Boasting an impressive user base of 1.26 billion active monthly users, WeChat reigns supreme as China’s leading social media platform, making it an indispensable tool for any company seeking to engage Chinese consumers.
WeChat official accounts are a powerful marketing tool for companies looking to reach a Chinese audience. But with so many different types of accounts to choose from, which WeChat account is right for your business? Read on to find out more about the different types of WeChat official accounts and what they can offer your company.
What are WeChat Official Accounts?
WeChat Official Accounts, also known as WeChat Business Accounts or WeChat public accounts, function similarly to Facebook’s brand pages but are tailored specifically for the Chinese market. Just as you might use a Facebook page to connect with your Western audience, the WeChat Official Accounts platform allows individuals or organizations, including celebrities, influencers, businesses, government entities, and media outlets, to engage with the vast Chinese WeChat user base.
Having a WeChat Business Account serves as an excellent entry point for international brands looking to tap into the Chinese market. Chinese users prefer interacting with authentic accounts, making WeChat official accounts their go-to source for information and product purchases.
With your own WeChat Official Account, you can amass followers, create targeted content, direct traffic to your eCommerce platform, and even send push notifications for your marketing campaigns. The platform offers various features to engage your audience effectively:
- Broadcast Messaging: Send group messages to your followers.
- Comment Management: Manage comments on your official account.
- Analytics: Gain insights into your account’s performance.
- Direct Messaging: Reach out to Chinese users individually using WeChat’s direct-messaging app.
It’s important to note that not all these features are available for every account type. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your business needs and available resources when selecting the appropriate account type for your brand. In the subsequent sections, we will explore the various account types and determine which one best suits your business requirements.
Why is it Important to Have a WeChat Official Account?
Having a WeChat Official Account is essential for the success of your brand in the market. You might wonder why you need an official account when a regular account seems sufficient. The answer lies in the plethora of marketing tools and the level of trust you can establish with your WeChat official account followers.
Furthermore, you’ll be competing with numerous brands in China that are already leveraging official accounts for their business. To avoid being at a disadvantage, creating a WeChat business account for your brand in China becomes crucial.
WeChat Official Account is an Indispensable Marketing Tool
Official accounts offer your brand an organic channel for growth, given that Chinese users do not have access to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Through your official account, you can effectively reach your audience.
Bulk messaging is an excellent feature available exclusively to WeChat official accounts, enabling you to broadcast brand updates and engage with a broader audience more efficiently. This feature is particularly advantageous for eCommerce as it allows for a targeted approach to reaching your audience.
Chinese Consumers Prefer Official Accounts for Brand Information
The check badge granted to all official accounts by WeChat reinforces their authenticity, making them the preferred choice for Chinese users seeking real and trustworthy accounts. Official accounts act as substitutes for websites, providing users with crucial information such as contact details, product offerings, brand values, and supporting content like articles, images, and videos.
While official accounts primarily interact with existing followers, they also play a role in attracting new followers and contributing to the overall success of your brand on WeChat. Once users subscribe to your WeChat business account, they will receive notifications for each brand promotion campaign you initiate, further enhancing their engagement with your brand.
Differences Between All the WeChat Accounts
When selecting a WeChat Official Account, various options cater to different organizational needs and availability. As a brand, you can choose from two main types of official accounts: service accounts and subscription accounts. The most suitable choice for your brand will be determined by your organization’s nature and the specific types of accounts available.
What is a Subscription Account on WeChat?
WeChat subscription accounts are ideal for brands that focus on content creation and effective brand communication. Media outlets and magazines, for example, utilize WeChat subscription accounts to keep their followers updated on their latest content. These accounts function as a daily source of content for users, akin to a newspaper or Facebook’s news feed feature.
When users subscribe to your official account, they can find it under the WeChat subscription tab, where it is grouped with other subscription accounts. Unlike service accounts, subscription accounts do not send push notifications for new content postings. Instead, you can publish content once a day, with the option to post up to 6 articles in each publication. These updates will be sent to your followers’ subscription folder without triggering push notifications.
