Wechat is a messaging app that is hard to overlook for all people anyhow connected with China. This all-in-one app provides many functions, from sending messages, to creating a brand’s store. With over 1.26 billion monthly active users, it’s the go-to app for all Chinese and a must-use tool for anyone interested in doing business in China.
Any business ready to start marketing on WeChat, cannot skip the first step, which is to create a WeChat business account, serving as a mini-website or blog for all announcements and communication with your followers. In this blog post, we will guide you through WeChat official accounts and show you how to start one.
What is a WeChat Official Account?
WeChat official accounts (also called WeChat business accounts or WeChat public accounts) can be compared to Facebook’s brand page, but with a newsletter function. They allow you to post content for your followers, that will get a notification about any new publication, just like we do with newsletters on emails.
On top of that, they serve as a communication tool between a brand and its consumers. WeChat official accounts are the first step in the brand’s Wechat journey, as they are also needed if you’re thinking about expanding your WeChat strategy later (setting up a brochure, WeChat store, and more).
Why do brands need WeChat business accounts?
WeChat is a valuable gateway for international brands to reach Chinese customers. However, authenticity plays an important role in gaining trust from shoppers – as such, official accounts are preferred over any other platform when seeking information or making purchases.
You need to remember there are many fake brands and counterfeit products on the Chinese market, so consumers prefer to make sure they can trust a brand.
How can you leverage your WeChat public account?
WeChat official accounts can be game-changers for businesses, offering a wide array of features to engage and connect with audiences. These include providing broadcast messaging, managing comments on the account, tracking performance analytics & taking advantage of direct messages – all tailored to your business needs and resources.
WeChat Official Account: account types and functions
There are three types of WeChat Official Accounts – Service accounts, Subscription accounts, and WeChat Work (also called WeChat enterprise accounts, meant for internal communication). In this article, we will focus on Wechat service accounts and WeChat subscription accounts, because those two account types are made for brands and companies for marketing purposes.
These accounts are designed for companies that need to provide customer service. A service account can be used to send out automated messages (e.g. appointment reminders) and offer customer service via chatbots 24/7. They also offer many tools necessary for your brands’ growth on weChat (like analytics, WeChat Pay, HTML pages, and more).
What is more, WeChat service accounts are the only available option for having a WeChat official account overseas, as they allow for registration without a Chinese business license.
These accounts are designed for companies that need to push out content regularly. Subscription Accounts allow companies to send one message per day to their subscribers, but those messages are not as noticeable as on a service account. They go to a subscription folder with all the other messages, while a WeChat service account sends push notifications to all followers.
WeChat subscription account vs. WeChat service account
The main difference between WeChat service accounts and Wechat subscription accounts is the frequency of messages that can be sent. A Wechat service account can send up to 4 times per month, while a WeChat subscription account can send 1 message per day. If your business needs to send out frequent updates, then a subscription account may be a better choice.
For media, newspapers, and magazines that need to send daily content, subscription accounts are the best choice. For businesses that need to send out appointment reminders, order notifications (e-commerce), or other time-sensitive messages, service accounts are a better option.
The main advantage of having a service account is the fact that a message sent by a service account appears as a chat message, similar to one sent by a friend. This means that thanks to those push notifications, WeChat official account followers get a higher chance of noticing your new content.
Creating a WeChat Official Account
Now that you know the different types of WeChat Official Accounts, let’s take a look at how to create WeChat Official Account.
Setting up a WeChat Official Account with an international company
Local regulations in China are strict when it comes to internet companies, this includes WeChat. There are two options for setting up a WeChat Official Account if you are an international company.
The first option is using your overseas business license. It’s a long process that can take months and it cost a $99 fee for verification. This option has the great advantage of enabling you to have full control over your account as you will be the owner of your WeChat Official Account and also remove the risk of relying on 3rd party providers that oversee and control your followers and messages.
The second option is to set up your account through a 3rd party Chinese license provider. The advantage of this option is that it’s much faster (usually a matter of days) and cheaper (usually around $300). However, the disadvantage is that you will not be the owner of your WeChat Official Account. This means that if the 3rd party provider decides to shut down your account or stop working with you, you will lose all your followers and data.
Setting up a WeChat Official Account with a local Chinese company
If you have a local Chinese company, then you can set up your WeChat Official Account through WeChat’s parent company, Tencent. The process is much simpler and faster as you will already have a local Chinese business license.
How to create a WeChat Official Account
Now that we’ve gone over the different types of WeChat Official Accounts and how to set them up, let’s take a look at the step-by-step process for creating your own WeChat Official Account.
First, the requirements:
- An email address
- A Chinese business license or Chinese ID with a WeChat payment account
- Landline phone number of the Chinese company
- Chinese account operator with a WeChat account, ID, and contact details.
- Chinese bank account and its details
- WeChat Official type of account (Service or Subscription)
Now that you have all the requirements, you can begin creating your account
The process is pretty straightforward. Please go to the WeChat registration page and click on “Sign up now” in the top right-hand corner. Then follow all the steps, filling out all the information needed.
After you have completed all the steps above, now it’s time to verify your WeChat Official Account. The verification process is important as it will give your users more confidence in your brand and also allow you to enjoy more features that are not available to unverified accounts.
To verify the account, you need to go to your WeChat account and go to “Account Settings” on the left side menu then the blue button that says “微信认证” next to WeChat verification.
Beware that you will be asked to pay a verification fee. After you have made the payment, wait for WeChat to review and approve your account. This usually takes around 1-5 business days.
After your WeChat Official Account has been verified, you can start using all the available features to help grow and promote your business in China!
Why should my business have a WeChat Official Account?
In China, WeChat is not just a messaging app it’s an all-in-one platform that allows businesses to do everything from marketing to e-commerce to customer service.
