WeChat For Business – What Marketers Need To Know

wechat business

Are you wondering which WeChat Business account type is best suited for your brand’s marketing needs? With over 1.2 billion monthly active users WeChat currently has over half of the entire Chinese population using the platform. 

WeChat users actively use the platform to chat with friends, make voice and video calls, play games, split lunch bills, and even make online payments. You can think of it as a ‘one-stop’ shop for social and transactional interactions in China. The multi-purpose social media, messaging and payment app is one of the top 10 social networks in the world.

Businesses can open their own Wechat official account or partner with third party accounts for their marketing. The advantage of having your brand’s own official business account on WeChat is that you can post your own content and interact directly with your customers and followers. 

Read – Your complete guide to WeChat Official account

AdChina.io has helped hundreds of brands reach the China market. To see how AdChina.io can help you get started with advertising on top channels hassle-free create a free account today.

What Is A WeChat Business Account?

WeChat business accounts are official accounts available to media, government organizations, invididuals/celebrities, and businesses. Through a WeChat business account brands can reach out to a huge audience and raise brand awareness in an effective way. Think of it as your brand’s page where users can find all important information about your business, view and interact with your posts and send direct messages.

There are three types of WeChat Business Accounts – Subscriptions Accounts, Service Accounts and Enterprise Accounts.

Which of the 3 WeChat Official Accounts Fits You Best?

How you plan to utilize your business account to market your products/services will determine which account is best suited for your business. One important thing to keep in mind is that overseas companies can only register for a Service Account. For a Subscription Account or Enterprise Account, your company must be registered in China.

Let’s explain how these three account types are different.

1. Service Account 

WeChat Business Service Account enables you to carry out all the functions needed to market your business and products. Some of its interesting features include customer service, API integrations, e-commerce, and CRM.

Once you set-up a service account, you can get verified WeChat official account to get access to more features. Verified service accounts are eligible to register for WeChat Pay and can also set up a WeChat Store. Your business account also gets access to 9 advanced APIs to help you create specific apps (mini programs) for functions such as Instant Customer Care, GPS, payments, WeChat advertising and the like. 

Read – How to Create and Sell with a WeChat Store for your Business

WeChat Service accounts are best suited for businesses that have a large audience or huge customer databases. For example, hotels and airlines can benefit immensely from building integrated booking systems within the app. 

Read – How to set up WeChat Pay as a foreign business

With this account, your brand can publish upto 4 times every month. Every post can have 1-6 articles. Every time you publish a post, it appears as a push notification in the chat list of your followers. Even though the posting frequency of this account is lower as compared to Subscription account, these push notifications boost the visibility of the posts. 

Service accounts also let you respond to the messages of any users that contact you. When any user messages you, it’s referred to as ‘customer service messages’. The communication with such messages are not deducted from your brand’s monthly message limit. However, you must respond to these messages within 48 hours.

Some other features that you get access to with this account type are – Geo-location services, HTML 5 campaigns, WeChat mini-programs, Voice recognition, URL shortening and Multiple QR codes per account. 

Read – WeChat QR Codes: How To Use Them For Business

WeChat Service accounts appear in the friend’s chat screen. On the other hand, WeChat Subscription accounts appear in a separate subscriptions folder. 

AdChina.io has helped hundreds of brands reach the China market. To see how AdChina.io can help you get started with advertising on top channels hassle-free create a free account today.

2. Subscription Accounts

WeChat subscription accounts are best suited for businesses focussed on information and brand communication. They are like ‘daily news feeds’, making them ideal for community engagement and relationship building.

With this account type, businesses can publish once a day with 1-6 articles each time. All the updates are sent to the users’ subscription folder but without any push notifications. The time of publishing plays an important role as the most recent articles appear at the top. The daily limit of one post a day ensures that users’ subscriptions folder doesn’t get cluttered with too many updates.

Even with more publishing frequency as compared to Service accounts, the visibility of content from Subscription accounts is limited as they are nested in the subscription folder.

Read – WeChat Group: How to Use Them for Business

This is the only WeChat business account type that is open to individuals, such as bloggers and celebrities. Both other account types require a company business license. Subscription Accounts are best suited for content-based businesses like media publications. 

