WeChat is one of the most important social media platforms in China. WeChat is not a simple mobile messaging application, it’s also a social media platform which enables video calling, location-based services and a payment system. In addition, it has incorporated tools that allow users to play mini-games, to participate to contests and issue coupons. Consumers use WeChat for collecting information, opinions and comments about products and companies can take advantage of this.
In order to be successful in WeChat, brands have to understand the social platform and how they can include it in their marketing strategies.
Companies can create content and show new products and offers to members. The content should be useful, interesting and relevant in order to attract and keep users. This content could be audio messages, videos, photos and texts.
WeChat acts like a perfect CRM tool due its one to one communication. Its best use is for loyalty programs and customer relationship management because WeChat allows a personal conversation between brands and followers. Provide to users the feel of being unique, be the sole focus of the brand is an effective strategy to engage them.
One of the features of WeChat is that consumers will usually not be able to find you directly via a search and instead they have to do it through QR codes. That’s why the brand’s QR Code should appear in your packaging, shops, social media and website.
It is important to give a reason to the customer for scaning your QR code. A big incentive for companies to use are:
- Offering discounts,
- Virtual VIP card.
It is a great platform to gauge consumer satisfaction because via WeChat, companies can collect users’ feedback. It’s useful for brands to know customers’ opinions of their products, besides companies can present them their new products in order to know their first impressions.
Companies are using promotions to moving sales from online to offline. For that, brands launch promotions online that members can use in the retail location. For example, via WeChat, brands can send an alert to their followers saying that in the next few hours a promotion will take place in their store.
There are some companies that are created WeChat accounts where they sell products directly, but it is necessary have the enough logistics capability to supply the buyers.
When companies are preparing product launches, WeChat becomes a good tool in order to invite specific subscribers according to their browsing history or location.
Wechat has added a payment tool which allow users to purchase products which one-click payment. Customers can use WeChat payment to link their bank cards and receive some benefits and offers.
There are many brands such as Burberry, Pepsi, Starbucks or Coach that are already enjoying the WeChat benefits.
For instance, Burberry has used the app to promote an event around its campaign ‘Art of the Trench’. The followers of the fashion brand had the chance to view a runway show via WeChat and also they could receive information from celebrities attending the show.
Days before to the opening of its new flagship store in Shanghai, Burberry launched a competition to giveaway tickets to participate in the shop opening.
That’s is an example how brands can take advantage of Wechat’s tools in order to increase the users engagement.
The importance of WeChat for brands is increasing. Companies are integrating the social platform into their marketing strategies because they know the influence that exert over consumers.
Register a WeChat account?
So we know Wechat is popular in China, how do we actually register an official account in order to promote our businesses in China?
It’s easy enough to sign up for a personal account WeChat- you can download the app on your mobile from the app store and register with your phone number- but getting a verified WeChat account for business takes a little more effort (as opposed to a verified business account on Sina Weibo here.) Foreign companies can’t directly sign up for a business account, but don’t worry, that just means you have to get a little creative. There are a number of solutions, but the easiest way for a foreign company to get a business account is to ask a deputy company to apply for them. Deputy companies have to have a Chinese business license, and once they’ve registered your business with WeChat.
Alternatively, you can apply as an individual public account first and then try to verify it as a foreign company, or contact Tencent directly (they’ll likely charge you an international fee), but contacting their help email or writing on their forum seems to take quite a while, if you get any response at all.
Like many things in China, getting a foreign verified business account on WeChat is slightly gray, slightly complicated, but ultimately doable. But before going through the registration process, you may want to ask yourself if your business really needs an official account? And are you or your staff ready to promote your business in Chinese via WeChat?
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