How To Use Wechat For Marketing In China
WeChat is a multipurpose platform popular in China and other emerging markets. It combines instant messaging, social media, shopping, and much more in a single mobile app.
With over 1 billion active users per month, it’s by far the most popular app with Chinese smartphone users.
In fact, WeChat’s owner (Tencent) is one of the world’s largest and most valuable companies. For a short time, it even surpassed Facebook by market value at over $500 billion.
With 60% of users opening the app 10+ times per day, it’s no surprise that businesses are taking notice. Many rely on WeChat for most or all their customer acquisition. But why should you as an activity provider use WeChat?
With China’s restrictions on Twitter and Facebook, WeChat is likely the best way to reach people online. So if you’re after the Chinese market, it’s a channel with huge potential. To be effective with marketing on WeChat, you need to know the key business uses and the details around getting started. In this article, we’ll look at how to use WeChat for business as it relates to the leisure industry.
How to use WeChat for business
There are 4 main things to keep in mind when considering WeChat for business.
- First off, you need a WeChat Official Account.
- Second, localizing your content for the Chinese market is a must.
- Third, you need to understand the app’s features and relevant business functionality.
- Finally, you can also advertise on WeChat.
Now let’s look at each of these points in turn.
1. Create a WeChat Official Account
WeChat Official Accounts are like Facebook pages with a few key differences. Most WeChat Official Accounts are either Service or Subscription ones. While Subscription accounts let you post content more often, Service accounts give you more functions. Below you can find a comparison between the two by 31Ten:
For tour and activity providers, we’d recommend choosing a Service account. The main reasons are the ability to see the user’s location (so you can target only relevant people) and the way your messages are displayed. They will show up in the users’ chat section as messages from friends allowing you to provide a more personal experience.
The downside is you can only send up to 4 messages per month. Use that to your advantage and ensure your communication is strategic and relevant.
It will take about 2 weeks to review your WeChat Official Account application. You can see the information required here and apply at the official sign up page. Once you set up your email and password, you can check the application progress online.
2. Localizing your content
Before looking at functions you can use, it’s worth noting one thing: you will need to localize (i.e. translate) your content. If no one at your company speaks Mandarin, then it’s best to find a translator, agency or an online service to do it for you. You can try out places like UpWork and find someone to translate your content from as little as €10/h.
You also need to adjust your content for the local market. That means using long, informative articles with a lot of attention to detail. The Chinese consumers will appreciate you going the extra mile and creating an impressive online presence.
Recommended for you: 5 Key Facts You Need to Know About the China Outbound Tourism Market
3. WeChat functions for business
Now that we’ve cleared this out of the way, we can go into some of the more prominent functions for business.
- Content distribution – you can promote all sorts of content on WeChat such as text, video, and audio. When sending messages to users, they can reply with specific keywords that trigger replies from your page. That’s a great way to avoid sending irrelevant information to your prospects.
- Moments – the WeChat version of the Facebook news feed. It’s often where users discover your articles and your account page. As the primary way to acquire followers, it’s a crucial feature to keep your audience engaged.
- Location-based marketing – Service accounts let you see a user’s location which is great if you want to target people nearby. Of course, you should avoid unsolicited promotion. A good way to provide value while plugging in your tour or activity is sending curated lists of cool things to do in or around your city.
- Community engagement – as with other social networks, providing a personalized service can do wonders. Also, you can use WeChat to promote giveaways and get new followers. If the person who localizes your content is good with social media, it could make sense to take over this role too.
4. Advertising on WeChat
You have several ways to advertise on WeChat. These include banner ads, Moments and Key Opinion Leader (KOL) promotions.
Banner ads can be great if you want to visually highlight your activity and trigger an emotion. They are priced based on performance which makes them a good way to test and refine your proposition. The downside is banner ads are placed at the bottom of Official Accounts so they get less visibility overall.
Moments is a powerful way to advertise on WeChat. Aside from text and photos, you can include videos which appear in the user’s Moments section, similar to Facebook ads in your news feed. While they are placed in a central and prominent place, they can be more expensive than banner ads.
How ads look like on WeChat. Source: The Startup Medium Publication
KOL promotions leverage the authority of industry influencers. The price can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the person you’re approaching and their fan base. The important thing here is to find a relevant influencer which can be difficult. Another option is partnering with travel agencies who already have a decent presence on WeChat.
If you decide to advertise on WeChat, a good strategy is starting with simple banner ads which are paid for based on performance. This will allow you to refine your proposition which you can later use in Moments, especially if you have good videos highlighting your tour or activity. In the meantime, you could do some research and try to find relevant influencers to endorse your activity.
In this article, we looked at what WeChat is and how it can be useful for your activity business.
We also provided an overview of the key business functions including content distribution, location-based marketing, and community management.
Lastly, we looked at the main ways to advertise on WeChat and how to get started with paid promotion.
We hope that now you have the knowledge and resources to decide if WeChat is right for you and if so – how to get started.