Doing business with China: increase your WeChat official account followers

17/07/2018

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Western social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and so on are banned in China. That is why businesses keen to increase brand awareness and engagement in the country opt for WeChat, considered the super app in China.

Jiao Li, co-founder of Cambridge-based Crayfish – the unique online platform dedicated to helping Western companies do business in China – explained how to choose the best account for your business in last week’s post here: WeChat Marketing 101.

Now she offers five ways to help you spread the word and get followers to your account:

1. Content, content, content

As you can imagine, Chinese consumers are bombarded constantly by brands on WeChat, so it is crucial that your content is informative and consistently good. People get bored easily and they will only share your WeChat post if they believe it’s relevant and useful. There are also different types of content that you can publish through your WeChat account, ranging from articles to images, creative posts and videos.  To optimise your account and increase the quality of user experience, I would recommend you move away from simply publishing articles through WeChat.

  2.  Use your QR code

QR codes (graphics which, when scanned with a smartphone, lead users to a website) are literally everywhere in China. WeChat automatically creates a QR code for each official account. You can post your QR code on all your marketing channels, such as social media, packaging or even your business card.  But this doesn’t mean people will just scan your QR code; you’ll need to give them a reason to follow your account. Prizes, discounts, or free gifts can act as great incentives to boost your followers.

3.    Use WeChat paid media wisely

There are two main ways of doing paid advertisements on WeChat. The most familiar way for advertising is to promote on WeChat Moments. A Moments feed appears in the user’s Moments feed flow where he or she can see friends’ shared photos, articles, or status updates. Another option for brands are WeChat banner ads which appear at the end of an article published by an Official Account.

Both options can be expensive for small brands. But if you are a well-known brand, they can be quite effective to engage with your target audience.

 4.    Sponsor KOL content

KOLs (key opinion leaders) are popular accounts that already have many followers. They are not necessarily celebrities, but bloggers or industry experts who have built up a loyal fan base.

Chinese consumers love and trust KOLs. They are much more comfortable with brand sponsored content and in fact, they see it as proof of authenticity of the KOL if they see more sponsored content.

You can sponsor the content for a KOL to publish on their WeChat account to promote your brand. Depending on the number of followers and the quality of the accounts, the price of sponsorship of a post can vary widely. So please search as many KOLs as possible or seek professional help.*

5.      Build a mini programme

Mini programmes, launched in 2017, have become the trendy channel that many brands in China want to tap into. Mini programmes are sub-apps within WeChat, built using WeChat’s programming language. They enable businesses to provide advanced features to users such as e-commerce, task management, coupons etc. Mini-programmes are not for every brand but can be worth investigating as a way to engage and stay connected with customers.

Jiao concludes: “As you can tell, WeChat is a very complicated platform which requires expertise and huge energy to manage, especially for SMEs.  Crayfish freelancers and partners are able to help you to navigate around WeChat marketing. We also offer a managed package service which includes account set-up via Crayfish and WeChat platform management.”

*Crayfish.io matches talented Chinese speaking professionals with Western businesses who need help in dealing with their Chinese partners and audiences, providing a source of qualified people to undertake projects and offer information, knowledge and cultural insight.

Business users post their projects on to the Crayfish website and freelancing Chinese speakers bid for the work, with the transaction carried out through the Crayfish.io platform. Users pay a fee after they accept a freelancer's proposal, with payment – less commission – released on completion of the job. The Crayfish team also offers to project manage on behalf of the client for larger and more complex tasks.

See also the Crayfish blog: How do I register an official WeChat account as a foreign company?

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Crayfish.io is the first and only online marketplace platform dedicated to English-Chinese bilingual project work. It enables businesses to access instantly a variety of skills and China expertise on demand, no matter how big or small the project. Crayfish® offers considerable cost savings, enabling businesses to make good use of flexible Chinese speaking resources that are currently under-used.

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