Foreign companies that want to do business in China need to have a WeChat Official Account. WeChat is how Chinese people communicate, shop, and pay bills. If you’re not on WeChat, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
We’ll list some reasons below why you should open a WeChat Official Account for your business:
Reaching a huge audience
WeChat has over 1.26 billion monthly active users. This provides businesses with a massive audience to reach out to. By opening a WeChat Official Account, businesses can connect with potential and existing customers easily and quickly.
Cost-effective marketing strategy
WeChat is a cost-effective way to market your business in China. You can use WeChat to reach potential customers through content marketing, advertising, and social media marketing. The majority of functions available on WeChat don’t require any big investment and are very effective in reaching out to Chinese WeChat users.
Improvement in providing customer support
WeChat provides businesses with a quick and easy way to communicate with customers. You can use WeChat to answer customer questions, provide customer support, and resolve customer complaints.
WeChat also allows businesses to send out automated messages to customers. Automated messages can be used to provide updates on new products and services, announce sales and promotions, and thank customers for their business.
Increased sales for businesses
WeChat allows businesses to sell their products and services directly to consumers. You can use WeChat to set up an online store, take payments, and track sales. This is a huge benefit for businesses that want to sell in China.
WeChat business accounts can also be used to increase sales through marketing and promotion. You can use your account to offer discounts, coupons, and promotions. Also, you can run marketing campaigns and drive traffic to your website or online store.
Improved brand awareness
WeChat is a great way to improve brand awareness in China. You can use WeChat to create informative content, run marketing campaigns, and engage with customers.
Greater insights for better business decisions
WeChat provides businesses with valuable insights into their customers. You can use WeChat to track customer data, analyze customer behavior, and understand customer needs and preferences. This data can be used to improve your marketing and sales strategies.
You can use WeChat to set up two-factor authentication, encrypt messages, and protect your account with a password.
Access to China’s mobile market
WeChat gives businesses access to China’s massive mobile market. You can use WeChat to develop mobile apps, mini-games, and other content for Chinese users that will help you reach your business goals in China.
Localized services To expand your business
WeChat provides businesses with localized services. You can use WeChat to set up a Chinese website, register a Chinese domain name, and obtain a Chinese business license. You can also use WeChat to create a Chinese company page and post Chinese-language content.
Improved SEO for greater reach
WeChat can help improve your business’s SEO. You can use WeChat to create informative content, build backlinks, and increase your web traffic. This is all thanks to the fact that WeChat has its own search engine, which WeChat users use daily to search for information.
When you create content for your WeChat official account, be sure to include keywords that are relevant to your business. This will help improve your account’s visibility in search engines. Additionally, try to build backlinks to your WeChat account from your website and other online channels. This will further increase your account’s SEO.
Take advantage of WeChat’s SEO potential to help improve your business’s online presence.
Ways for users To find WeChat Official Accounts
There are a few ways for users to discover official accounts on WeChat. You have multiple ways of bringing traffic to your business account on WeChat, including;
WeChat social timeline
When users add an official account as a friend, moments from that account will appear on their social timeline. If any of those moments are compelling, the user may choose to visit the official account profile to learn more.
Each official account has a QR code that can be scanned to add the account as a friend. This is often used in brick-and-mortar locations to connect with customers online. QR codes are ideal for situations where potential customers already have their WeChat open, such as at a trade show or an event.
Users can search for official accounts by keywords related to the account’s industry or function. For example, a user might search for “auto repair” if they need to find a nearby service center.
Name Card Sharing
When one user shares the name card of an official account with another user, the second user will see a “follow” button on the name card. If they are interested in the account, they can click “follow” to add it as a friend.
Offline Payments with WeChat Pay
If a user completes an offline payment with WeChat Pay, they will receive a notification about the merchant’s official account. This is a great way for businesses to promote their official account to customers who have already shown an interest in their products or services.
Some businesses choose to run ads on WeChat to promote their official account. This can be an effective way to reach a wider audience, but it can also be quite expensive.
Marketing tips for WeChat Business Accounts
Now that you know how to set up a WeChat Official Account, it’s time to start marketing your business on WeChat. The tips below will help you get started.
Create compelling and high-quality content
The first step is to create compelling content for your WeChat Official Account. This could include articles, videos, infographics, or any other type of content that will interest your target audience.
Think about what type of content would be most useful for your customers or clients, and then create or curate content that meets those needs. It’s also important to keep your content updated regularly so that users will keep coming back for more.
Engage with your audience
This could involve replying to comments or questions, sharing user-generated content, or running contests or giveaways. The more you interact with your audience, the more likely they are to keep coming back. And the more engaged they are, the more likely they are to purchase from your company.
Use WeChat Ads
WeChat Ads are a great way to reach new customers and promote your products or services. You can target ads based on location, age, gender, interests, and other factors. And you can use different types of ads, including image ads, video ads, and even interactive ads.
Generate leads with WeChat
WeChat can also be used to generate leads for your business. For example, you could create a landing page with a form that users can fill out to learn more about your company. Or you could offer a discount or freebie in exchange for contact information.
It is also helpful to automate your customer or follower engagement with a chatbot. For example, you can use a chatbot to welcome new followers, answer common questions, or even sell products or services directly.
We can help you with your WeChat marketing
There are many other ways to engage with your followers and grow your consumer base on WeChat. We can easily say, that this article presents only a few examples and options to get started on WeChat.
We can help you curate an overall WeChat marketing strategy to best leverage the app for your business. We are a Shanghai-based agency with more than 10 years of experience in China.
We offer many solutions and services for Wechat marketing, including;
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us. We offer a free consultation with one of our experts that will learn about your brand and present the best cost-effective solutions to grow your business on WeChat. Let’s keep in touch!