If you’re looking to reach Chinese consumers, you’ll likely be using WeChat.
However WeChat is no walk in the park, it is a complex ecosystem and its functionality eludes many marketers in the West.
Many marketers look at WeChat as their carriage to brand awareness and skyrocketing sales in China, and as a result of these unrealistic expectations, spend large amounts of money creating poor, ineffective content.
WeChat should be used as a communication channel and not your entire China marketing strategy.
As brands flood the platform, it becomes more important than ever to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work on this platform.
So what are some best practices?
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but interactive graphics are an entire experience
Pictures are great to include in your WeChat articles, they break up the text, especially on such a small screen, and add a great deal of impact.
As text-heavy WeChat content becomes less popular, brands will need to learn how to provide information in a visual, and mobile-optimized manner.
I see plenty of WeChat accounts including pictures and basic graphics in their articles, and this is great, but you’re going to have to do better than a high-resolution picture or a flashy flyer.
For the release of their newest running shoe, Nike created an unassuming, yet engaging graphic that prompts users to discover the new shoe by sliding a color burst upwards until the color burst is brought back together at the end.
While sliding is nothing new, they’ve created eye-popping visuals and content that begs to be uncovered.
This is a great example of leading readers through a story visually, using simple graphics to promote action and highlight key features.
Nike released this post across its multiple Official Accounts, gaining almost 8,000 views on the Nike Women account alone.
Tell a clever (yet simple) story
Once again the use of engaging graphics plays a huge role in this spectacular post from Ogilvy for their client Ikea, highlighting key products through storytelling.
The value of everything from a 4 RMB lint roller to a 4,990 RMB sofa is visualized using three gifs.
In this case, multiple stories are being told throughout the post, each product has been made practical, relatable, or funny in some way, and this type of content is just begging to be shared.
H5s are not dead, use them
H5 pages are animated slideshows that let you provide information in a fun, visually appealing and engaging way.
Viewers have to swipe or slide through different slides, great for event invitations, quizzes and telling your brand story.
We encourage most brands to include H5s in the Official Account menu, as they can be used for the “About Us” tab or showcase different products and services you offer.
H5s can also be used in campaigns and are a great way to encourage sharing.
Net Ease, a Chinese internet tech company recently released Net Ease Cloud Music, a music streaming app similar to Spotify.
To raise awareness they launched an H5 from their Official WeChat account in the form of a game, called “Your User Manual.”
People who click through the H5 take a simple test where you listen to certain sounds and choose from three options what the sound reminds you of.
At the end of the test, you are given a personalized page with your name and “user guide,” which serves as a type of personality, or traits indicator.
Depending on what you associated each sound with you are assigned certain characteristics, you can then share this page to your moments.
Linking to (useful!) mini programs
Mini programs are the new hottest thing about WeChat, and according to QuestMobile, have reached over 400 monthly active users, penetrating 43.9% of the market.
While they are exciting and sexy, make sure you’re creating a mini program for the right reason, not every brand needs one.
A mini program should be created to perform a function – not to provide content.
Read more about mini programs and find out if it’s right for your brand.
If a mini program makes sense for your brand, by all means, develop one and use it as a way to pull people deeper into the customer journey.
The great thing about mini programs is that they are visually appealing when inserted into content published from your Official Account.
Take a look at this great post from Zara showcasing a new line of clothing.
At the end of a very beautifully crafted post, Zara has inserted a card for their mini program, where you can click in and seamlessly browse more products, share your favorites, make a purchase, all without ever leaving WeChat.
Automation – why wouldn’t you?
One of the biggest missed opportunities on WeChat currently is the 48-hour window.
This is the amount of time brands have after the moment someone follows their account to continue to engage.
Brands across the board are largely underutilizing the tools available to take advantage of this timeframe to gather crucial information.
If you want to maximize the value of your Official Account you’ll need to know more who your followers are than just their WeChat alias.
How to do this?
Automated responses are a great way to learn more about what your followers are interested in and segment them into groups so that you can push out targeted content to each group.
A great example of this is Elixir, a Chinese skincare brand, who uses a third party provider to gather more information about users from the moment they become a follower of the account.
Just check out the journey below.
First I follow the account and receive a welcome article and then a personalized welcome message.
I type in that I am interested in skin care and they send me a message with a list of different skincare related topics, such as skincare products, ways to apply the product, and techniques to apply the product.
I am prompted to enter the number of the topic I’m interested in, and when I do, I receive specific information about this.
I can also assume that I’ve been segmented on their backend, and in the future will receive content related to the topic I am interested in.
This is a basic way to segment your users and create a more personalized experience.
As WeChat matures, brands will need to continue to adapt their strategy, which many are not doing at the moment.
Right now too many brands are still relying heavily on churning out content without knowing who their followers are and expecting this content to drive awareness like it would on Facebook or a regular blog.
Think about the content you are publishing on your WeChat Account, what is the purpose?
Is it useful to the followers you are sending it to? What will you gain from people opening it?
Want to get to know your audience better? Monitor your WeChat activity closely and engage with your audience with the help of social media management software such as MavSocial.