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What is WeChat and why should you care?

WeChat is one of the most popular social messaging platforms in China having over 1 billion monthly active users.

On the first glimpse, it would look like it is the same app as ‘WhatsApp’, but WeChat is much more complex with more features, allowing it to become a lifestyle for Chinese users on an everyday basis, as well as to become a business tool for businesses to reach their ideal clients.

WeChat Features

First of all, WeChat has everything to offer for a social messaging app - it has all communication tools to create a great user experience.

Voice Chat: In case you want to communicate with your friends or colleagues, but hate the hassle of typing, WeChat offers a voice chatting feature, where you can record voice messages.

Video Calls: WeChat offers free face-to-face video calls, whether it is a single person or a bunch.

Group Chat: Users have a feature to create group chats up to 500 people for different reasons, such as to promote service, products, renting offers, events and much more.

WeChat Moments: Users can share pictures, videos or articles between their friends’ circle.

WeChat Stickers: Users can create and share stickers in the form of memes, images, emotions or more.

WeChat is also designed for entertainment purposes, which creates more engagement for its users.

Games: There are built-in game apps, that you can share and play with your friends, similar to Facebook games

Red Packets: Red packets are a very old and important tradition in China. During Chinese New Years, people celebrate by giving out red packets with money in it with each other. WeChat has this feature built in where you can send red packets with money to your friends or group chats as a gift.

WeChat also has a very practical feature called WeChat wallet. If a user links its debit card to WeChat account, you are allowed to transfer money to WeChat wallet, which is used everyday. By 2020, in big cities, barely anyone carries cash, all the transactions are being made through digital platforms whether it is WeChat wallet or Alipay. This creates big opportunities for WeChat businesses to grow and expand.

WeChat Official Accounts/Marketing 101

WeChat Official Account - is a China-based marketing platform which exists in WeChat to help brands:

Gather and engage with followers

Send them targeted content in forms of articles, service notifications, product discounts etc.

Redirect them to a website or e-commerce

These features allow WeChat marketing to become a very powerful tool for businesses to explore and when used right - bring beneficial results. That leads us to different types of WeChat Official Accounts:

   1.    Service accounts
   2.   Subscription accounts
   3.   Enterprise accounts

WeChat Enterprise Account (also known as “WeChat Work”) is an account that is made for internal uses within the company itself and not public. That being said we continue on analysing Service and Subscription accounts.

Service Accounts

Service Account is the most common account for overseas companies, since it does not require a Chinese business license when registering. It has benefits of:

Sending messages to your subscribers up to four times a month

Guaranteeing high visibility, since messages or notifications always goes to the top of the default screen of WeChat

Enabling numbers of API integrations to connect Service Account to your website or mobile app

Creating a WeChat Store under Service Account

Subscriptions Accounts

First of all, in order to create a Subscription Account, you will need to have Chinese business license. Secondly, this type of account has way less functionality compared to Service accounts, nonetheless it has its own benefits:

Allowing to send messages once a day

Content is searchable in Sogou search engine, which is a search engine built in WeChat

Original content can be certified and re-shared by other accounts with mention to the original publisher

Service Accounts vs. Subscription Accounts

WeChat  allows you to post content, engage with followers, create your own WeChat store, run ads and much more. Both types of Official Accounts have their own benefits and if used in the right hands, WeChat marketing becomes a very powerful tool for businesses.

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