In China, just like the rest of the world, social media has become unavoidable, and with over one billion users, WeChat is by far the most popular social media platform here. When trying to market your business to get a foot in the door, WeChat can be vital in developing your reputation and brand image …but only if you’re able to use it effectively.
There are plenty of success stores where B2C businesses have leveraged the power of WeChat to get astounding results. In arguably one of the most successful WeChat marketing campaigns ever, Givenchy used WeChat and KOLs (key opinion leaders) to sell 80 limited edition handbags in just 12 minutes! To do this Givenchy partnered with Tao Liang, known on WeChat as Mr. Bags. He encouraged his 1.2 million WeChat followers to purchase the bags and, just like that, they were sold. Other successful stories of B2C businesses using WeChat include stories about Pepsi, Montblanc, Twist & Drink (an Austrian beverage company), and countless more.
But WeChat has been successfully used by many B2B companies as well. Here in China, social media isn’t just about connecting with friends, it’s about connecting with everyone. Today even business cards are now being replaced by WeChat QR codes. Not only does WeChat connect everyone to everyone else, built in features such as communication tools, web analytics for business, and translations tools make WeChat an ideal place for your B2B company. Below we share successful WeChat case studies looking at how WeChat was used to help grow and maintain B2B companies.
Sany Heavy Industry is a multinational heavy machinery manufacturing company. This influential company is the first in its industry in China to enter the Financial Times Global 500 and the Forbes Global 2000.
On WeChat they have used a traditional WeChat shop typically used by B2C companies to showcase all of the machinery that they offer. Rather than have a price, if someone is interested in a piece of equipment they can pay a symbolic 1 RMB to schedule a meeting with a Sany sales representative. This ingenious way of using the WeChat shop allows customers to easily view their products being offered and encourages people to reach out to get in touch.
IBM has used WeChat to successfully recruit talent in China. They created a separate WeChat account for the sole purpose of employment in which potential employees are directed through a series of pages that helps them learn more about different opening in the company and what skills are required.
Other companies, such as XCMG Group (another Chinese heavy machinery manufacturing company) also use WeChat for recruitment, but rather than create a separate account, they simply integrate recruitment into their WeChat menu. Specific job ads are presented through custom designed pages.
3. GE Healthcare
It can be a little harder for B2B brands to have the larger exposure that B2C companies tend to enjoy. In order to get more exposure, some companies have partnered with B2C companies to take advantage of their larger social media following. As an example, GE Healthcare partnered with Uber, the ride sharing service, to promote breast cancer awareness. The event, themed “UberPink” provided Uber customers with free breast cancer screenings, and when information about the event was cross posted on the two company’s WeChat accounts, the posts generated significantly more views than either company typically got by themselves.
In China reputation and brand is everything so making sure that your brand has a positive reputation on social media is key for your business to thrive. Sinochem Corporation is a Chinese company that produces chemicals and fertilizers and is also involved in oil exploration and production. A documentary released in 2015 called Under the Dome looked at the massive environmental issues China has been dealing with. With such close ties to high impact environmental businesses, Sinochem’s public image suffered. Even more generally the company doesn’t have the best public perception; however, through careful cultivation of content they have managed to maintain a positive image on WeChat.
Your next steps
Whether big or small, there is a place on WeChat for any B2B company. It is a great place to promote your products and services to Chinese clients, but to do this you to understand the complexities of WeChat and the Chinese market. Because digital marketing (including using WeChat) is so different in China it can make a huge difference to have “a man on the inside”. Tolmao Group can be that man for your company. With years of experience navigating WeChat and the Chinese market, Tolmao can make sure that your B2B company is in good hands and will be propelled forward in the Chinese market. Moving a business to a new country is a complex endeavor, but we can take some of that complexity off your hands and make your transition easier and more successful.