If Chinese locals are part of your target demographics, getting on WeChat is a must. According to a report from McKinsey Digital, Chinese consumers spend as much as 44% of their time on social media apps. And of all the apps available, WeChat is currently number 1 because it really can do it all. Users can chat with friends and work colleagues, make voice and video calls, hail a taxi, play games, book hotels or hair cuts, shop for products and even make charitable donations – all without leaving the app! No wonder it has over 1.15 billion monthly active users!
We often get asked – ‘I’ve downloaded WeChat, now what?’ If you plan on using the app for your small business, you may find that a Personal account is what you need. But if you want to build brand awareness and engage more regularly with your Chinese audience, you may need an Official account. Here is the difference between Personal and Official (Service) accounts.
A Personal Account is quite flexible. It allows users to:
- Communicate via text, voice message and video call 24/7
- Participate in and hold webinars and presentations
- Join groups and share information in Group chats
- Share posts on Moments
- Transfer files (for example, issue tickets or gift cards)
- Make reservations
- Make and receive payments, through the wallet function
- Issue an unlimited number of messages a month, which can be viewed by your contacts.
Official (Service) WeChat Accounts
An Official WeChat account will build trust and credibility for your brand. It is the best option if you are seeking to expand your reach and develop brand awareness. For companies that do not have a presence in China, there is only one type of Official WeChat account available to them: the Service Account.
Through this type of account, a company can:
- Run marketing campaigns to increase exposure
- Share important information (hours, parking, Wi-Fi password, location, etc.)
- Post articles up to four times a month (with up to eight articles each time).
Unlike Personal Accounts, Official WeChat accounts cannot be created directly from the App that you download. They are set up via the WeChat website which can be a challenge as they require you to submit various pieces of paperwork to confirm your company’s identity, and there can be a great deal of back and forth (in Chinese!) with Tencent, the owner of WeChat.
We usually advise clients to expect a wait time of four to six weeks to get the account registered. Once done, it is important to optimize the account by building a menu and writing useful content that will be hosted within each tab – a process not dissimilar to building a mini website! Once your account is properly registered and ready to go, it is time to start posting articles for your readers. Given the huge amount of content competing for readers’ attention, make sure your articles are well written, interesting and graphically appealing. LAT has a team of writers that can help!
Should I have both types of account?
Maybe! An Individual Account offers more flexibility to post and connect with customers than the Official Account. It might be a good idea to use this type of account to provide customer service, and keep your Official (Service) WeChat account for overall branding and engagement. It all depends on your type of business and what your goals are, and what makes sense in terms of your budget and ability to manage this amazing platform.
The bottom line? Choosing the right WeChat account for your business or brand takes some understanding of the channel, a close line of sight to your overall objectives, and proper resourcing and planning to make it all work. Evaluate what you hope to achieve, then determine which approach is best for you.
LAT manages WeChat accounts for a number of Canadian companies. We also offer online, live WeChat training to help get you acquainted with this important tool. Contact us and we’ll be happy to get you started marketing on WeChat.