If you are a company in China, you can’t do without at least a bit of Wechat Marketing. With 1,26 billion monthly active users as of 2023, Wechat is China’s most important app. More than just an instant messaging app, Wechat is a super app and Wechat marketing is a must in any serious brands’ strategy in China.
In this article, we will walk you through the best WeChat marketing practices, and teach you how to advertise on WeChat, so that you can bring your brands’ account to the next level and increase awareness in China.
WeChat Marketing Step 1: Registering a WeChat Official Account
There is no WeChat marketing without a business account, so the first step you need to take is to register a public account on the app. We strongly suggest you use a Wechat Official account. Why?
- Attract potential customers;
- Increase brand awareness;
- Send push notifications to contacts following the page;
- Build customer loyalty;
- Redirect the user to the website/e-commerce page of the company.
Better visibility means better credibility. High-quality creative content is the key to attracting an audience. Through an official account, you not only have greater contact with customers but it is also possible to create real advertising campaigns. Therefore, there are many foreign brands that use Wechat as the main portal for their advertising.
2 Types of WeChat Official Accounts for Wechat Marketing
There are 2 types of accounts on WeChat that are suitable for brands: WeChat service accounts and WeChat subscription accounts.
Service accounts appear in the “chat” section like any contact. As a result, they offer greater visibility than subscription accounts, however, only four posts per month can be published. They are the best option for most brands and the only available account type for foreign companies.
The subscription accounts are grouped in a sort of folder called, precisely, “subscription” visible in the “chat” section of WeChat. Through this type of account, you can send your followers more than one push notification per day.
If you’re interested in starting a WeChat account (whether it’s a WeChat service account or a WeChat subscription account), contact us so that we can assist you through the whole process, as it might be a bit tricky, especially for people that don’t speak Chinese.
What is the best content for WeChat Official Account?
WeChat Official Account works as a website or newsletter, where brands publish content regularly, informing their followers about new products, events, special discounts, or publishing interesting content within their point of interest.
You have to carefully choose what content are you going to use but also calculate what is the optimal time of the day to reach your audience without being disruptive. Consider three elements:
- The tone of voice: how the message is communicated, respecting the characteristics of the brand, and considering the target of users to which it refers (colloquial, smart, formal, …)
- Layout: Chinese users usually don’t like posts that are too rich with text; they prefer articles with many images and videos. Now there are a lot of third-party tools that help you create engaging interactive layouts for your posts on the Wechat platform.
- Graphics: Chinese users like curated and engaging content.
Your content should be useful and consistently good. It appears that video posts are the last trend. They are visual and entertaining. Industry such as fashion and beauty should especially go for it.
In order to optimize your WeChat marketing results, your post should include one of the following “activities”: Delivering e-coupons, issuing a virtual VIP card, sending promotional offer notifications, and using the membership function.
Story-telling on WeChat with the official account publications
Communicating through WeChat requires some tricks so that you attract the right social media users. Posts are compared to what we are used to and appear as a newsletter as if the brands tell their story to the user.
These may contain images, GIFs, or videos and can be “open” or not. “Open” content can be viewed by anyone who wants to see it. Otherwise, the post is “private” and visible only to those who follow the brand on WeChat.
WeChat allows for “one-to-one” communication which makes it a great CRM tool, it would be foolish not to make the best out of it. It’s the best way to increase customer loyalty and relationship management.
Membership & VIP coupons are effective Wechat marketing tools to create engagement
Using WeChat membership functions can help you convert your followers into members. Keep your members interested in loyalty programs. This also allows you to get valuable information. A member can use the geo-localization function to pair up with users by their Wechat ID or phone number.
This is perfect to create more custom marketing content that will reach your audience more efficiently.
There are three typical ways to integrate WeChat into your marketing activities:
- Issuing a virtual VIP card
- Sending promotional offer notifications
- Delivering e-coupons
WeChat Official Account for brand communication purposes
It seems obvious but offering an enjoyable experience to the customer is one of the key elements of your success in China.
With WeChat and its one-to-one communication, you can provide the customer the feeling to be the sole focus, to be important – meaning you care about them.
Make sure to send a greeting message to the new joiner and be proactive. Now, you are not going to answer your followers one by one because Wechat gives you the possibility to set pre-written answers. You can define responses that co-relate to various keywords and there are no limits to the number of keywords. You also have the possibility to use visual and audio content. If you have a website, let your customer know about it.
