There’s a lot of information floating around about WeChat these days. Most of it seems to be based on conjecture, or a few very successful cases that everyone keeps talking about.
This is one of those blogs based on real life, by hard-working agency people who are deep in it, day in and day out, helping our clients succeed with their WeChat strategies. That might sound slightly over the top, but a lot of WeChat is based on trial and error, and learning through successes – and mistakes.
A lot of the Chinese web is about getting deep into the weeds. What did that API connect to? What’s their META data say? What content do we promote through these 5 channels and what is the CTA for lead gen?
And the deepest weed patch is WeChat. The channel is challenging – long-form content, bombarded at users, identified by top management as the go-to channel, complicated channel to engage fans, all wrapped up in the ever-changing Chinese digital ecosystem. No easy day for marketers to get their head around.
It all starts with the complications of setup, and working between global and local teams to create effective, on-brand content. But once that is sorted the big question is how can we promote WeChat and build fans? Looking across blogs and posts – a lot of people talk about it, but few actually are doing it effectively. Or everyone’s case studies revolve around Maybelline and Estee Lauder – consumer companies with large budgets.
What about the rest of us, who don’t have massive budgets? Or are in B2B fields – I can tell you from experience that chemical industry posts do not write themselves.
Let’s bust some myths:
Myth #1: Good content is enough to build fans
Good content is wonderful. The first and easiest step for many brands is to create content based on news and events. Eventually smart brands will utilize the channel in a more effective way – using visuals, infographics and compelling stories.
But the truth is – unless you already have a large fan base (or a large company of embedded fans), your posts will not magically attract fans. You need to do something more to promote them.
Some ways to attract new fans:
- Incentivize through a quiz or give-away contest
- Use a key opinion leader (KOL) to spread channel news to their followers
- Write an article and include quote snippets from staff, your CEO, or experts in the industry – they will then share with their networks that are most likely your target audience.
- Make sure your QR code is visible to those who are already connected with you on other channels – use it in your email signature, or share it on your LinkedIn account.
Myth #2: Only consumer companies can make interesting content
B2B companies have the most upside potential. No one expects wonderful. But you can bring it. Don’t forget the old social media adage: entertain or educate.
What works best?
- Popular posts include people photos – remember your Chinese team will be your most important promoters.
- Visually impactful content – not just photos but well-designed posts
- Original artwork
- A compelling story
- New reports with compelling statistics or findings
Myth #3: I need a fancy game or app.
Games and apps all have their place – but anything “off the shelf” is probably already pretty stale. Think about how your fans will use the app and how it will promote engagement, or what behaviors you want to push. Mini Programs may have a great place but don't build one just to join the crowd – make it useful for your target audience.
Myth #4: It’s a small screen, so this should all be really easy
After reading all of the above, you know this is actually a lot of work. We don't really recommend pushing this down to your intern. It also means there should be a realistic budget set for either external or internal teams to develop on-brand, compelling content.
Myth #5: We can re-purpose Facebook content
Yes you can, to a certain extent. WeChat posts are generally longer and more similar to blogs than Twitter or Facebook content. The WeChat ecosystem is also much different than Facebook – on Facebook your post will gain reach as long as someone simply “likes” the post, but on WeChat to get visibility, followers must take the action to forward the post to a specific chat, or post it on their moments. Content should be much more compelling and useful.
Want to learn more about how WeChat marketing works in China? Download our free guide to B2B WeChat marketing in China.