For content-centric brands or small businesses seeking to expand in China, WeChat subscription accounts present an excellent choice. Though they may not have as much visibility as service accounts, subscription accounts offer the advantage of publishing more content for your followers. It’s worth noting that subscription accounts are only available to brands with a Chinese business license.
Who Should You Choose a Wechat Service Account?
WeChat service accounts offer a robust set of features, making them an ideal choice for eCommerce businesses and service-oriented brands. With a service account, you can efficiently manage customer relationships, integrate WeChat APIs, and gather valuable data from your followers.
Verified WeChat service accounts to gain access to advanced features such as WeChat Pay integration and the ability to set up a dedicated WeChat store. These enhancements elevate your WeChat business account’s appeal to customers, making shopping and payments more convenient for your followers.
Additionally, verified service accounts can leverage other advanced APIs like instant customer service, GPS, payments, multiple QR codes per accounts, and HTML pages.
Compared to subscription accounts, WeChat service accounts enjoy higher visibility due to their ability to send push notifications every time you publish content on your wall. They are prominently displayed on your followers’ dashboard, rather than being nestled in a separate folder, leading to more frequent interactions.
However, similar to subscription accounts, service accounts have limitations in their publication frequency. You can only publish four times a month, with six articles allowed in each publication, which is less than what subscription accounts offer.
Additional Types of WeChat Official Accounts
Beyond the well-known service and subscription accounts, which excel in promotion and brand awareness, there are two other notable types: Enterprise Accounts (WeChat Work) and WeChat mini-programs.
WeChat Work primarily serves as a communication tool designed for companies seeking efficient internal communication. As Chinese users were using WeChat for both business and personal purposes, WeChat introduced this distinct service tailored for business-oriented interactions.
On the other hand, WeChat mini-programs are more than just public accounts; they form an entire ecosystem of mini-apps within WeChat. Companies leverage these mini-programs to bolster their brand promotion, share updates, and facilitate sales through in-app stores with the WeChat payment option. For comprehensive insights into WeChat mini-programs, you can explore more detailed information on this topic.
Setting Up a WeChat Business Account: Requirements and Options
Creating a WeChat business account may seem straightforward, but international brands face specific challenges due to certain prerequisites. To register a WeChat official account, you’ll need the following documents:
- Chinese business license
- Chinese ID linked to a WeChat Payment Account
Brands with a Chinese legal entity have an advantage, as they can submit a scanned copy of their Chinese business license, pay a verification fee of RMB 300, and provide a Chinese ID with a WeChat payment account.
For international brands without these documents, there are two alternatives to complete their WeChat official account:
- Register a local Chinese business license: Some brands can create an overseas WeChat official account using a Chinese commercial license, such as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE). However, this method requires significant investment and time.
- Use a third-party business license: The most popular option for foreign brands is to use a third-party business license. Although affordable, it comes with limitations, as the account cannot be handled independently, and the third-party name will be associated with the official account.
Another approach is to use your own international business license, but approval is not guaranteed and can take up to 3 months, compared to a week with a Chinese business license. Additionally, the annual registration fee for an overseas WeChat official account is around USD 99, more expensive than the Chinese counterpart.
Considering these differences, it is advisable to find a Chinese business partner or register your business in China to open your WeChat official account. The steps for creating your Official account can be found here.
Engage a Professional Agency to Create Your Accounts and Thrive in China’s Business Landscape
At GMA, we offer comprehensive support for your WeChat journey. From registering and creating your WeChat official account to managing it and devising a successful marketing strategy for entering the Chinese market, we’ve got you covered.
As an international team of 70+ professionals based in Shanghai, we understand the challenges and intricacies of doing business in this unique market. We are eager to learn more about your project and provide the expertise you need.
Get in touch with us now to inquire about WeChat official accounts or any other information you may require. Let’s make your China expansion a resounding success together!