Despite its size, China is a very connected country with a high mobile penetration rate. According to the China Statistical Report on Internet Development published in August 2017, the country has an online population of 751 million, with over 95% accessing the internet using their mobile devices.The Chinese are also said to spend an average of three hours a day on their smartphones, mainly on social media platforms and online shopping. That is why a strong mobile presence for brands breaking into the China market is important.
One of the best channels to do that is WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app. In fact, it has even largely replaced work emails for business communication. But the app is popular because it isn’t a mere messaging platform.
Using WeChat, one would be able to hail a cab, manage credit card bills, read the news and stay in contact with friends, without even leaving the app itself. Just think of the app as a combination of “Uber, Facebook, ApplePay, Amazon and even Tinder”.
With more than 1 billion monthly users currently on WeChat, it is important for brands and organisations to have a presence in the app. One way to do that is to create an “official account”, which is essentially a mobile website within the app.
According to the WeChat Economic and Social Impact Report 2017, official accounts help businesses grow by increasing income, improving efficiency and cutting costs. Apparently, over 32% of business on WeChat have sold products via official accounts, about 40% of them offered customer services or public services and nearly 34% could cut costs by more than 30%.
In fact, WeChat may be one of the few digital channels businesses can use to enter the Chinese market because other social media platforms, like Facebook and Youtube, are banned in the country. Plus, there are many WeChat users outside of China so businesses could target beyond the Chinese market using the app.
One brand that used WeChat successfully in their marketing strategies was Uniqlo, a Japanese casual wear retailer, which launched the “Style Your Life” campaign in 2014. What Uniqlo did was to place machines that would take photos of customers with different international locations as the background in their physical stores. The photos would then be sent to customers via WeChat. By integrating both online and offline elements, the brand saw an increase of its WeChat followers from 400,000 in mid-2014 to 1 million about six months later. During the campaign, Uniqlo also saw a 30% increase in sales of key items.
WeChat also allows businesses to tap on the “show-off” mindset of the current generation on social media. Calvin Klein successfully allowed users to indulge in that mindset in one of their WeChat campaigns involving interactive outdoor screens in 2016. QR codes were displayed on those screens and users were encouraged to scan the code to share a photo of themselves with friends on WeChat. This gave them a chance for the photo to be featured on the big screens and to get a free gift. As a result, Calvin Klein saw a 50% increase in sales volume during its campaign for the Chinese Valentine’s Day that year.
Source: The Drum
One of the best ways to build a relationship with the audience is to be consistent in the messaging and tone. According to the WeChat Impact Report 2016, the top factors as determined by users as to what to share on WeChat are how useful or interesting the piece of content is. That’s why businesses need to post regularly and create content that people can learn from and relate to.
This is even more important in China because Chinese consumers tend to consider products or services if the brands are mentioned on social media platforms. Hence, businesses have to be sure that the content they push out in WeChat will keep audiences interested and engaged. After all, like any other digital channel, content is king.
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