Previously, we have discussed setting up WeChat accounts and then advertising on the platform through moments ads. This week, we want to shed light on the four components that companies need to build into their WeChat marketing campaigns for the Chinese market. These are community messaging, advertising, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), and online-to-offline (O2O) marketing.
Community messaging is similar to posting on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Service accounts can only post messages to followers once a week. However, these messages appear in the user’s inbox, appearing alongside messages from their personal contacts. This is a powerful way to broadcast a company’s most important updates. Subscription accounts, on the other hand, can post messages daily, but these messages appear in a separate inbox with the user’s other subscription accounts.
This means that a service account could be used as a microsite with e-commerce, live chat and other service elements working in tandem with its powerful messaging feature. The messaging function could also be used to publish either a summary of their communications or unique and valuable content that wasn’t shared via the subscription account.
As with western social media, the content needs to be of value to the community so that it doesn’t come across as spam, which might result in people unsubscribing. The regularity of posts should be determined by how much you can invest in generating quality content. If this is only once a week then so be it; it’s much better than causing potentially irreparable damage to the reputation of your company.
To get daily content exposure, an advertising campaign on WeChat should be undertaken. These campaigns target different audience segments with tailored messaging. WeChat can target users based on a range of information that the users supply themselves, or information from WeChat’s documentation of their interactions on the platform. Consumers are looking for a personalised experience, so segmentation of audience into a range of sets and subsets is essential in delivering this. “If done right, the return on investment is significantly higher than if a generic campaign is rolled out targeting everyone that may be interested in your product or service,” says Liam, our Digital Campaign Strategist.
Another important part of campaigning in the Chinese market is KOLs (known in Australia as influencers). They are necessary to both establish and maintain brand credibility and authority. They can also provide a highly effective marketing channel to reach users in a more impactful way than traditional business-to-consumer advertising. Multiple KOLs should always be engaged so that different WeChat audiences can be targeted and their performance can be measured against each other. Subsequently, the best performing KOLs can be retained for future campaigns.
Before contracting the services of a KOL, it is recommended that a thorough background check be conducted to determine the types of posts they have published on and outside of WeChat. Their audience should also be examined to determine who the majority of their subscribers are and whether or not the majority of them are real, as there have been significant issues with KOLs inflating the number of subscribers they have through bots and fake accounts.
Finally, online to offline marketing needs to be considered as part of any WeChat marketing campaign as there is a significantly greater expectation for it in China. This should include how the digital campaign can be complemented by any physical components of a marketing campaign. In China, it’s predominantly achieved through QR codes, which are placed on the price tags and in displays above items to encourage prospective buyers to find out more, save it for a later date or to buy it online. These QR codes are typically opened in WeChat and often lead to a microsite hosted via a service account, with an emphasis on engaging brand experience for consumers.
For Australian companies to have an impact in the expansive Chinese market, they need to have many strings to their bow. Creating both subscription and service accounts on WeChat, running advertising campaigns segmented to target different audiences, and utilising the reach and authority of KOLs are integral to any marketing campaign. However, as technology and the modern Chinese consumer rapidly continue to evolve, so must the way they are marketed to. Fortunately, the more China opens up to the world, so do the resources Australian companies have access to. For now, it remains a challenging market for companies to traverse without expert guidance. Should yours wish to dip its toes in the Chinese market, Heard Agency can help you navigate.