Although the Internet seems to have made the world a global village, there are still large local differences. Google is by no means the first address for search queries in Russia and China. Facebook is blocked in the Middle Kingdom: WeChat dominates here. If you want to be successful in China, there is no way around an account there.
Unlike the name WeChat suggests, the app is far more than a mobile messenger. In many aspects very similar to Facebook, there are also some significant differences, which have great marketing potential. But let us start with some numbers: WeChat was first available in 2011. To date, the app has not managed to penetrate the international market. The user numbers are nevertheless impressive: almost a billion users are registered. It is one of the apps with the most active monthly users worldwide. Almost half a billion use WeChat daily. According to the "2016 WeChat Impact Report", more than 60 percent open use the app more than ten times a day.
In China, there is practically no way around WeChat, especially because the app affects the everyday life of the users much more than Facebook: talking to friends, finding new contacts and following companies are functions that we know from other social networks. But WeChat also features in-app shops and has also become a transaction service with WeChat Pay. The taxi ride is not only booked through the app, but also paid with it.
WeChat provides users with a variety of features that let them immerse themselves in the app. As a rule, this also makes WeChat the primary touchpoint between Chinese consumers and brands who want to develop this growing market for themselves. But it is not enough to simply transfer the social media strategy for Facebook to the Chinese counterpart. Before starting, there are some basic considerations:
Which platform is the right one?
Before brands create an account, they need to be clear about their strategy. There are the two options "Subscription" and "Service". The former is the most comparable to a Facebook page: companies can share content - text, image or video - with their followers. Service pages are actually about providing services. A taxi company or a bank can offer services directly in the app and reach customers cost-effectively and directly. The downside: You can not share as many posts with followers as a subscription page.
It makes little sense to simply translate the Facebook and Twitter content and share it on WeChat. Companies should seek support from local partners and create content that really makes sense for the Chinese market.
Simply sharing information about the company will not spark enthusiasm in the Chinese market. Games are particularly popular on WeChat. For this reason, for example, it is worth considering creating gamification elements so that users can actively engage with the brand. Ultimately, this aspect does not differ much from other areas of the world: Content is king!
WeChat Store is not Amazon
Companies can sell their products directly through WeChat. However, the company must already be known to the user. If you sell bicycles, potential customers will not find your WeChat bike shop if they are not already connected to your brand account. Understand the shop feature rather as an additional service that is hosted within the app. This means you have to drive traffic to your account yourself as there is no organic search that will lead potential customers to your WeChat shop.
As with Facebook, ads can be featured in the newsfeed (only this is called Moments here). This can be an effective means to increase reach and popularity. The targeting options are excellent!
The overwhelming majority of WeChat users live in China. If you want to reach these Chinese users, you should have a registered office on site. Otherwise your messages only reach users outside of China.
Read more about Digital Marketing in China.