How to use WeChat

How to use WeChat for Business: A Best Practice Guide for Digital Marketers

With over 1 billion registered user accounts, WeChat is one of the most powerful tools for digital marketers looking to build awareness for their brand amongst Chinese consumers and to nurture them into loyal customers.

WeChat has one of the most active userbases of all social media platforms in China with 877 million people logging in every day and 61% checking their account for updates at least 10 times a day. This level of consumer attention makes WeChat an excellent channel for foreign brands to leverage as part of their Chinese digital strategy, as consistent, quality marketing content will go a long way to reach an engaged audience on China’s super app.

How to use WeChat for business: China digital marketing best practice

Configure your WeChat menu and set up your auto-responses

Once you have created your WeChat official account it’s important to spend a little bit of time to configure your account in line with Chinese online users’ expectations. The three main areas you will have to consider are your welcome message to new followers, your keyword responses and your menu configuration.  

Welcome message – Your welcome message is a customisable greeting to welcome new followers to your account. It should include a brief thank you message in addition to information about what your newly gained follower can expect from your official account such as regular sales promotions, exclusive discounts and access to branded content.

Keyword response – Your keyword response sends automated replies to your followers based on keywords and are best leveraged when combined with your welcome message, encouraging people to further explore information that is most relevant to them. It’s as simple as outlining the rules you’ve set up to point them in the right direction – not dissimilar to how you would streamline customer enquiries through a call centre menu.

Example of a Welcome Message & Keyword Response
 
Welcome message + account benefits + keyword reply rules

This account uses keyword response rules to further define different follower groups (e.g. student/agency/parent), so they can reply with more targeted messages.

Translation of the example:

  1. Student
  2. Study agency
  3. Parents
  4. UNSW students in study
  5. UNSW alumni
  6. Others

Please input 1,2,3,4,5,or 6 in your reply, thanks!

How to use WeChat for Business

Menu – Your menu is displayed at the bottom of the chat interface of your official account, this feature enables users to easily access your branded content and articles. You can include some basic information in your customised menu to help your followers gain a better understanding of your brand, as well as your products or services. It’s best to segment this content into three groups that follow the typical customer journey of Awareness (e.g. About Us), Consideration (e.g. Products or Whitepapers) and Decision & Loyalty (e.g. Contact us).

Develop a WeChat content marketing plan

When focusing on WeChat content marketing targeted at your Chinese audience, it’s important to construct a conversation with them, rather than overloading them with irrelevant information. With this in mind, you should creatively look for ways to engage with your consumers by publishing inspirational, trendy and useful posts on a regular basis to create a vibrant brand image.

What to Post
According to the 2016 WeChat Impact Report, users prefer to see images, text and short videos on their feed and they are more likely to share useful, interesting or emotionaly touching content. Work towards what your WeChat audience wants to see and it will enable you to maintain a strong connection with your consumers.

What kind of articles will you share on WeChat? What kind of articles
What type of content do you like to see on WeChat moments? What type of content

In addition to diversity in your content types and formats, you will also need to ensure that you’re covering a broad range of content categories in your WeChat official account operations. While the exact content may vary depending on your industry and overall marketing initiatives, there are some basic content types that work across the board. What’s more, these types of posts can be leveraged in your customized menu and keywords response. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Brand information: Brand history, story, news and official announcements, product/services introduction and USPs.
  • Tips: How to’s, step-by-step guides, FAQs, research paper/whitepapers
  • Lifestyle Information: Lifestyle posts that relate to your brand, such as travel recommendations, shopping tips, personal grooming advice, and so on.
  • Offers: Follower benefits, online/offline promotions and campaigns, special offers.
  • Community Sharing: Leverage user generated content about your brand by collating it into a post published on your WeChat official account

 

When to Post
It’s no use to spend all that time developing an engaging video or post, if there’s no one to see it. Therefore, make sure you know when your audience is most active so that it can garner as much attention as possible. We suggest posting on the weekend, when users are evidently more active with the best timing of the day either in the morning (from 6am to 9am), during lunch (1pm) or late evening (8pm to 11pm).

% of WeChat official Account articles published vs. reading rate during a week
When to Post
% of WeChat official Account articles published vs. reading rate during a day
When to Post

You should also factor in important Chinese holidays and popular seasonal events into your content creation plan. Riding on the social media buzz these happenings tend to generate can help you to further promote your brand and increase awareness for your products or services.

Chinese holiday / vacation calendar typically relavent to social media
calendar

Be Prompt with your Replies

Utilising the chat features of WeChat is just as important as posting and so it’s integral that you respond to direct messages from followers who are keen to learn more about the product. Unlike western social media platforms, one-on-one conversations can only be initiated by followers. There is a 48 hour time limit before you are no longer able to reply, so make sure to respond quickly and precisely in order to capitalise on potential sales opportunites.

Social media in China can be a scary and confusing space if you aren’t somewhat familiar with the Chinese market. This guide is a great first step to understanding the immense impact WeChat can have on your Chinese digital marketing strategies. However, don’t be afraid to experiment and open yourself up to learn new things on your journey as you engage with your Chinese audience on WeChat.

Free Guide
WeChat marketing 101

If you are looking to market and sell to Chinese consumers online, there’s simply no way around WeChat. Learn how to build awareness, engagement and loyalty on China’s super app.