WeChat official account Qr codes to promote your brand offline and online
QR codes are an important part of daily life in China and they are an excellent way to get new followers.
Companies that want to increase their number of followers on WeChat associate a QR Code with their existing accounts or sites. This also applies to points of sale or any sales support material used offline. As soon as someone scans the QR Code they become a member of the community and receive all the content shared by the brand.
Brands often invite users to scan QR Codes through promotions, discounts, sweepstakes, souvenirs, or WiFi passes, or they show the QR Code on other social media accounts. If you do the delivery, add your QR code to your packaging.
WeChat automatically creates a QR code for each official account, along with an inbuilt QR code scanner so no worries about it. You can also customize and personalize the QR codes that match your branding perfectly.
Promote your official account with WeChat group marketing
WeChat groups are the fastest and easiest way to distribute content to WeChat users interested in your type of product or service. Then, if your brand is recommended by one of the users, people will have more faith in the brand and will arouse the interest of other users. Therefore, Wechat groups can reach a larger community and have better visibility.
Businesses should consider Wechat groups as a forum where to provide useful information and develop a relationship with their audience. Businesses should then post regularly at peak times.
WeChat H5 Brochure: cost-efficient solution for content distribution
WeChat H5 Brochures are interactive brochures built-in WeChat mini-programs, that serve the purpose of PDFs introducing the brand and its products. They are interactive and highly shareable, making the a perfect marketing tool, especially if you want to work with distributors in China.
WeChat Brochure is good for online and offline because it is easy to send and distribute. It is great for product listing and for company introduction.
The benefits of the WeChat H5 Brochure are:
- Easy to share and lightweight
- Interactive & nice to look at
- Bring your QR code to every salon instead of printing a flyer
- Alternative to your unsuccessful mass mailing with heavy PDF
- Show potential business partners in China that you understand the market
WeChat CRM & Menu for Official Account
Set up and use the in-app Wechat CRM. It is a great tool to communicate with your followers/customers and can be used as a replacement for a newsletter. Remember, email marketing does not work in China, people don’t read emails. With a well-set Wechat CRM, answers automatically any questions your followers may have, welcome new ones, offer special discounts, etc. You don’t spend time doing it, and it increases your trust level with followers.
In 2017 Tencent has released “mini-programs”. A WeChat mini-program is an internal “mini-app” to the WeChat ecosystem. These applications do not need to be downloaded on your smartphone. Nowadays more than 95% of brands use WeChat mini-programs, mainly for a flagship WeChat store or a Wechat H5 brochure mentioned earlier.
It basically enables brands to set up a full mini website to complete their brand experience. Each day about 20 000 mini-programs are uploaded and compete for the attention of more than one billion daily active users on the WeChat app. The interest in mini-programs never ceases to grow.
Here are some tips for your mini-program:
- Aesthetic needs to be top-notch because that is the first thing your potential customer will see and this is how they will decide to click or to leave.
- Think multi-channel. Do you have a physical store? Display your location and draw your online customer directly to you.
- Use the mini-programs as a CRM, and remember that the customer is always first.
- Be social, which is the core of WeChat. Let your customers interact with their friends via your mini-program.
- Entertain your customer, and be smart. For example, Louis Vuitton launched a mini-game called “Trunk in the Sand” which makes the exhibition at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, which traced the history of the Brand since its foundation, a unique experience.
This is a new feature within the WeChat ecosystem that allows users, influencers, and brands to create and post short-video content and distribute them through a media feed. WeChat Channels are an answer to the growing popularity of short-video platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou.
WeChat users can scroll through the feed infinitely to discover what their friends and their favorite brands have posted as well as content from other users, influencers, and public accounts.
From Channels, WeChat users are able to explore content and follow users that are not in their contact and WeChat Official Accounts that they are not following.
Paid advertising on WeChat
Ads campaigns can be great to increase your brand awareness. Get creative to get your target’s attention. For instance invite people to vote, games, and do quizzes. It should be attractive, entertaining, and rewarding. Remember, creative campaigns can always attract followers to your accounts.
There are 3 types of Wechat advertising:
- WeChat Banner Advertisements
- WeChat Moments Advertisements
- Key Opinion Leader(KOL) Promotion
Banner ads on WeChat are placed in official account articles and are rather classic and comparable to other website ads. The good things are that it has performance-based pricing and it makes it easier for users to enter your website.
