WeChat is arguably the most popular social media app in China. Launched in 2011, WeChat evolved from an instant-messaging app to a lifestyle app for users in China. It now offers what Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Venmo, Amazon, Uber, Apple Pay and more offer, all in one place.
Key features of WeChat include instant messaging, Moments pages for daily updates (similar to a Facebook newsfeed), different account types, WeChat Pay and mini programs. Mini programs within WeChat can be used without installing them separately on a phone. Mini programs are essentially sub-apps within the WeChat ecosystem. They provide enhanced features to users such as e-commerce, task management and coupons. Brands are able to create their own mini-programs for users—Tesla has a mini-program that enables users to locate charging stations, schedule a test-drive and share their experiences with Tesla cars.
WeChat is everywhere. It’s in restaurants, shopping malls and market stalls. All users have to do is tap on WeChat Pay, scan a QR code and that’s it. It has made general life easier and quicker for users, so it’s understandable why it’s become such an important touchpoint for collecting information.
Given the vast amount of opportunities WeChat presents brands and businesses, how can they begin creating a WeChat marketing strategy?
Why Brands Should Use WeChat Marketing
1.WeChat is the primary communication method in China
For those in mainland China, WeChat is the main method of communication. If you aren’t using it to leverage your digital marketing efforts, you will be using it to communicate with your team or clients. Email is not popular and rarely used in China, so if you are considering an automated marketing strategy, WeChat is the place to go. It is easy to increase brand awareness and engagement with customers and leads.
2. WeChat provides customer services
WeChat Pay is one of the most popular payment systems in China, but WeChat also provides customer services. Having your direct communication method with customers in one place makes it easier for customers to communicate with you, and for you to track queries or questions.
3. WeChat allows for a sophisticatedly integrated business
Due to WeChat being the one-stop social and commerce platform, brands are able to have a seamlessly integrated business strategy. They can communicate with customers, engage audiences and also support any activity with a mini-program. WeChat is a great support channel for all marketing and advertising efforts in China.
How to Make an Effective WeChat Marketing Strategy
One of the fastest and most efficient ways to increase user engagement on WeChat is to launch a creative campaign. Users are always searching for useful and relatable content. If your brand provides useful content such as tool kits, learning materials or whitepapers, you will be adding value to users’ experiences. With this, it is important to provide content only to followers of your account. This makes your material seem exclusive. One method to engage customers is to create a game themed around your brand that users can play.
On some accounts, readers can receive materials only if they share an article on their Moments page or share particular content with friends. This is a great and easy way to increase the reach of your brand on WeChat.
There is strong competition from other businesses marketing on WeChat, so it is vital you create innovative, high-quality content. On top of this, you should consider loyalty programs, promotions and other incentives for your followers.
A strong element of WeChat is QR codes. WeChat users can scan QR codes to find, join groups and more. By creating a brand-specific QR code—perhaps for your general page and specific discount codes—you are making an easy customer journey.
As with any social platform, WeChat has its own influencers. Influencers are KOLs on WeChat, and are a great way to introduce your brand to new users. Influencers have the trust of local audiences and are well aware of what works with their audiences and what doesn’t.
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