WeChat is growing at an unprecedented pace. Soon it will reach 1 billion monthly active users, and it’s about time Australian companies reap the merits of China’s most powerful social app. A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the mechanisms of WeChat and why it’s so important to crack the Chinese market. This week, we’ll show you how to set up a WeChat account and connect with just about anyone in the most populated country on Earth.
In 2012, WeChat hit the international market, which allowed English-speaking users and foreign companies the chance to create accounts. The major drawback; these accounts will not show up on the Chinese version of the app. Although it is much harder to create, you must use the Chinese account if you want to market to the Chinese population.
The Chinese account is the default setting for those who registered with a Chinese (+86) phone number. To bypass this, companies must prove that the business is located in China by providing the appropriate Chinese business registration certificate. If a company does not have a registered office in China that can provide this documentation, a local partner can register an international business with their own business registration certificate. A Chinese marketing agency can facilitate this process.
After selecting the right location for your company account, there’s another fork in the road. Do you choose a subscription or service account?
A subscription account is the most common choice, as it allows you to publish content to your followers once a day. The major downside of this is that your followers must actively search for your content in their subscription account folder as opposed to organically feeding through to their chat homepage. The best way to maximise this account is to create compelling content and give users a reason to come back for more updates.
The service account is great for businesses and organisations that want to provide a portal to improve their customer’s overall experience. Unlike subscription accounts, which have a relatively basic user interface, service accounts can be set up as microsites within WeChat, giving companies access to a range of advanced tools. From e-commerce stores to airlines that allow users to book flights, the service account can easily accommodate your needs. It is more limited as a marketing channel, however, as only one message can be sent to users per day. Companies will often set up both a subscription and a service account for this reason.
Once you’ve set up your account, you need to have it verified – a fairly stringent process. This can give an account much greater accountability and enables access to more features and followers. While not strictly required by WeChat, it is a step companies should take to mitigate consumer distrust..Another great reason to get a verified account is to gain access to its payments software, WeChat Store, transaction messaging, multi-agent software and hardware interface. Along with the standard information about your company, you will need to upload a copy of the official company certificate and a proposal outlining how the account will be used. You must also provide information about current or past promotion channels that your company has used, such as Facebook, TV commercials, or other media channels that can give any indication as to how the company might their WeChat account.
WeChat can be an incredibly useful tool for Australians marketing in China. “Companies can utilise the seemingly endless features of the app to connect with their audience,” says Liam, our Digital Campaign Manager. “WeChat is the way people in China communicate, from the boardroom to the living room. By leveraging the massive reach and engagement the platform delivers, companies from FMCG and property through to B2B can get their products and services seen by millions more people than what would ever be possible in the Australian market.”
Look out for our next piece on running a marketing campaign on WeChat to find out how you can make the most of this all-encompassing app.