It’s 8 am and your day just got turned upside down, you were doing just fine before you boss popped in and asked you to find out more about marketing on WeChat. WeChat? What the Pogo Sticks is that and how does one go about marketing on WeChat? You down your coffee and pull up Google, *tap, tap, tap*, “Marketing on WeChat” (I’m feeling lucky), but you are not. Last month, it was marketing on Weibo, now its WeChat. But low and behold, in the search results you see: “Marketing on WeChat: 7 things Your Boss Wants To Know,” you roll your eyes thinking “Click-bait,” but what the lamas and click!
7 Things about Marketing on WeChat Your Boss Wants To Know
What are the 7 Things about Marketing on WeChat Your Boss Wants To Know?
- – What is WeChat and why should we care?
- – What account types are there and which one should we use?
- – What features are available and how are they used?
- – How to market a product or service on WeChat?
- – How much time/energy/money is needed to effectively market on WeChat?
- – What advertising options are available and how much does it cost?
- – As a brand, does it cost any money to use WeChat?
What is WeChat and why should we care?
One of the the first things your boss will want to know is what WeChat is and why it is important. According to WeChat, “WeChat is a powerful mobile communication tool. It supports sending voice, video, photo and text messages. You can also do group chats, or you can find new friends nearby to talk to. WeChat works on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian, and Blackberry devices.”
It is the most popular mobile app in China with over 460 million monthly active users. According to TechinAsia, “The newest data from Tencent, China’s social media web giant, shows that its WeChat messaging app now has 468.1 million active users (MAUs) in Q3 2014. That’s up from 438 million MAUs in Q2.” So, it is a communication tool with a lot of users and no real competitors in China.
What account types are there and which one should we use?
There are two types of accounts a brand can sign-up for when setting up a WeChat official account. The two types are Service Account and Subscription Account. Grata put together this great infographic below to help explain the difference between the accounts. I suggest setting up a Service Account because it allows for more integration and use of APIs, along with more e-commerce functionality.
What features are available and how are they used?
There are a lot of features within WeChat, but a few of them are more important than the others. Sijie Sheila Liu wrote a nice post explaining most of the features, but the most used and most important for brands are:
- Voice Chat and Message Chat: Voice Chat allows users to send voice messages to each other and Message Chat is regular text messaging.
- Group Chat: Group Chat allows for multiple users to exchange messages in a group.
- Moments: Moments allows users to share photos, links, and messages to their network. Probably, the most important and “Social Media” aspect of WeChat. Moments is similar to Facebook timeline.
- Shake: Shake allows for users to find and interact with each other. Users can shake their phone to find other users all over the world “shaking” their phone at the same time.
- People Nearby: Another feature used to find users. Allows users and brands to connect with users in their area (up to about 1000 km).
- Games: A very important feature that allows users to play games within the App. Below is an ad for a very popular game on WeChat.
How to market a product or service on WeChat?
I could give you a lot of text about marketing on WeChat, but I think the following SlideShares and videos will to a much better job. So, click through the SlideShares and watch the videos and pay attention to the case studies to find out more about the cool things that are being done on WeChat.
How much time/energy/money is needed to effectively market on WeChat?
There are no rules on how much time, energy or money you will need to spend on WeChat to market successfully, but WeChat is a social media communication platform. Brands should approach WeChat like any other social media channel, which means remaining social without being too focused on push messaging. WeChat is a very personal experience and a one to one communication service at its core, so, brands should keep this in mind with marketing on WeChat.
Each brand will need to run experiments to find the best strategy. Brands can use different agencies to help them better manage their WeChat official account and I suggest they work with a local agency to start. Once, you are more confident and are more familiar with the ecosystem you can take back control from the agency and run your marketing in-house and reduce your costs. In-house will be less cost, but require more energy and using an agency is vise versa.
What advertising options are available and how much does it cost?
At the beginning of the year, WeChat introduced advertising to the platform. Now brands with enough money and “status” can buy advertising that will show up in users Moments feed. These ads are similar to advertising on Facebook’s news feed. Below is a link to a TechNode article that explains the new advertising system and if you are interested in advertising on WeChat read the article.
According to TechNode, “The ad system charges RMB 40-140 (around US$6-23) per thousand impressions, depending on the tier of city advertisers are targeting (Beijing and Shanghai costing RMB 140, for instance). Currently only 50 brands with more than RMB 10 million in ad budget have been allowed to join the program.”
As a brand, does it cost any money to use WeChat?
According to the comments in a post by Grata, “There is no cost to register, but there is a 300 RMB (~35 Euros) annual fee if you choose to verify your account to get access to the many advanced API/features.” If your company is looking to use the advance API and Features (and you should) within the app, you will need to pay a small nominal fee.
Was it Click-bait or are these things your boss wants to know?
You have now spent 5-10 minutes browsing this post and you have seven things to tell your boss about marketing on WeChat. The question is do you need more information? Are you cursing under your breath and hating your job, China, Google, and this site? Are there more questions that are burning a hole in your pants? Chances are other readers are also wondering the same thing as you… So, why not ask a question? We will try to answer it or provide additional resources to help you and others. If you are interested in marketing in China than click around the site and find other content from us and our guest bloggers.