3. Enterprise Accounts

An Enterprise account enterprise-level office management application like Slack or Workplace by Facebook. It’s primarily used by corporations for internal communication and management. This account is not available to the public or marketers. The users of any corporate account are limited to the verified internal staff. 

The account offers the same communication experience as WeChat. However, with third-party APIs, these accounts can add multiple internal management functions. Some of the features commonly used by Enterprise accounts are internal chat rooms, video conferencing, and resource sharing.

Enterprise accounts have high visibility to their users. For security reasons, each user is manually added by the account owner by entering their name, phone number and WeChat ID.

Enterprise version of WeChat App, also known as WeChat Work or WeCom, is growing quickly. In 2020, 80,000 enterprise accounts signed up on WeChat, which was year-on-year growth of 400%.

Read – WeChat Work (WeCom) Guide

How to Set Up A WeChat Business Account?

In order to set your WeChat Business Account, you will either need either of these depending on whether your business is based in China or not.

  • Chinese Business License obtained by a local company or WFOE (Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise) 
  • Chinese ID of a Chinese National with a WeChat payment account

However, AdChina.io can help you set a WeChat Business Account even if you don’t meet the above-mentioned requirements. 

Option 1 – Register a company in China

The business license required to set up a WeChat Business account can be obtained by setting up a company in China. However, this process can be quite time taking. In case you don’t want to go forward with this method, AdChina.io can help you set up the account easily.

Setting up a company in China is unnecessary if you want to hire over five workers in China, receive payments without paying commissions to intermediaries, or open a physical office/factory. For the rest of the scenarios, there are easier alternatives. 

Option 2 – Use a third-party business license

Each company registered in China can open upto 5 WeChat Business Accounts. So, some of the companies are willing to let other businesses use the accounts available on their license for extra cash. The price can vary from a couple hundred to thousand USD.

However, this method has its own risk as your account is tied to another business license. It’s important to choose a reliable partner for long term safety of your account. The good news is that WeChat business accounts are now transferable. So, if you ever decide to open your own company in China, you can transfer the account from the third-party to your own WeChat account.

Also, even while using third party accounts you always have the option to add your business details to the account such as name, logo and description of products/services. The name of the account sponsor only appears on the information page of the account. 

Use your own international business license

It’s also possible to use your existing business license outside China to open a WeChat business account. WeChat started accepting applications from foreign businesses in 2018, but the process is complicated and involves a lot of documents. 

Even after meeting the requirements and submitting required documents it’s not certain that you’ll get the account. WeChat does the evaluation on a case-to-case basis as it’s very strict in its approval of international companies without a Chinese business license.

Due to its large user base, WeChat is incredibly careful with what types of people or companies it allows to register accounts and publish content on the platform.

WeChat Business Account – Case Study – US Component Company

A medium-large size US medical component company consulted AdChina.io to devise a strategy for steady growth in China’s B2B market. The goal was to generate brand awareness beyond distributors and boost revenue with marketing campaigns.

However, the challenge was that their brand wasn’t particularly known in China. Their in-house marketing team had a very limited knowledge of the Chinese market and their ad agency didn’t specialize in Chinese advertising. 

In 2020, they partnered with AdChina.io to establish suitable digital presence in China, build brand awareness and drive relevant B2B leads from China.

One key component of their campaign in China was to launch their WeChat official account, and run advertising campaigns on WeChat to attract followers and generate B2B sales leads.

Results – 

  1. Completed the WeChat Official Account registration, Baidu advertising account application and Chinese Website domain name registration and ICP in one month for the US company.
  2. Reached nearly 1 million audience who are interested in the specific field on WeChat through the first advertising campaign on WeChat.
  3. Generated highly relevant followers and sales leads on WeChat at a cost 12% lower than industry average.
  4. Ranked on the top 5 search results on Baidu for the prioritized keywords in 5 months SEO.

AdChina is your partner of choice to enter China’s digital market with a WeChat Business Account

Are you ready to plan and launch your targeted campaigns in China? Our team of experts at AdChina.io can help you setup your brand’s business accounts and ad accounts to run the most effective WeChat marketing campaigns! 

AdChina.io is the first of its kind platform that helps international businesses advertise in China easily. We’ll help you plan, launch, optimize, and scale your campaigns across each of the biggest channels in China — all with just one tool!

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