How to Maximize Your WeChat Marketing Campaigns

 

How to Maximize Your WeChat Marketing Campaigns

Maximizing Your WeChat Marketing Campaigns

Over the last few months, we have been looking at the vast world of Chinese Social Media. In this article, we will dig deeper into WeChat and provide insights on how to integrate WeChat into your Chinese marketing mix. We will take  a look at some WeChat marketing campaigns and also discuss the possible future of O2O marketing through WeChat.

According to China Internet Watch, “The Total number of monthly active WeChat users reached 396 million, an increase of 12% QoQ or an increase of 87% YoY.”

The 2014 first quarter results show that WeChat is actively increase its user base inside and outside of China. According to Tech in Asia, “Tencent is pushing WeChat into markets like India, Mexico, and Brazil, but the company has not provided any country-specific numbers.” This push can be seen in WeChat’s latest TVCs in India, were they focus on new features within WeChat.

All this growth and expansion is a good sign for marketers looking to capitalize on CRM. WeChat is not like Weibo, it is not a broadcast platform but a 1-1 platform that allows brands and users to create small (less than 100 members) groups.

Brands can send one message per day to their groups and can also create post on their official brand pages. Because WeChat is not mass broadcasting, many brands are looking to create O2O (online to offline) content.

Brands are offering special discounts and access to events through their WeChat groups. This strategy is strengthening brands CRM systems and creating strong 1-1 relationships.

How to Integrate WeChat into your Chinese Marketing Mix

Currently, brands are exploring two ways to integrate WeChat into their marketing mix:

  1. Third-party integration: WeChat allows brands to create apps that run within WeChat, allowing for companies to market and sell their products directly through them.
  2. Built-in functionality: Brands have been creating clever campaigns that leverage the basic functions of WeChat.

Third Party Integration on WeChat

According to China Marketing, “WeChat, has been building an entire ecosystem of interrelated services and functions that can be integrated directly within WeChat.[...] WeChat user can now shop, book hotels, play games with friends, buy and sell stocks, purchase flight tickets and do many other things without ever leaving the app.”

Thousands of brands from airlines to hotels and fast food to hand bags are building apps to be used within WeChat. Brands are creating games, booking, flight schedule, and purchasing apps that can now be used directly through the WeChat app. Adding these types of services and functions into WeChat marketing campaigns is helping brands sell more products and reach more customers.

WeChat Functions 

According to Chief Marketer, “Back in August, the app launched “official” accounts, empowering companies to reach their fans and customer directly. This new functionality gives brands the opportunity to engage one-on-one with their fans in a way that feels organic to the rest of the experience. Marketers on WeChat can now interact with followers by posting content such as special offers, videos and photos, and pushing that information to users who choose to interact with their brand.”

One of the most common way brands are using WeChat is by building fan bases and posting content. This technique is common but not very effective because it adopts a Weibo style approach of mass broadcasting, which is not suitable for WeChat marketing campaigns. Brands should look for inventive ways to use the WeChat Functions.

Also, brands should think of WeChat has an extension of their CRM system.

Examples of WeChat Marketing Campaigns

Montblanc WeChat Marketing Campaign

The well-known luxury brand, Montblanc, has been leading the way with creatively leveraging WeChat. They have recently released a game that fans can play directly in WeChat. According to Luxury Daily, The game promotes Montblanc’s interpretation of Daban, which directly translates from Chinese to mean “big boss.”

In this case, the brand is promoting its ideal Daban, meaning a consumer who “behaves in line with the brand’s values of elegance, sophistication and leadership.” This game allows WeChat users to upload pictures of themselves being “The Big Boss” and their friends and other users can vote. The campaign shows the willingness of major brands to integrate WeChat into their marketing mix.

McDonald’s WeChat Marketing Campaign

McDonald’s has also been active on WeChat. They have been leveraging a popular trend and the audio function on WeChat to create user generated content that is fun and interactive. According to Adage, The fast food brand sponsored a contest asking people to record a “Big Mac Rap” in the style of the host of the hit singing show “The Voice of China.”

MC Hua Shao’s monologues – reminiscent of auctioneer-speak, with quick staccato syllables – have inspired online chatter and countless spoofs.” This campaign was fun and carefree, which is inline with McDonald’s brand image and voice. This is a great example of another major brand creating engaging campaigns on WeChat.

