1. What is WeChat?
WeChat encompasses all the functionality of probably all the social platforms that you use on a day to day basis. You can use it to message, call, share, discuss, pay and order!
2. Why should I learn more?
It’s the fastest growing social network in the world and has the highest daily usage rates ever seen. There are over 700 million monthly active users on WeChat and on average, users spend about 40 minutes a day using it.
To put it into perspective, the second and third biggest social platforms only have 70% and 13% of daily active users.
Chinese tourists are even renting Wi-Fi devices overseas so that they can stay connected to WeChat while they’re away!
3. What are the main differences between WeChat and Western platforms?
The biggest difference is that WeChat essentially houses all popular Western apps in one. With so much functionality, people can simply open one app to communicate with friends and brands, consume information, pay their bills, call taxis and even make purchases. It’s so much more than a social network and completely integral to Chinese consumers’ everyday life. As a result, the opportunity to deliver and optimize the consumer experience is huge, enabling brands to attain much deeper engagement with their target audiences.
4. What can WeChat do for my brand?
Users can subscribe to Public Accounts within the News Subscription function to receive news updates and editorial articles from businesses, media and bloggers. Many brands use their WeChat Public Account to house and enable all brand owned content in one place, similar to the function of a regular website. Brands can also recruit and engage a WeChat community through their Public Account by releasing regular branded content updates, campaign initiatives and useful customer service offerings.
In addition, e-commerce has been a huge focus for WeChat over the last 18 months. Users can open external websites directly within the WeChat browser, creating a seamless brand journey and a very easy direct route to purchase. Optimizing that journey is crucial for brands looking to make the most from their WeChat strategy. However, WeChat has also integrated itself with the offline consumer purchase journey too. One of the newest and most advanced features of WeChat is the ability to make payments through the platform.
5. What is the first step for building my brand presence on WeChat?
Public accounts are a right of passage for brands looking to begin their WeChat journey. However, competing in the same space are 8.5 million other official public accounts owned by a mixture of businesses, media outlets and KOLs; a figure that is increasing by 8,000 each day. As a result, competition to stand out and reach the desired target audiences is high!
Brands seriously wanting to use WeChat as a successful communications tool need to work with a local partner to devise a solid WeChat strategy that develops the local brand identity, pulls consumers in with interesting and collaborative campaigns and pushes branded content in a seamless and engaging manner.
Ok, I’m convinced! What now? Get in touch!
Michelle Holt is Business Development Director for Red Bridge Communications, an integrated communications agency specialized in working with international brands looking to grow their online (and offline) presence in China.