the term cool in China. It’s an interesting detail but one that’s China-specific. Without including these types of stickers, it’s difficult to gain traction on WeChat as a business. Look into these details and then put together a new set of stickers.
Please note, it’s not a free for all on WeChat when it comes to new stickers. There are set guidelines about designs and how they’re used.
- Branded Stickers Can Only Be Used With WeChat Articles
- The WeChat Sticker Can Only Offer Unbranded Stickers
When the account starts to grow, it’s best to create separate branded stickers. This makes it easier to build a loyal following and become a unique account on WeChat. Otherwise, brand-new accounts should stick to traditional, unbranded stickers until they get larger. Those stickers are already approved and loved by the masses in China. Over time, it’s easier to incorporate branded stickers just like Starbucks has done with its personalized coffee cups.
WeChat stickers remain a powerful tool for building brands and offers organic exposure without spamming users.
10) Use QR Codes
A personalized QR code is included with the WeChat account after it’s set up. Other WeChat users can scan this QR code with the app’s built-in scanner. Companies often personalize their QR codes based on their branding. This allows them to add their QR code alongside products, storefronts, brochures, social media accounts, and more.
Customers don’t mind scanning a QR code as long as it comes with an incentive (i.e. discounts, free Wi-Fi access). It’s a win-win situation for everyone when the QR code is scanned and it helps grow your account.
A contemporary example of a well-placed QR code would be EMart’s 3D sculpture. Users scan the code and gain immediate access to their WeChat account.
Businesses also use WeChat Pay, which is centered on QR codes. Remember, a user can only send/receive funds after scanning QR codes. If the goal is to implement WeChat Pay into your payment structure, QR codes will become commonplace in your marketing strategy.