1. What is WeChat?
WeChat is a homegrown MIM (mobile instant messaging) app from China. The app is available in Mandarin and English versions on almost all types of smartphones. It offers voice and video calls, voice messages, text messages, and group or one-to-one instant messaging. It is also a social network providing the ability to post photos (like Instagram), microblogs (like Twitter) and status updates to a wall (like Facebook).
WeChat excels in real time, with voice communication ‘walkie talkie’ style, friend radar and even a function that allows you to find (and market to) nearby users. This is the ultimate mobile social platform, offering all the functions people use every day across five different apps rolled into one.
2. Who are the users of WeChat?
By January in 2015, there are 1.1 billion registered WeChat accounts. By May 2015, WeChat has 549 million monthly active users. Almost every Chinese smartphone user uses WeChat and the app is fast developing internationally with 100 million users outside of China.
3. Marketing on WeChat
WeChat launched a series of features aimed at helping companies in reaching customers more easily and more effectively on the app. One of these is subscription account. By creating a subscription account, you can push messages everyday. The message will appear in the official account folder, together with all the other account a user subscribed to. Users will receive a message alert when receiving the message.
There are four types of content that you can publish in subscription messages. They are text, audio, visual and video.
Apart from messages WeChat enables brands to offer a complete brand experience, setting up what can be considered as a full mini-website, divided in two-levels menus, which can serve a series of marketing objectives. Each subscription account can have up to 3 first level menus with up to 6 second level menus under each first level menu.
WeChat subscription account also allows you to link to other website or social media. By pressing ‘Read more’ at the bottom of the message, it will be automatically diverted to another website.
4. WeChat is the most efficient way to reach Chinese customers
But only a few marketing information can be delivered to Chinese customers because Chinese people are much less active on Facebook and twitter.
WeChat has 549 million monthly active users. And the truth is almost every Chinese smartphone user uses WeChat. And 55.2% WeChat users opens it more than 10 times a day. Thus messages send through WeChat can be much more targeted and are almost guaranteed to be read when targeting Chinese customers. Marketing on WeChat is the most efficient way to reach the massive Chinese customers.
5. WeChat for direct communication
WeChat offers direct communication between brands and customers. This is a level of engagement few platforms can offer. Additionally its focus as a one-to-one connection tool, which means there’s increased importance placed on proper brand storytelling, often results in a deeper connection.
6. WeChat messages spread fast
WeChat users can spread the messages they received to their ‘moments wall’, which is the most frequently used social network platform for Chinese people. Friends of the user can read the messages on the user’s ‘moments’ wall and continue to spread the message by sharing to their own walls. And readers can become a fan of the subscription account by the QR code in the message. That’s why a message with interesting content or promotion information can always help drawing lots of traffic and new fans by spreading in WeChat.
7. WeChat for Online to Offline (O2O) marketing
Apart from using WeChat for online social media marketing, we can also use WeChat to create offline interactions. There is a growing trend in China using WeChat to create O2O (online to offline) campaigns-creating engaging content on WeChat will produce offline results. Many brands are offering discounts, coupons, time sensitive sales, location based sales, etc. to attract customers into stores or to attend events.