Every business in China, whether foreign or domestic, should have a digital presence on WeChat. Indeed, what was at the time only an instant messaging application has now become one of the most popular platforms for building brand awareness and generating leads. However, there are a few things to consider when using WeChat as part of your B2B strategy. Therefore in this article, we will explain how WeChat can be a powerful tool for your B2B strategy, as well as some tips and tricks in order to take advantage of WeChat:
WeChat: The Leading Social Media App in China
As the leading app in China, it is essential for those who want to expand their activities in the world’s most populous country to understand the importance of WeChat and how to take advantage of it.
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What is WeChat?
Developed by the famous company Tencent, WeChat (known as Weixin 微信 in China) was launched in 2011 in Mainland China, and in 2012 in its international version. This app quickly became the world’s largest standalone mobile app, reaching 1 billion monthly active users in 2018. Nowadays, WeChat is boasting over 1.2 billion monthly active users and is part of Chinese people’s daily life. So, as you probably already know, WeChat was a messaging app at first but Tencent saw its potential to reach a wider audience by implementing services directly available through the app. That’s why WeChat is called the “super app” or “the app for everything”. It quickly established itself as the most popular app in China to the point of becoming a must-have for every company entering the Chinese market.
While our days are punctuated by the use of instant messaging and multiple social media, Chinese people are mainly using WeChat to do almost everything. From the beginning till the end of the day, Chinese people are using WeChat.
Its ecosystem is indeed one of the most complete in terms of services and mini-programs. You will be able to access all kinds of services, from chatting and sharing posts, to ordering and paying for your lunch.
WeChat’s Ecosystem allows its users to provide text messaging with a hold-to-talk functionality, use video conference, play video games, but also acts as a social media such as Instagram or Facebook with the possibility the share pictures and videos on what is called the “WeChat Moments”.
This is one of the reasons why you should prioritize WeChat as a way to develop your business in China, and directly reach your Chinese clients. The more they will use WeChat, the more chance you’ll have to target them.
According to Hootsuite‘s report, 54.6% of WeChat users are male, while 45.4% are female users. Moreover, as of 2019, about 25% of WeChat users in China were between 25 and 30 years old. However, there was around 19% of users aged over 41. More than 26% of China’s mobile users spent above 30 minutes per day on WeChat
The number of active accounts on WeChat has been increasing steadily over the years. In the last quarter of 2020, WeChat had over 1.2 billion monthly active users.
On another hand, it is important to take into account that almost all the companies that are doing business in China have an official WeChat account.
Why Should you Use WeChat for B2B Marketing?
Even though WeChat is one of the most used social media in the world, not everyone is aware of WeChat’s potential with its rich and vast ecosystem. Following its success and omnipresence in China, it is undeniable that for those who want to do business in China, WeChat is a must-have. By using WeChat, even the smallest companies can build a strong and healthy basis for growth in the Middle Kingdom
Some of the reasons why you should use Wechat to do marketing
- As of today, Wechat is the main tool of communication in China – Privately and professionally.
- Unable Wechat pay (one of the most popular payment methods in China, alongside Alipay) in your brick-and-mortar stores, but also on your website/online store.
- Best Alternative to email marketing & emailing in general
- Content in a format that is more adapted to Chinese netizens habits (H5 brochure, WeChat post, channel)
- WeChat mini-program & Store (integrated App that does not require to be downloaded & installed)
- Official Account for Credibility
- Better communication with customers through Wechat Menu & Wechat CRM
Having a Business Account on WeChat is Essential for B2B Marketing
Even though WeChat is a closed social media platform allowing users to only see their friends’ posts and accounts that they follow, brands can still interact with subscribers / other companies on a personalized level. The platform’s Mini Programs for example, that are third-party “apps” that run in WeChat without requiring downloads, increased to more than one million in 2018, used by brands such as Burberry, H&M, Dior, and Longchamp, and the use of WeChat by companies is significant. Thus, WeChat is not only a powerful tool for B2C, but also for B2B.
How to set up a business account on WeChat?
Many companies have a WeChat account that people can follow, subscribe to, and add to their network. However, as there are many verified accounts there are also a lot of non-verified accounts. A verified account shows that WeChat recognizes that the account is official and shares high-quality and creative content.
Thanks to that recognition, the brand can attract potential partners by posting high-quality media content such as videos, pictures, and text messages. On another hand, they will be more comfortable when knowing that the WeChat account is verified and they will be more likely to subscribe.
Registering for a WeChat Official Account as a Chinese Organization:
First of all, go to WeChat Official Account’s website to register. Then, in order to register an official account through WeChat’s self-service platform, you will need the following:
- A Chinese ID (身份证 or shēnfèn zhèng)
- A Chinese phone number
- A Chinese business license if you have one (营业执照 or yíngyè zhízhào)
- Chinese organization code (组织机构代码证 or zǔzhī jīgòu dàimǎzhèng)
The registration process is entirely in Chinese. Head to the WeChat public platform website for a step-by-step application. If you are not familiar with the process, you should request help from a local agency.
From here the procedure is simple for Chinese registered businesses. Ensure you have a Chinese representative to manage the setup as their id photo and number are required.
You will then have to wait for verification and select whether you want to open a service or subscription account. Typically, opening a service account is the preferable option for most businesses. As a matter of fact, a service account is kind of similar to newsletters but uses a mobile communication framework. You’ll be able to send product information, corporate news, reply easily to followers, etc.
