How to Market on WeChat Without an Official Account
I get a lot of questions from English teachers,
small businesses and individuals asking me how they can market their services
on WeChat. They’re often seeking advice on setting up a WeChat official account
and wanting to publish content on it to attract more customers.
Unfortunately, this is more than unrealistic, first like I said WeChat official account is not the same as creating a Facebook or Instagram business page/profile. In order to get an official account, you need to be qualified and provide a lot of documents for approval.
But even if you’re able to obtain an official account somehow then what?
How do you get followers and get people to view your content?
China is a very competitive, noisy and competitive market and WeChat official account does not work exactly like a Facebook page but even if it does, it generally takes a long time and a ton of content to grow your audience with Facebook page.
The point is, if you’re an individual or even a small business on a shoestring budget, you can forget about WeChat official account. I’ve worked with many small local Chinese business who the owners are Chinese and are able to create their own personal WeChat official account and they barely use it.
The Secret to Marketing on WeChat without an Official Account
The truth is most small local businesses and professionals in China don’t have or use WeChat official account because it’s too costly to operate and the ROI is not clear. Instead, all they do is either create a regular WeChat account with their company logo or use their own personal account and that’s it.
Then they ask people to add them as friends and market themselves through the moments and groups.
If you think about it the basic personal WeChat account gives you most of the features and WeChat service official account would give you. You show up as a friend, you can chat with your customers, and you can advertise on moments for free.
Pretty cool right?
The downside, of course, is there are no menus, no automation, no way to massively disturbing content and there is a limitation of the number of friends you can have on any particular account. But who cares if you’re an individual or small business with no budget.
Ok, but you may be wondering how do I get a bunch of people to add me as a friend in the first place.
How to Build Your Friend List
Well, there are several ways you can do this, some are free and some you may need to put a little bit of money behind it.
Your Existing Customer
As with anything start with your existing customer who already knows, like and trust you. Whoever, you’re interacting with your current Chinese customers get them to add you as a WeChat friend.
Use Shake & People Nearby
Ok, there are two functions on WeChat that will allow you to find and add random people who are also using these features such as Shake and People Nearby. Shake allows you to find people who are also Shaking and People Nearby will find other WeChat users who are nearby.
The downside to this, of course, is that the people on these lists are random, so they may not be interested in your service. But do it anyway, because maybe the will share your content and chances on someone on their list may be interested in your service or product.
Get People to Share