WeChat in China nowadays is much more than a social networking platform for everybody. It is also a channel where business firms have the opportunity to meet WeChat’s 809 million monthly active users and engage in branding and promotional activities. In fact, WeChat is also an exclusive platform because users can only see what they subscribe to and follow. In order to maximize a company’s marketing campaign on WeChat, having as many followers as possible will be the key to success. The question is; HOW can you attract Chinese fans?
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How to boost your fan base on Wechat!
Based on our experience in the marketing industry, we now present 10 tips to successfully boost your following on WeChat.
Innovation is a crucial part of all marketing campaigns in any industry. To attract attention from an online community, businesses must be creative in what they do.
Uniqlo “Style your Life” Campaign
One successful example is Uniqlo in China. To boost their numbers of WeChat followers, Uniqlo launched a campaign, called “Style Your Life” to connect with customers in their brick-and-mortar shops and online stores. Uniqlo placed monitors in-store to take photos with backgrounds in Tokyo or London for customers after they try on different outfits which are then sent through Wechat, where people can share it. Online shoppers can also join this campaign by taking a selfie with Uniqlo’s outfit and sharing then it on WeChat. This Style Your Life campaign successfully increased their number of followers on WeChat. They had 400,000 at the beginning of the campaign and over 1 million six months later. In addition to this success on WeChat, the campaign also increased the sales of key items of clothing by 30 % in stores and online.
Shareable content is an alternative to the word of mouth which in essence makes the content become more trustworthy and visible on the internet. A company should adjust the content they share based on the culture and followers’ interests. We live in an era where visual and video content is much more effective than lengthy text.
On McDonald’s WeChat account, you see that they share interesting content with customized menus alongside Happy Meal and Special Toy promotions. This kind of content includes many different elements that could successfully get the attention of its followers and encourage them to share it in their social circle. Involving children in this way is a powerful marketing tool, especially now the one-child policy has been lifted in China.
Influencers & other Wechat Accounts
Of course, there are some short cuts to boost your WeChat followers. A business can effectively do it through a partnership with other WeChat account owners who have a significant number of followers like celebrities (might be quite expensive) or KOL (could be cheaper). Through these Key Opinion Leader, your business account can be exposed greatly to the public which will boost your followers quickly. Check the following promotions which WeChat did with celebrities to boost its own user base.
Promote on other social platforms and apps
Spreading out your official accounts on other Chinese social platforms where your targeting community often visit is key. Platforms like Weibo and Q Zone are worth building a presence on. Weibo is a more open social platform than WeChat, it allows all users to see posts without having to subscribe or follow an official account. The most effective way is for businesses to engage in cross-promotion on Weibo and Wechat to increase their visibility on social media. Embedding QR codes in content to link between different social media platforms is a good way of doing this.
Develop loyalty programs
One of the useful WeChat features for marketing is that one can employ a membership/ loyalty program with their WeChat official account. It allows business or brands to convert their followers into members. Here is some advice for your loyalty program:
- Offer Membership/ VIP cards via WeChat to increase account followers
- Send out exclusive promotions/ marketing news for branding
- Rewards (E-coupons) encourage more purchases
- Partner with other companies to provide all-inclusive offers
Knowing the demographics and identifying your followers will help companies to better communicate with followers. Brands can start up a certain interesting conversation group via their official account where they can do specific promotion in an exclusive group chat. This tactic will increase the effectiveness of any brand’s marketing campaign since they understand the interests of their target audience. Combining the techniques of targeting groups and approaching individuals is effective, WeChat allows brands to be creative when interacting with followers.
“Say it with Starbucks” Campaign
Starbucks in 2017 launched a campaign called “Say it with Starbucks”. Starbucks created a specific partnership with WeChat in order to allow the users to send a little present/message via WeChat by offering a cup of Starbuck’s drinks. Starbucks is a very good example of how to leverage WeChat to its maximum. they launched new, relevant and creative campaigns every year through the most used Chinese social media.
Events can be very broad, including trade shows, conferences, new product releases, it is a very good opportunity to broadcast your brands combined WeChat activities. A simple series of topics with QR codes can explain more detail about your brand than you would imagine. It is also a cheaper way to promote your official accounts while holding events to attract media attention.
Another way could be using WeChat features to promote your special events. Like the campaign held by Burberry for Chinese New Year, the brand invited its Wechat followers to send a special scarf through a little animated image with a personalized message.
Burberry Campaign on WeChat, users will shake and open the gift from their loved ones
Same Campaign on Youtube
WeChat mini-programs are like little apps that are embedded in the WeChat ecosystem. These are very useful as they are way easier to create compared to HTML5 pages, and it also is a cheaper alternative to test the market for the brand.
Mini-programs can be anything that the brand wants it to be: an e-shop, just an introductive page, a game,…
A great example of the use of this program is Coco, the Chinese drink company, they created a program that allows users to order on their phone when they’re in the shop to avoid queuing.
Coco’s Mini Program – on the left “order myself” page – on the right your order number to pick up the drink at the counter
QR codes are a very effective invention which brings businesses and customers closer than ever before. There are some important things you can learn to maximize the features of QR codes to further your marketing campaign on WeChat.
- Publish QR codes on your sites and social media
- Add WeChat QR codes to company newsletters/PR
- Include QR Codes on product packages
- Run WeChat marketing in print
If your company is involved in any type of sales directly, why not consider integrating your payment method with WeChat pay. It will enhance the users’ experience greatly with the payment simple and at their fingertips, they stay within the app for the whole process. This feature is used by a massive amount of WeChat users in China in their daily lives. From the farmer market to the department store, WeChat pay has totally changed payment behavior in China.
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