Registering for a Wechat Official Account as a Non-Registered Entity in China:
#1 Application via WeChat Directly
Before applying for an official account on WeChat, you have to know that WeChat is selecting & prioritizing the most innovative concepts and ad opportunities through a drastic selection process.
WeChat has famously been reticent to discuss in depth how the application process works for foreign entities but here is the current protocol: You will need to outline how you plan to use your account. You need to explain the concept of your business, how you will use the account and what the use of you being on WeChat actually is.
When it comes to proposals you can consider a number of factors:
- Design (HTM5 format for WeChat)
- Page layouts
- Will the official account be connected to a WeChat store?
- What is your promotional strategy?
- And what is your ad spend?
Business credentials are important, you need to include:
- A local phone number
- Business email address
- Documentation to prove the existence of the company (business license, tax form etc.)
To clarify, the more documents you can send, the better. Give copies of anything that proves the existence and success of your business – you can even send business cards.
#2 Prepare an Investment of 3K RMB (500 USD) – Recommended, but not mandatory
Tencent team recommended a minimum of 200 000 RMB in ad spend which will also need to be detailed. This includes moments ads & display ads.
It seems the platform is seeking to be selective when handing out applications to companies. For instance, companies that are more likely to invest in innovation have more chances to succeed. WeChat is a hub of innovation, therefore presenting a strategy that demonstrates this is beneficial.
Similarly, in terms of accounts directly authorized by WeChat, larger companies are favored. Why? Because they are considered to have the marketing resources to promote WeChat as a safe and trustworthy platform. Bear that in mind when applying. After your account is approved, WeChat will send your WeChat ID and password, which you will need to log in to the admin WeChat platform. Meanwhile, you can check the progress of your application using your email address and application number.
What does it mean for your B2B company to have a verified business account?
In addition to the trust you will gain from your potential partners and other businesses, there are also some functionalities and other features that will be unlocked as soon as the verification process will be complete. This verification process costs 300RMB (roughly 45 USD) per year for the Chinese platform and 99 USD per year for the international platform.
However, if you don’t want to waste time and reduce the amount of paperwork and process, you can contact us and we will create a verified account on Wechat for you. You also have to take note that your account’s verified status will remain active for one year from the date of the verification.
How to take advantage of WeChat for your B2B business?
Wechat Paid Ads for B2B Company in China
WeChat Paid Ads are always a hot topic in China, some will preach their effectiveness whilst others are skeptical. The key is budget allocation, WeChat ads do require a higher level of an initial investment than other platforms. You need to ask yourself: “What’s the point of using WeChat ads?” In reality, the purpose of it is to attract followers while engaging new ones, as well as to attract and collaborate with other businesses.
From our experience, there is a magic number when it comes to WeChat: 10,000 followers. This number is an important key factor for your future growth with more re-posts, shares, and an animated community engaging with your brand & business. Thanks to that, it will also reassure other companies when partnering with them.
Tips for Successful B2B Marketing Campaigns on WeChat
- With a service account on WeChat, you’ll be able to send a group message to your followers once per month. The purpose is to receive inquiries and then respond to them quickly and easily.
- For B2B companies, it can be helpful to use the type of accounts in order to select and send your latest products’ information as well as news about your company.
- Be active on WeChat, share useful and clear content (in Mandarin Chinese!), reply to consumers and clients, engage with your audience, etc.
- Get to know your audience and your target clients, define your objectives, etc. To do so, you can, for example, do market research beforehand (you can contact us and we’ll do it for you).
- WeChat is extremely useful for lead generation as well as after-sales support and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
- Following the rising use of e-commerce platforms (especially after the Covid-19 outbreak), it is more than ever essential to use WeChat as part of your B2B marketing, as it is more convenient (everyone has WeChat in China), quick, and easy to share information on it.
- WeChat makes your work easier and allows you to share interesting, engaging, and animated content.
Contact us to Get Started on WeChat for B2B Marketing
The Chinese market is one of the most promising in the world in terms of opportunities, both for smaller companies like startups, but also for larger international companies. But in order to succeed, you will need to adapt your marketing strategies to local demands and methods, such as using the most popular platform in China: WeChat. To do so, you will need to do a lot of research beforehand and develop a strong marketing and communication strategy. However, expanding its activities in China is not an easy task, as 50% of brands fail because they don’t understand the Chinese market well enough. Working with specialists in the Chinese market is the key to success.
Designing the right digital marketing strategy is therefore key. Working with an agency that has both western and Chinese points of view like Gentlemen Marketing Agency can help you overcome the pitfalls of the Chinese market. Our agency has developed the marketing strategy on Wechat for many companies. We have collaborated with many companies, helping them with their Wechat marketing strategies and our experts are here to help you develop yours in China.
Our services for WeChat:
- We are Tencent’s Official Partner
- Almost 10 years of experience on WeChat
- WeChat content & formating specialists
- In-depth reporting & analytics
- We have already opened 220+ WeChat accounts for our clients
- Our agency has managed 900+ projects
- An international team with experts specialized in various fields (Luxury, Fashion, F&B, Alcohol, Cosmetics, Tourism, Education, Entertainment, Real Estate, etc.)
- We manage all projects according to your needs, expectations, and budget. Our strategy is tailored for your business in particular, and we’ll plan everything with you.
If you have any questions or inquiries about WeChat or if you have a serious project in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us directly and we will contact you within 24 hours.