Thursday, 29 March 2018 - 3 minute read

Looking for an open door?

Thanks to WeChat, you don’t even have to leave your chair to communicate with more than 1 billion active monthly users in the world’s second largest economy.

You do need to come up with a solid marketing strategy fueled by inside knowledge and cross-cultural awareness. (Because you definitely don’t want to repeat the same mistake Dolce & Gabbana made.)

Welcome to WeChat marketing 101

Already familiar with the WeChat basics? Just skip ahead to the next part.

WeChat (Weixin or “micro-message” in Mandarin Chinese, sounds like wee-sin) is a multi-purpose social media platform developed by Tencent.

The WeChat interface might remind you of Whatsapp, but the functionalities extend far beyond messaging. You can:

  • Share on a timeline (similar to Facebook)
  • Transfer money
  • Top-up your phone
  • Order a cab
  • Buy movie tickets
  • Order food
  • Book a plane ticket

Marketing on WeChat has grown along with the popularity of the app. But that doesn’t make it into a lead generation machine.

Before you get started, there are 3 key choices to make.

Choices with a long-term impact. Choices we’ve discussed in detail with Brandigo, our partner agency in Shanghai, China.

1. Avoid being in the subscription folder

WeChat offers 2 types of accounts for companies that want to advertise: a service account and a subscription account.

The difference?

  • A service account allows you to post max. 4 times per month but gets your message into the audience’s personal sphere.
  • A subscription account offers unlimited broadcasting in a separate, corporate-dominated environment.

The right choice for your business depends entirely on your goals. Is a constant stream of content crucial to your marketing strategy? Go for the subscription account.

Do you believe in quality over quantity? We do too. That’s why we typically advise our clients to open a service account.

2. Avoid taking an international account

Weixin and WeChat are similar versions of the same app: the first is meant for Chinese users, while WeChat is reserved exclusively for international users. (And Chinese users are not able to access international content.)

If you want to reach the Chinese market, it’s essential that you have to have an official business account on Weixin. And that means obtaining a Chinese business license...

Good news: there is a workaround. You can depend on a local partner or agency – with a business license, of course – to set up your domestic account. (Our international E3 network spans the whole world, including China.)

In short: yes, we can set up a domestic business Weixin account for you.

3. Avoid going at it alone

You’ve set up your domestic subscription account and started creating attractive and culturally-aware content? Great! We love it when a plan comes together.

Now to find some readers.

Follower acquisition on WeChat is different than we’re used to in Europe. (What did you expect?) For instance, there is no such thing as sponsored content. Users have to choose to follow you. That’s why KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are essential to share your content and build up a loyal audience.

When choosing which KOLs to work with, carefully consider if there is a good fit with your brand and if their audience overlaps with your target audience.

Checkmarks across the board? Now you have all the tools you need to share your message with millions of users halfway across the world.

Ready to launch your brand on WeChat?

We can help you get started! Get in touch with our digital marketing specialists.

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