WeChat Moments ads allow advertisers to advertise within the Moments section, which is comparable to Facebook’s Newsfeed. It is worth noticing that Wechat Moments advertisement offers an easier and more affordable way to advertise on the app:
- Graphic part: up to 6 images or videos of max 15 seconds;
- Textual part: text to be customized;
- By clicking on photos, videos, or text the user can be redirected to the WeChat mini-program or to the WeChat newsletter;
- Engagement with comments and likes
WeChat KOL promotions
In China, influencers (known as KOL, Key Opinion Leaders) are even more important than in the West. Their relationship with the fans is intimate and direct and the influence they exert on purchasing decisions can be enormous.
For this reason, when you start marketing with WeChat you cannot ignore the collaborations with KOL. Naturally, both the influencers and the content they will convey will be chosen according to the brand identity and the reference community.
Since August 2020 companies that have an official account and a mini-program can use the live streaming function on the platform. Consumers can interact with the host and can receive instant answers and info. Kols and live streaming are a perfect match.
Brands can search KOLs on Wechat or through marketing agencies.
There are two types of campaigns:
- Product Placement: They are the most common way to promote WeChat KOLs. Your product will be featured in an article written by the influencer you are in partnership with.
- Product Reviews: This practice is great for your e-reputation. As many WeChat Kols are experts, they will provide many informative comments to potential customers helping them to make the final decision. These campaigns are often associated with a giveaway to increase engagement and shares.
Examples of great Wechat marketing campaigns
Perfect Diary group management
The “flirting with Xiaowanzi” function developed by the Perfect Diary allows you to add Xiaowanzi as a friend on WeChat. Xiaowanzi is the username of the girl in charge of running Perfect Diary’s official account, as well as the chat group.
Xiaowanzi consists of three Chinese characters: 小 (xiao), 完 (wan), 子 (zi). The middle one “完 (wan)” is the same as the first Chinese character of Perfect Diary’s Chinese name “完美日记”. Therefore, Xiaowanzi is a name that both associates its user to the brand and also appeals to Perfect Diary’s target customers, which are mainly female millennials.
A couple of times a day, Xiaowanzi posts a mini-program link or announces a promotion in the group, and those who are interested can tap the Mini Program to go directly to the item they want to buy (with a discount of course).
The pop-up WeChat group is another one of Perfect Diary’s powerful strategies, which operates like a surprising event.
The pop-up group promotion and live stream take place at night, after the dinner hour, and before bedtime, so the entire time before customers go to sleep can be spent in the happy-shopping-Perfect-Diary Hour. The pop-up group aims to grab only an hour of the customers’ attention on WeChat, increasing the likelihood of a sale.
Pandora: innovative WeChat mini-program campaign
Compared with other companies, Pandora carefully considered the Chinese market, looking in particular at occasions when young Chinese consumers express their love. On the 20th of August 2020 (Qixi festival day), the brand launched a mini-program, E Jian Lian Ai, which allows consumers to send gifts to their WeChat friends. This is the strongest attempt any brand has made at incorporating social aspects into its operations.
From a technical level, it directly engages the Qixi market with new retail ideas. Each year, on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese calendar, the Qixi Festival, or the Double Seventh Festival is celebrated. A holiday almost equivalent to Western Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in China since the time of the Han Dynasty.
Do you need help with your Wechat marketing strategy in China?
Wechat is an app in continuous and rapid evolution. Some of the latest innovations include the addition of a delivery service to the mini-programs, the creation of a score and reward system for customers, and the launch of the so-called WeChat Mini shop. Features that will be implemented in brand strategies in the months and years to come.
It cannot be otherwise in the Chinese market, where everything moves very fast and every day there is amazing news. It is, therefore, necessary to monitor all the new features of the App proposed by Tencent. Only in this way, it can be adequately used for one’s digital strategy in China.
GMA is a marketing agency that helps foreign companies grow their business in China. Get in touch with our Wechat experts to get some insights on your project and learn more about our Wechat Services here.
Our Wechat services include:
We can help you with your whole WeChat marketing strategy, from setting up a WeChat official account to influencer marketing and opening a WeChat Pay account for your store in the app. Don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can learn of your needs and goals in China.