WeChat, China’s hugely popular mobile social-media network, has more than 1.1 billion monthly active users (source: WeChat Internal Data Reports). With such a vast number of people using the tool daily to connect with friends and read news, it’s no wonder big brands like Mercedes-Benz Canada, Holt Renfrew, H&M Canada and Air Canada are using WeChat to build brand awareness and maintain competitive advantage.
Most of Canada’s immigrants from Mainland China use WeChat daily to engage with friends and acquire news updates. Users also subscribe to official company accounts to stay up-to-date, similar to how people follow various Facebook groups.
“WeChat is like a combination of WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, PayPal, Uber and more,” explains Stella Que, Marketing Coordinator for LAT. “You can even use WeChat to hail a cab, shop online, pay for goods at physical stores and transfer money to friends in China.”
With all that going for it, it’s not surprising that WeChat is sometimes called the “Swiss Army Knife of Apps”. But just as you post different content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, this social media tool also needs its own strategy. Here are our top tips to be aware of:
Know Your Audience
Great content with a personal touch, and innovative graphic design are two requirements for success on WeChat.
Like English social media, subscribers to official WeChat accounts generally prefer light-hearted, lifestyle-related stories or those that arouse the audience’s emotions. You want readers to share your content with other WeChat users. So the quality and (most importantly) usefulness of your content is key to growing your audience.
WeChat is most commonly used by Mandarin-speaking Chinese from Mainland China. As such, users predominantly read Simplified Chinese. While most Chinese speakers can understand both Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese, the more complex characters used in Traditional Chinese are not favoured on this social channel. Also, don’t use stuffy or formal writing. A casual, relaxed style is preferred on this medium.
Content is King
WeChat is highly competitive, with loads of content competing for readers’ attention. To keep readers and grow followers to your account, you should be posting original, new content on a regular basis. You wouldn’t post the same content to Facebook or Instagram over and over again and expect good engagement – so don’t make this mistake on WeChat. Be wary of translating your existing English press releases or company news and posting it here. This “corporate” content is unlikely to be shared and may even cause subscribers to drop off.
Consider User Experience
A QR code on your website that users can scan to get to your WeChat account is a must have.
WeChat users are most likely reading your content on their phone so you must consider readability and ensure your articles are well crafted, with great images sprinkled throughout. This is not much different from English blogs where images and sub-heads are used to break up long blocks of text, which can be intimidating to read. Fun emojis, graphics and multimedia content are also important on this medium.
If you are launching a WeChat account, you need to promote it in the way that Chinese users are most accustomed. That means adding a Quick Response (QR) code to your website and marketing materials that users can quickly scan. While QR codes did not take off in North America, they are still widely used by Chinese speaking individuals and are the main point of entry for WeChat content.
Using WeChat is a great tool to reach Chinese people here in Canada, or abroad. But having a well thought out content strategy and quality content is key to long-term success on this platform. If you are looking for more information on how to use WeChat, reach out to us. We’re happy to help. We offer a WeChat training course to help you get going, as well as consulting and content management services to ensure your venture into this tool is a success.