WeChat has been the trendy network in China for quite a few years, slowly taking over the market that was previously dominated by its big brother QQ.
WeChat is closed to advertisements so its usefulness may not seem obvious.
If you try to do direct promotion, WeChat policy reprimands you. WeChat group size keeps shrinking. So what is the point? There are very interesting perks of having it around for business.
WeChat, relevant numbers, and facts
From the report released by Tencent, WeChat has:
- 460 million monthly users, mostly located in tier 1 and tier 2 cities
- Half of the subscribers use it more than any other app
- 80% of its users were born after 1980 and 90
- 60% of the users are businessmen,
- 75% account users use WeChat just to stay up to date with information on brands they’re interested in
How to maximize WeChat for business
WeChat perfectly blends online and offline marketing for strongly effective marketing strategy.
Tencent’s flagship social network has been able to change drastically the way Chinese customers buy. Via the use of a QR code a user can be directed to or from a physical retail store, thus uniting the strength of both the physical and digital world. THIS IS EXTREMELY powerful!
- The physical experience provides a sensory experience to influence the customer on an emotional level.
- The digital experience provides a wide range of cost-efficient purchasing solutions with price discounts to convert the customer into an actual buyer.
Case study: Montblanc Daban
Last years’ Montblanc Daban campaign is a perfect example.
This luxury company used an O2O campaign to give a feeling of social prestige to online games and an official account to give a strong impression of the brand.
The Daban Campaign consisted of Chinese users dressing up as Big Boss, or 大板 to be rated by other users on the brand’s WeChat account.
As part of the brand’s 90th-anniversary campaign, in store Montblanc exhibited the images and displayed QR codes that led the users to the official brand account to get more information about the products.
This way users were able to have a physical feel of the brand by coming to the display while enjoying the digital price cut, promotion, flash sales and so on.
This campaign was very attractive because in China everyone wants to be a “Big Boss”, the archetype of the successful businessman.
Great blend of physical and digital marketing. But what does this mean?
As shown with the Montblanc campaign WeChat allows any company to build a strong community while promoting its products in a more subtle manner than a direct advertisement.
It works as follows:
You set up a campaign with a reward system.
The reward can be anything you think might be appropriate for your brand.
On the example cited above the “reward” is the social prestige earned for those few selected as Big Boss by the brand community.
Engaging with users to post their content to your official brand account will improve the perception of customer confidence.
Posting pictures of Montblanc campaign game participants did just that. It created powerful interactions between user content posted on the brand’s official account and users.
Once the campaign is over you end up with an enlarged user base.(Montblanc had 1000 subscribers that came for this campaign and its game.)
The commandments of an out of the box WeChat strategy
You shall give your customers coupons
Chinese customers appreciate coupons, so set up a coupon system on your WeChat account.
Broadcast a word that will need to be entered after scanning a QR code to receive a coupon. The coupon can be redeemed at your shop for a reward (free coffee, happy hour, VIP shopping session…).
You shall not always target all your community
Chinese love being treated like VIPs. The more targeted, the better. They’ll feel like you took the time to target their particular profile. WeChat gives you geolocation and browsing data to better separate profiles and make distinct communities among your user base.
You shall listen to your customer in real time
WeChat is the best way to give a customer a one-on-one feeling. Chinese love talking with those they’re “doing business with”. They’ll be compelled to make a purchase if they contact directly the brand. With an official account, they can read what you wish to broadcast and respond or give feedback.
WeChat will be your godsend tool for efficient and quick customer support service
Chinese understand that sometimes there are quirks and problems. However, they’re more impatient than most. You need to have a way of staying in touch with them in real time.
For example, a customer has a problem with a brand new washing machine he just purchased. With geolocation, you can send him the contact information for the nearest repair shops. This quick response will create goodwill with the customer and propel the brand into a premium, high quality, and trustworthy brand. This type of quick action is highly sought after in China. Trust is the premium currency when you want to do business in China.
For more information about Chinese social networks try reading: 5 Social Media Strategies Used By Luxury Brands in China, You Want to Attract Chinese Tourists, Target their Community! and The Top 5 Social Media Sites Used By Chinese Girls