Statistically speaking, only 11% of China’s Internet users prefer to use desktops or laptops when surfing the web, which indicates a huge shift to mobile platforms. Since WeChat users exceeded 1 billion in 2018, it’s high time to use WeChat “official accounts” for things as simple as your brand newsletter distribution platform, or as complicated as a mobile mini-site. This is a place to interact with your followers, keep them updated with real-time relevant information, and even close deals with help of WeChat Pay.
Two types of WeChat Official Accounts
There are two types of official accounts available, the “service account” and the “subscription account.” Here is a short comparison of the two types of accounts available on the platform.
How Will Your Posts Reach Your Subscribers?
The way your notifications reach a subscriber depends on which type of WeChat account you choose. The screenshots below will help you better understand how users see the messages they receive in the official accounts.
Messages from a service account are shown as instant messages coming directly from WeChat contacts. They will be showcased in the chatting list and alerted with notifications on the phone. This is the most direct method to reach your follower.
Messages from a subscription account will be shown in the Subscription Accounts folder which requires being unfolded by recipients to access. A red “notification” dot is shown next to the folder with unread messages. The posts are listed in chronological order.
China Daily is a perfect example to showcase details of WeChat official account. It sends newsletter pushes every afternoon, which contains 6 to 8 posts.
The timing of your push is of great importance and can influence the open rate. In the case of China Daily, messages are usually delivered around 5 pm, when people generally leave work, begin commutes and start evening activities.
To Better Engage with Your Followers
Customized Menu Bar
The official account menu bar works as a navigation tool. and making a customized menu is a key to transforming a WeChat official account into a mini-site, which makes it easily accessible on smartphones. Customizing the menu is extremely simple. By creating a two-leveled menu, your business can guide users to easily find redirecting links, send greeting messages and contact customer support services. It’s crucial to make it concisely classified and inclusive of major features.
Join to Mini-Apps
Link: Things you would like to know about WeChat Mini-App
Now with the creation of mini-apps, the possibilities of WeChat official accounts are endless. The official account can be transformed into anything that can better serve your targeted audience.
McDonald’s is known as the leader who has integrated its online and offline business well with WeChat. Let’s take a look at how McDonald’s is playing with the official account –
- Automatic greeting message and costumed menu bar
- Meal ordering in mini app
McDonald’s mini app provides smooth online ordering and ensuring offline delivery.
- Coupons and vouchers in WeChat Cards and Offers
Coupons received from WeChat official account can be stored in WeChat Cards and Offers for later use even without internet access in the physical stores.
- Stores nearby linked to the official website
Once your location information pointed in WeChat is authorized to be accessed by McDonald’s official site, then you will be recommended to the stores nearby on the rank of closest distance.
- Application downloading
Except for the mini app and official site, where else can McDonald’s official account take us to? The answer is the native application. By providing the downloading URL, it has given the audience another option on keeping updated with its latest trends.
How to Apply for a WeChat Official Account
After deciding which type of WeChat official account is best for your business, it’s time to open an official account. The process of applications will vary depending on your business qualification, as listed below.
If you are…
- A local Chinese entity, and your business registered in mainland China as a local corporation, all the applications can be completed online by uploading a copy of your business registration certificate.
- A foreign entity and your business is not incorporated in mainland China, you can register your WeChat official account on the International version of WeChat. Usually, the cost is 99 USD.
Using the Back-End to Post Updates
For the update pushes, there are 5 formats available to choose from – classic newsletter posts (text with pictures, audio, and video embedded), plain text, image, voice and video messages.
It’s also possible to send posts to certain groups of people from your followers’ base by selecting a target audience based on gender and location. This feature is extremely important when it comes to tailor-made notices, such as promoting activities, launching new products or broadcasting events. Listed below is an example of how to target a specific userbase:
- Gender – Male
- Country – China
- City – Shanghai
Further Marketing Analysis
You will have instantaneous access to the feedback data at the back-end platform, with data including the open ratio of each article or the click rate for article hyperlinks.
The trend of follower number is another important indication to a WeChat official account popularity which can further guide to form and establish content distribution styles.
Manage Your Followers
WeChat offers an easy way to manage your follower base by tagging them with your own creative labels. What’s more, you can blacklist the annoying ones and prevent them from accessing your account ever again. However, don’t overuse it!
Generate Your QR code
A QR code is the unique identity of your WeChat official account that can be generated from the back-end. In our experience, the number of followers who join through QR code is about the same as those who click the “follow” button. So, don’t hesitate to design yourself a fancy QR code design!
Globally, especially in China, WeChat is gaining ground. Its influence is everywhere, and therefore, embracing WeChat users becomes essential to enhancing brand presence on mobile platforms and exploring potential in the Chinese market.
The options we mentioned before are just the tip of the iceberg. It would be wise to start cultivating and building up your loyal fanbase from now on, and to engage in researching the use of WeChat official accounts!