If you are an international brand trying to test the waters marketing to China and improving your brand visibility in the mainland, you’ve already considered creating an account on WeChat, China’s most popular social media network as of 2016.
For any marketing strategy to be successful, it is imperative to optimize the customer experience. So, WeChat isn’t any different – if you can run an End of Season sales campaign on Facebook or Pinterest, you can pull it off on WeChat too. Only, the rules of the game are slightly different. But rest easy, we’ve perfected the right formula:
..will surely help you get your brand across to the Chinese customer.
Before we delve into how to create a WeChat Service account, it is important to understand the type of accounts available and the account that would be most suited to your Business needs.
Any WeChat account created for a business is referred to as a "WeChat Official Account". Official accounts can either be:
- Weixin accounts (Chinese version of WeChat)
- Overseas accounts
Overseas accounts cannot be accessed by WeChat users in mainland China. So if you are trying to reach Chinese consumers within the country, then you will need to create a Weixin official account.
Types of WeChat Accounts
There are three types of accounts businesses can choose:
> WeChat Subscription Account
> WeChat Service Account
> WeChat Enterprise Accounts
Enterprise accounts are for internal use and are accessible to employees with an e-mail address from that specific company- messaging within a company between various departments - Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, and so on. The Enterprise account also covers Project Management activities – interestingly, it is often thought of as a Slack alternative for China. So, not really useful if you’re thinking about carving a presence for your brand within China.
The Subscription and Service accounts vary mostly based on the following parameters:
> Frequency of Push-messages
> Range of Features & Services supported in the WeChat Account
Important note: Only verified Service Accounts and Enterprise Accounts have full access to advanced features and developer tools. So, it is all the more imperative to choose wisely based on what you want to achieve for your brand on WeChat.
Here’s a snapshot of the most significant differences between both types of accounts and what may be best for your business:
Now, with some clarity on what’s possible through each account type, we can get down to what will fit your goals.
Subscription Accounts offer a basic model of communication with no menus or advanced features, thus making it ideal for brands who want to push frequent content to their followers. While brands can broadcast one update a day, these don’t show up as a push notification – users will see these updates in their subscription message folders – which they need to actively navigate to.
This kind of an engagement will work well for brands that can keep followers engaged through interesting offers, discounts, and useful content, thereby encouraging users to come back for future updates. Retail stores or daily deal providers, for instance, use their subscription accounts to inform their followers of daily product promotions, while restaurants can use it to inform followers of special menu items, free delivery services, or even exclusive discounts. The options really are endless, as long as you're creating content that is carefully aligned to your target market's specific needs.
Service accounts offer businesses a wider range of options and features, such as interactive menus, mobile payments and e-commerce thus creating a rich user experience that's both convenient and simple to use.
With access to advanced features like customizable menus and the ability to create customized mini websites, brands can enable users to browse products, make purchases, locate stores and so on. A hotel for example could use their service account to let users make an online reservation or a retailer could offer services like an online store and easy branch locator.
For the engagement to strike a chord with followers, identifying the right services that will enrich the customer experience is key. Performance analytics can be used to monitor and assess the success of campaigns, allowing a brand to make adjustments where necessary.
In a nutshell, if you're simply looking for a new way to communicate with your customers, a subscription account is all you'll need. However, for those businesses who want to offer an interactive service environment and function as a one-stop shop for everything about your businesses including sales and service, a verified service account would be the way to go.
That said, there is nothing stopping businesses from having both accounts – a subscription account to keep your loyal followers engaged with the latest offers, updates and specials from your brand as well as a service account that converts into an actual sale is possible.
While this may seem a lot of trouble when it comes down to managing both accounts in terms of content, it really isn’t with a platform like WeChatify. WeChatify lets you collaboratively create, translate, plan and schedule your content marketing across multiple WeChat accounts.
Disclaimer: It is important to note that Tencent is constantly making updates to WeChat Official Accounts so some details may change and new features can be added.