What Business WeChat Marketing Should Be Doing

WeChat Marketing: 5 Rules for Success in the App

Companies who want to draw attention to themselves are usually confronted with two challenges: on the one hand, the need to use social media and, on the other hand, the difficulty of keeping the budget as low as possible. So for social media marketing to be successful, you need extraordinary ideas and concepts.

Why Facebook and Twitter don't play a role in China

Most German companies have long realized that if you want to attract suppliers' attention, are looking for qualified personnel or want to increase acceptance within the population, you cannot avoid building an effective online reputation.

But in China, the ideas tried and tested in the West quickly reach their limits. Because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube are not freely available. Google is also blocked. If you want to be successful here, you have to rely on local channels. Of all the Chinese networks, WeChat is by far the most important. 768 million users use the app every day - and on average for around 40 minutes. More than 250 million users use the “WeChat Wallet” payment system. However, like all social media, WeChat is by no means a sure-fire success.

Rule 1: Choose the right account for the company

WeChat offers companies the opportunity to present themselves via "official accounts". “Official” means: The applicant needs a Chinese business license with which he must apply to the operating company Tencent Holdings. There are different types of accounts: Subscription and service accounts are the two most important.

If you as a company want to use WeChat primarily as an information channel, you should opt for a subscription account. If it is more about offering WeChat users a wide range of services including payment functions via one account, a service account is the best choice. For larger companies, it is advisable to operate several WeChat accounts in parallel - each with a different focus.

Rule 2: Use human and financial resources wisely

Many companies planning to enter the Chinese market have limited financial resources. It is all the more important to use them efficiently. Companies who manage to turn employees into brand ambassadors and give them incentives to distribute the company's PR information via their private WeChat accounts have a clear advantage.

In order for this to succeed, all employees have to pull together. Training courses are necessary that are not limited to the employees in the sales or marketing department, but, in the best case, include everyone - from the receptionist to the IT engineer. Employees should be informed about the following: What information from my company is intended for the public? When is the best time to post this information?

Rule 3: Redistribute content virally

In order for the content published via the official accounts to spread virally online, a variety of measures are required: In addition to the involvement of employees (and their private WeChat accounts) in the online marketing strategy, content should also be in industry-specific WeChat groups to be published. In order for this to be successful, social media managers need a sure instinct.

Because if you publish content as a group member without the administrator's consent, you will be deleted from the group in the worst case. Editorial plans should ensure the times at which certain content is posted so that it can achieve a particularly high number of views and shares. The reach (views, shares, likes, etc.) should be continuously monitored and evaluated.

Even more important than sharing information in industry-specific groups is to ensure that the QR code that links to the official WeChat account appears on all marketing materials such as brochures, rollups and posters so that interested WeChat users can find the WeChat account , scan and follow it.

Rule 4: Design and track H5 pages correctly

H5 Pages are web pages integrated in WeChat. Often there are animated pictures and graphics and registration forms on them. It is possible to design H5 Pages in such a way that music is played as soon as the page starts to load.

H5 pages are a particularly suitable tool for referring to events, congresses and trade fairs in which a company takes part. It is crucial that social media managers ensure that users have special incentives to share the H5 pages (e.g. prizes in a competition) and that the number of views and shares is tracked via a corresponding system.

Rule 5: Rely on opinion leaders and other multipliers

Not only large, but also small companies should consider using opinion leaders and other multipliers. Because of the distrust of unknown brands and products, opinion leaders play an even greater role in China than in Germany.

Opinion leaders can be very different people, depending on the company's industry. In the case of a trade fair organizer who organizes a trade fair for building materials, this can be a famous architect, for example, or a star chef in the case of a food manufacturer. Opinion leaders can, for example, appear as speakers at trade fairs or appear in some other form as a company's advertising medium.

As soon as opinion leaders are used, it is important to include them in the digital strategy: For example, by reporting on their commitment to a company on their private and public WeChat accounts (and possibly other social media channels). This should be done in close consultation with the company so that no misunderstandings arise.

Good planning is a prerequisite for success

As far as WeChat marketing is concerned, German medium-sized companies in China no longer have to ask the “if” but rather the “how”. At the beginning of 2017, the number of official accounts was already more than 12 million, and by the end of the year it is expected to increase to at least 14.1 million. However, there is still a great need for education among foreign companies.


Stephan Mayer is a social media expert and founder of the Sinophilia Consulting Limited agency. He supports German companies with their entry into the Chinese market. His clients include the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Voxeljet AG and ROI Management Consultants. Due to his many years of experience in China, he is closely networked with German and Chinese government authorities. He has been writing on the social media blog since 2012 on the subject of "Online Marketing in China". He is particularly interested in Baidu and WeChat marketing.