WeChat is so much more than a social media platform. As well as being a place for Chinese users to chat with friends, it’s an incredibly powerful tool for businesses looking to connect with a Chinese audience.
From ecommerce to advertising to content campaigns, WeChat offers an endless array of really useful features and functions for brands.
And it all starts with a WeChat Official Account.
What are WeChat Official Accounts?
WeChat Official Accounts are the Chinese equivalent of a brand’s Facebook page.
Once users follow your page, you can send them push notifications and give them useful info about your brand.
You can also use your page to direct followers to your ecommerce website. Or, once you have the right WeChat Official Account, set up a WeChat store to integrate your ecommerce offering into the social platform.
So how do you set up a WeChat Official Account for your brand?
You start by deciding which type of account is right for you.
Brands with a Subscription Account can send one post per day to their followers.
But these posts go into a user’s subscription folder. A user has to actively open the folder to view your content – it doesn’t appear in the standard chat list and users don’t receive push notifications.
Who should use it?
Subscription accounts are popular with bloggers, writers and celebrities. Information-based brands also use this type of account.
Subscription accounts are only available to brands with a Chinese ID or with a local Chinese business license.
If you have a WeChat Service Account and create a post, users will see it at the top of their chat list, along with any posts or messages from their friends.
However, WeChat imposes a limit in a bid to avoid spammy content. This means you can only create four posts per month.
Who should use it?
Brands who want to offer great customer service to their user base. Also, brands who want to create a sales-oriented presence on WeChat.
Service Account users can apply for WeChat Pay and WeChat Store features. They’re also available to international businesses.
WeChat Enterprise Accounts are also known as Corporate Accounts. They’re effectively an internal communication tool for companies.
These accounts aren’t used by the public or by marketers and all users have to be verified internal staff. Enterprise Accounts are used in a similar way to a platform like Slack.
Who should use it?
Brands with a base in China who want a way to manage internal communications by accessing internal chat rooms, video conferencing and file sharing.
Why having a Wechat Official Account is a must in China
For international brands trying to break into China, a WeChat Official Account is an essential first step. Here’s why:
- WeChat is the most popular social media platform in China, with 1.24 billion monthly active users
- The platform offers lots of incredible functions for running innovative advertising and e-commerce campaigns
- WeChat is part of daily life in China, offering payment, internet search, gaming and shopping functions.
Top WeChat Official accounts – How international brands are using WeChat
Many international brands have spotted the incredible potential in a WeChat presence. Here’s how two high-profile brands are using the platform to generate brand awareness and sales.
Case study #1 – Starbucks
Coffee shop chain, Starbucks, used their WeChat account to great effect when launching a new drink to their Chinese customer base.
Combining online and offline marketing, Starbucks placed QR codes on cup sleeves and posters. This made it easy for customers to scan the code and add the Starbucks Official WeChat Account as a friend on the platform.
Customers were incentivized to engage with the brand. Starbuck created a playlist of 26 songs. Customers sent an emoji to tell Starbucks how they were feeling and were then directed to the appropriate song.
Over four weeks, Starbucks gained around 130,000 new WeChat friends and sales of the new drink product reached over $1 million within three weeks.
With a fun and original WeChat campaign, Starbucks gained new followers and boosted sales.
Case study #2 – Burberry
Burberry is a luxury fashion brand from the UK. It chose to celebrate Chinese New Year along with its Chinese audience.
In the run-up to this national holiday, Burberry launched an interactive WeChat marketing campaign. They allowed users to tap, swipe and shake their smartphones to digitally “unwrap” a Burberry gift.
Once they’d done this, users could send a personalized e-card to their WeChat friends, further spreading the campaign and the brand message.
Users who’d unwrapped their digital gift were entered into a prize draw. The prizes were limited edition Burberry Lunar New Year envelopes. Winners were asked to pick up their envelopes from the store, which increased footfall and in-person sales.
As well as showing Chinese WeChat users that they cared about a culturally important festival, Burberry used high-tech WeChat features and a clever marketing strategy to raise brand awareness and drive sales.
How to create a WeChat business account
There are two ways to open a WeChat Official Account.
1. Register directly with WeChat
You can go to the WeChat website, translate the page to English and click Register Now.
After choosing the type of account you want and entering your details, you’ll be able to set up your profile. Your profile must be written in Mandarin so your audience can understand it.
The next stage is verification. For this, you’ll need to hand over relevant business documentation and pay a $99 registration fee.
2. Partner with an agency, like AdChina.io
This is by far the simplest option for international businesses without a base in China. Our local team will set up your WeChat Official Account and manage the translation of your content too.
Tips for making the most of your WeChat Official account
Once you’ve got your WeChat business account up and running, you should aim to maximize its potential. There are a number of strategies you can employ:
- Drive users to your WeChat account with QR codes
- Consistently create high quality and super engaging WeChat content
- Use WeChat advertising tools to promote your brand
- Partner with KOLs to reach new audiences and boost trust in your brand
- Harness the power of a WeChat Mini-Program
- Use WeChat HTML5 campaigns to surprise and engage your user base
- Set up a WeChat store to link your Official Account to your e-commerce offering
Market on WeChat in English with AdChina.io
The language barrier can be a huge challenge for brands wanting to create an effective marketing campaign on WeChat. That’s why having a team who understands the language, the platform and Chinese culture inside out is a must.
Register with AdChina.io and we’ll set up your WeChat account for you. Our first-of-its-kind platform makes it easy for international businesses to advertise in China.
We provide you with a dashboard to manage your campaigns and view campaign performance reports (in English, of course!).
But that’s not all. Our teams based in Shanghai and Oslo will help you to create engaging content for your WeChat Official Account (and any other platforms you choose to advertise and sell on).
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free AdChina.io account today and find out exactly how we can help your brand connect with the Chinese market.