Launched by Tencent Group, a Chinese tech giant, WeChat had close to 1.27 billion active users in 2021, according to Statista. It remains one of the most popular platforms in the world, and within China, it is especially prevalent. This is partly due to the Great Firewall, which prevents access to several Western sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Google and Wikipedia.
Western companies can use the Chinese super-app in many ways. Compared to other apps, WeChat offers a deeper level of engagement thanks to its wide range of social features. These features have transformed the app into a global platform that attracts the attention of numerous international brands.
If you want to tap into the Chinese market and increase your presence in foreign markets, adopting the region’s most popular app is one of the smartest moves you can make. There are a few features of WeChat that set it further apart from Western social media, and these differences can offer unexpected avenues to grow your business and increase sales.
1. Advertising on the Platform
WeChat offers several ways for brands to advertise their services or products. To advertise on WeChat, you need to first open an account and then apply for advertising rights.
After setting up your account, you can navigate through the advertising channels and choose the most suitable for your brand. You can also integrate several channels for better results.
Below are the advertising avenues offered on the platform:
- WeChat Moments
You can target customers using WeChat moments ads, which are similar to ads that appear on Facebook’s newsfeed. Specific demographics can be targeted, with the platform allowing target users to be defined based on their location, age, education, and interest, among other factors. It all depends on the products or services you deal with.
A WeChat Moments ad contains your company’s logo, a description, and either a video or six images. Additionally, you can include a link in the ad that directs users to your landing page. Research has shown that most users in WeChat access moments as soon as they open the app, making it a valuable tool for advertisers.
- Banner Ad Campaigns
WeChat offers banner ads that are similar to website banners. These ads appear at the bottom of other published articles in the app. You can use these ads to entice people to follow your account, visit your landing page, or buy your products, among other things.
- Partnering with KOLs
According to Statista, KOLs (key opinion leaders) with more than 750,000 followers on WeChat can achieve a 10% click-through rate from their posts regarding a product. Evidently, using KOLs is one of the most effective advertising methods on WeChat.
You can partner with KOLs, including actors, bloggers, and other people and media publications with massive popularity in the app. These leaders can promote or endorse your products or services at a fee. The cost of advertising through each KOL differs and will depend on factors such as the size of their following. There are WeChat publications that function similarly to KOLs but are more like traditional media sites, which allow external companies to advertise on their feed.
Using this method of advertising helps you reach out to a broader audience, even if your account does not have a lot of followers.
2. Using Mini Programs in the App
You can use mini-programs within WeChat, which are also referred to as apps within an app. Users don’t need to download these apps, which streamlines the user experience and lowers the barrier to entry.
You can incorporate these apps into your WeChat account to engage your target audience and also give them more details about your products or services. This offers convenience since your audience doesn’t have to leave your app to access the other apps.
3. Enhancing Your Customer Service
As a brand, you can enhance your customer service using WeChat. You can do this by replying to users’ messages and addressing their concerns or answering questions.
Customer concerns or questions must be addressed within a 48-hour period. This time limit on replies will keep your organization keen to respond quickly, in order to keep a high level of customer service and brand presence on the platform.
Also, you can use automated responses to enhance communication with your customers. By doing so, you ensure that no message goes unanswered even when a real person is not available to respond at that exact moment.
You can, of course, assign customer service agents to your account to handle customer issues. WeChat allows you to have up to 100 agents, and these agents are responsible for replying to your customers’ queries or complaints.
4. Creating Valuable Content
You can create written content on your WeChat account to attract a bigger audience. The secret here is creating high-quality, valuable content that genuinely helps your audience. When you create and share helpful content, users are more likely to engage with it and share it themselves, which gives your brand more exposure and helps you get more followers who could convert into customers down the line. Most WeChat content is longer in form, which may take some adjustment for those used to Western social networks’ bite-sized content.
You can also stream live events to engage with customers and attract them to your brand. This offers the chance for real-time interaction with viewers, and the ability to quickly respond to questions. Cultivating an image as a responsive, invested brand will do wonders for your reputation and eventual conversions.
5. Offering Payment Options Within WeChat
Users can actually send and receive money within WeChat which is quite distinct from western social networks, although not uncommon in China with several competing platforms having the same functionality. In 2014, Tencent introduced WeChat Pay and encouraged users to send virtual red envelopes, a Chinese tradition, to friends and family. 16 million envelopes were sent within 24 hours. Within China, some cities now have cashless economies due to the near-ubiquitous presence of payment methods like WeChat Pay and its competitors. This has helped further integrate WeChat into people’s daily lives and offers increased exposure opportunities for advertisers.
6. Creating a Loyalty Program
You can create a loyalty program on your WeChat account to entice your audience. These programs allow you to reward your followers, whether they be new or existing customers.
Loyalty programs are good for your brand since they give you a competitive advantage and reduce the probability of your customers switching stores.
Using the app, you can reward your customers using gifts and coupons, and send them personalized messages during their special days, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
WeChat is a valuable tool for international brands to reach out and engage with the Chinese market. With its variety of features, you can easily reach out to the Chinese population without worrying about the country’s firewall, interact with them, and advertise your products or services.
As seen above, WeChat offers many opportunities to western companies to reach the Chinese market. However, opening a WeChat account and taking advantage of all its valuable features can be challenging if you haven’t opened one before. Additionally, advertising law in China is complicated and comes with severe fines for misuse.
If you’re interested in applying for a WeChat account but are struggling to navigate the landscape, consider reaching out to us. At Periphery Digital, we have years of experience advertising for our clients through WeChat and other foreign platforms and utilizing our long-lasting partnerships with Chinese firms to promote your brand. We can help you open a WeChat account, navigate its features, and begin growing your brand’s presence overseas. Contact us to learn more.