WeChat has become a marketers’ best friend when it comes to conducting a social network campaign in China, in this article we will first have a look at WeChat’s main features, before we dive into how brands are using the platform to grow their audiences and sales.
If you have lived under a rock (or just outside of China!?) for the past 5 years, then it is time for you to have a crash course on the subject. WeChat (or 微信 WeiXin as it is called in Chinese) was created in 2011 by the Chinese tech giant Tencent, also the creator of QQ (the Chinese version of MSN). It is a mobile-only application as well as the leading social network in China with over 700 million active users.
It boasts a wide range of features:
Instant Messaging, in this regard it can be compared to popular western apps such as Whatsapp and Snapchat. It is now the main method of communication for the younger Chinese generation. The text function of a mobile phone is as good as dead nowadays.
Moments, are WeChat’s version of Facebook’s timeline and wall. You post via your profile, and it can be seen on your contacts’ Moments.
Official accounts with subscription. Probably the most beloved feature for marketers and content creators alike. It allows an organization (magazine, company, shop, personalities, etc.) to have a subscription-based account to share content with their audience. It is somewhat similar as a fan-page on Facebook.
Microsites and app-within-the-app. You can have your own website or app running inside the application. It opens great possibility for brands aswell as online retailers.
WeChat e-wallet gives users the opportunity to connect the platform to their bank. Therefore, allowing them to use the app as a method of payment in many shops. You can also buy directly online or in the WeChat m-commerce platform. Payment can be made simply by scanning a QR code or transferring payments to other users.
There are some additional and more obscure features available, but we focus here on the most relevant for marketing purposes. Now let’s dive into how foreign brands carry out their promotion on the platform.