WeChat, the most used social media platform in China with the highest rate of daily engagement, has become synonymous with marketing. The app, launched just five years ago by Tencent, originally stood out by using voice messaging as its main channel for communication. It enabled companies and individuals to create “WeChat Official Accounts” to promote their company or brand. For the most part, WeChat marketing was about gaining followers to accounts, engaging these followers, and converting them into customers by using the app to purchase goods or services. With hundreds of millions of active users, WeChat has become an ideal platform for generating sales.
So, how have brands’ marketing campaigns evolved to attract and keep users’ attention, continuously share interesting content, and grow their business? The following are three top features of WeChat that are being used to advance marketing campaigns.
HTML5 was designed to develop online without requiring additional software, such as browser plugins. It does animation, apps, music, movies, and more. It is also cross-platform to be used on a smartphone, tablet, or notebook. It is popular because it can be used to write web applications that work when not connected to the Internet, to handle high definition video, and to deliver exceptional graphics. More and more brands are using HTML5 to create videos and moving images to engage their users.
The multi-media content production company Luojisiwei that has been extremely successful and profitable is a perfect example. Started in 2012 by founder and host Luo Zhenyu as an online social issues talk show brand, Luojisiwei developed a following from its talk show, WeChat subscription account, WeChat micro-shop, and Baidu Tieba. The company obtained more than five million followers by commercializing its user base and selling a variety of services, ranging from ads and books to membership and moon cakes.
Much of Luojisiwei’s success has been attributed to leveraging audio messages on WeChat. Although audio is not sharable on WeChat, it stands out from articles. To solve the issue of audio not being sharable, Luojisiwei includes a keyword in each message that triggers an automatic answer. Users receive an article related to the audio message, which can be shared on moments. Moreover, Luojisiwei publishes messages every morning, so that they are the first message users receive.
Voice Input, Camera-based Translation, and Group Administrator Functionality
One of the most notable uses of WeChat is the platform’s ability for brands’ official accounts to directly target users. As an effective marketing tool, brands can build loyalty while offering promotions and sharing content with customers in an organized and aesthetically pleasing format. Being able to interact with customers in different languages adds to increased sales.
With the latest version of WeChat comes voice input and camera-based translation. These features support input in Chinese or English by voice as well as by photo. By either speaking into WeChat or taking a picture of writing, like a sign or menu, users can get an instant translation. Both help brands target international travelers visiting China and assists Chinese tourists going to other parts of the world.
Additionally, WeChat added group administrator functionality. This feature has the ability to modify the group chat name, publish the group announcement, set the group entry mode, confirm the group application, and remove group members. While this aspect is advantageous, there are some restrictions for adding administrators: a group must be more than 100 people to increase the administrator, each group is limited to four administrators, and the group owner can have only three people handle.
WeChat Mini App
Since their launch, WeChat’s mini programs have gained widespread popularity. With mini programs, brands are able to create their own “apps within the app,” which allows targeted customers to shop and make purchases without leaving the main WeChat application. As part of a marketing campaign, mini programs offer a new sales channel and the opportunity to monetize on WeChat. Approximately 20,000 new mini programs are developed every day, all competing for the attention of millions of daily active users using the WeChat app on their smartphones.
Many brands have been successfully using WeChat mini apps. IKEA is a good example of how a brand is taking advantage of this big social platform. In August, the famous Swedish firm introduced a mini app called “IKEA Flash Store” to sell select products online. By offering discounts or promotions for a limited period of time to customers, the ready-to-assemble furniture retailer highlights a variety of themed inspiration packages for the home. In addition to the home inspiration packages, the flash store provides a gift-giving service. While these are just a few examples of successful marketing campaigns using tools, many brands have been developing creative initiatives that utilize the diverse features enabled by WeChat to effectively nurture a new following, engage with existing users, build brand loyalty, and boost revenue.
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