Pepsi WeChat Marketing Campaign

Over the last spring festival, Pepsi released a marketing campaign that allowed users to send audio messages to friends. The messages would be remixed through the app to play music and add special sound effects. According to Digital Training Academy, “Pepsi China’s “Bring Happiness Home” campaign blitz [...] had a WeChat feature that let followers send their own voice recordings to the account and have them remixed into a customized Pepsi theme song to share with friends and loved ones.” Again, we see a major brand jumping on WeChat and creating engaging and specialized content.

Burberry WeChat Marketing Campaign

One of the most progressive brands in China, Burberry, has also been using WeChat. According to Adage, The British luxury brand just took WeChat fans behind the scenes at its London runway show, offering them audio commentary by the creative team and Chinese celebrities. When fans sent Burberry a text message, the brand instantly responded with a virtual plaque engraved with their name.” This campaign gave fans a first-hand experience of what it is like behind the scenes of one of the most well-known fashion shows.

O2O – The future of WeChat Marketing Campaigns

Many brands have been leveraging WeChat to create offline interactions. There is a growing trend in China, and especially on WeChat, to create O2O (online to offline) campaigns. The idea is simple, create engaging content that will produce offline results. Many brands are offering discounts, coupons, time sensitive sales, location based sales, etc. to attract customers into stores or to attend events. While brands are looking for O2O, WeChat is looking for e-commerce growth.

The future of marketing on WeChat is uncertain, but with WeChat attracting more users every day and with expansion into large markets like India and Brazil, the brands that understand and capitalize on this mobile platform early will have the greatest impact. Take Xiaomi for example, according to The Next Web, “Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has just sold 150,000 units of its latest flagship device, the Mi-3, in under 10 minutes – using only a chat app.”

If that doesn’t get you interested in WeChat marketing campaigns, then nothing will.

About the Author:

Miguel Roberg

This monthly Chinese Social Media column is contributed by Miguel Roberg. Miguel is passionate about marketing and advertising, currently lives in Beijing, China and is actively pursuing a career in the advertising industry. He is currently a content marketing coordinator at a Chinese social media marketing agency and a contributor at Advertising@chinaSMACK. Feel free to contact him about social media marketing in China and other business related to the Chinese Markets.

Miguel Roberg
This monthly Chinese Social Media column is contributed by Miguel Roberg. Miguel is passionate about marketing and advertising, currently lives in Beijing, China and is actively pursuing a career in the advertising industry. He is currently a content marketing coordinator at a Chinese social media marketing agency and a contributor at Advertising@chinaSMACK. Feel free to contact him about social media marketing in China and other business related to the Chinese Markets.
Miguel Roberg

@MiguelRoberg

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Miguel Roberg
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Comments

    • says

      It’s serious stuff Ryan. These mobile apps – similar to WhatsApp – are the rage in Asia. WeChat’s equivalent in Japan, LINE, has 200+ million users by now I believe.

  1. says

    Thanks for the comment Ryan. WeChat has been growing rapidly since it was released in 2011. Here in China almost everyone exchanges WeChat contact information.

    I was invited to a networking event that was based on sharing WeChat contact information and not business cards, which is surprising because Chinese business persons always exchange business cards.

  2. says

    I find the 1-on-1 aspect of engagement on WeChat totally different than what Weibo previously offered. I wonder how much businesses can benefit from communicating with potential clients in this kind of private space versus the benefits of social proof of Weibo. To me, it’s almost back to the age of email marketing, which has probably always been more effective after all.

    • says

      Hey Dana – thanks for the comment. I think you’re exactly right. I don’t have direct experience with WeChat myself living in the U.S., but I do use a similar app called LINE and know of Japanese companies that have been very successful using it in their social media marketing. Because their notifications appear in a private space, they have amazing CTRs. So, yes, they do use it as an email newsletter, not posting daily like you would do on Weibo, but perhaps monthly with a coupon – but also offering unique things like branded photo filters and stamps.

  3. says

    Very interesting article about WeChat. There is no doubt that WeChat is growing, and is growing at the speed of light and retailers know that. So many brands now do its marketing, sales and engagements through this platform. I read on Fashionbi (http://fsh.by/PL0N9Q), that a lot of fashion brands, specially premium and luxury (like the article said, Burberry), have presence on the platform, and in that way, they are gaining more Chinese consumers. Definitely this is just the beginning of the app. We’ll see how the future comes and how companies react to the WeChat Tsunami.

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