How to harness the power of WeChat

WeChat is an incredible smartphone app that allows companies to reach over one billion registered users in China and over three million users in Australia. Every day in Australia, over 2000 new users sign up to WeChat.

It’s a growing platform – and a very important one. What is truly amazing is that many WeChat users spend an average of over 70 minutes a day within the app (if not more).

In China, WeChat fans use it for wide range of reasons, such as: restaurant bookings, booking flights, making investments, shopping, paying bills, hailing taxis, transferring money, sharing moments on their walls, and much more.

Companies are using WeChat to build personal interactions with consumers through interesting, relevant, and informative content, which can lead to huge business opportunities.

WeChat offers a unique way to access the Chinese speaking market – both in Australia and China. BUT – it is vitally important to understand how to be visible on WeChat, and to understand the different types of WeChat accounts.

Setting up WeChat

WeChat allows for different types of accounts – including personal and official. For a company, a WeChat official account is more appropriate. There are two types of official accounts: service and subscription Accounts.

The differences between service and subscription accounts:

Service accounts – enhanced functions for companies to provide prompt response and service:

Allows four broadcast messages/month, displayed alongside personal contacts

Customised menu supported for all service account
s

Followers receive push notifications

Payments API supported for all verified service accounts, including access to develop and manage a company e-store

Subscriptions accounts – Basic functions for brands to spread content to subscribers:

Allows one broadcast message/day, displayed in “Subscription Accounts” folder

Customised menu available only after verification

Push notification available only after verification

Does not support payment functions

In addition, Tencent (the owners of WeChat) recently introduced WeChat enterprise accounts (which are similar in format to an intranet set-up), WeChat index (similar to Google Trends) and Mini Programs (which work like independent apps inside WeChat).

WeChat features change regularly – so we recommend keeping on top of relevant blogs and newsletters for updates. One of our personal favourites is ChinaSkinny.

How can international businesses use WeChat?

Before deciding whether WeChat is the right tool for your business, it’s crucial you understand – or work with someone who understands – the guidelines and rules. Company accounts not based in China need to be verified and approved by Tencent.

Once a company has set up a WeChat account, they can start using it to establish and foster relationships with customers. WeChat allows enables companies to manage:

Broadcast messaging: To message all followers or selected followers categorised by geography, gender, or a custom group

Auto reply: Set a welcome message, reply to keywords, and default reply to any other messages

Direct messaging: Send text responses to individual follower’s messages

Follower management: Businesses can view profile data, group followers, add aliases etc

Content management: Upload images, audio, and video files, and create multimedia cards

Analytics, enabling companies to source detailed reports on followers, content engagement, message volume, and much more

There are many applications for WeChat, and if a company implements a well thought out WeChat strategy, it can become a powerful marketing and sales tool.

How Blue Planet PR can help

At Blue Planet PR, we have in-house WeChat experts who are fluent in written and spoken Mandarin and Cantonese, and who understand the logistics of Chinese social media platforms, including WeChat and Weibo. We have marketing partners in Hong Kong and China who can provide local resources and know-how (including access to local influencers); and we are also able to help with Daigou (sales agent) marketing.

If you’d like to know more, contact me (Sophie Blue) at sophie.blue@blueplanetpr.com.au.

Happy WeChatting!