What Is WeChat?
WeChat is a messaging and calling app that allows you to easily connect with family & friends across countries. It’s the all-in-one communications app for sending messages, voice and video calls, daily moments, sharing photos, and games.
There are two types of WeChat accounts, Personal Accounts, and Official Accounts. Personal accounts are for personal use and Official accounts are for organizations, businesses, media, and even government.
A digital wallet service incorporated into WeChat, allows users to perform mobile payments and money transfers. This payment platform is also accepted in other countries such as the US, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Italy, and South Africa.
WeChat mini-programs are WeChat’s version of apps. They are built into the WeChat ecosystem and do not require users to download them from an app store. Users can access mini-programs without having to first add them as a contact. The functionalities of a mini-program can range from ride-hailing and food delivery to games, e-commerce, and payments.
WeChat’s Official Account, How Does It Work?
As the most popular social media platform in China, WeChat provides businesses with a unique opportunity to reach out to Chinese consumers. Setting up a WeChat Official Account is essential for any business that wants to tap into this market. Like in Facebook Page or Twitter, a WeChat Official Account is an entity that represents a business on WeChat. It can be used to build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or online store, and generate sales. It serves as a communication platform between businesses and customers and allows businesses to share information, such as articles, images, and videos.
Ways for Users To Find WeChat Official Accounts
There are a few ways for users to discover official accounts on WeChat.
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 as a way 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.
WeChat Official Account: Account Types and Functions
There are three types of WeChat Official Accounts – Service accounts, Subscription accounts, and WeChat Work.
Service Accounts – These accounts are designed for companies that need to provide customer service. Service Accounts can be used to send out automated messages (e.g. appointment reminders) and offer customer service via chatbots 24/7.
Subscription Accounts – 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.
WeChat Work – WeChat Work (Formerly “Enterprise Account”) is a communication and collaboration tool designed for enterprises. It includes features such as group chat, video conferencing, and document sharing.
WeChat Subscription vs. Service Accounts, Which One Should You Choose?
The main difference between Service Accounts and Subscription Accounts is the frequency of messages that can be sent. Service Accounts can send up to 4 times per month, while Subscription Accounts can send 1 message per day. If your business needs to send out frequent updates, then a Subscription Account may be a better choice. However, if you only need to send occasional messages, then a Service Account may be a better option.
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.
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 business license and entity in China.
To set up your account, you will need the following documents:
- Business license of the company
- Bank account associated with the company
- ID of the legal representative with a WeChat payment account linked to a Chinese bank card.
The timeframe for setting up your account is usually around 7-14 days and the cost is $50 for the verification process.
Step-by-Step Guide To Creating 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 (for foreign nationals)
- 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.
Step 1: Go to https://mp.weixin.qq.com/ and click on “Sign up now” in the top right-hand corner.
Step 2: Choose your account type. You can either choose a Service Account or Subscription Account. Please refer to the types of WeChat Official Accounts section to decide which account type is best for you.
Step 3: Key in your email address and the password you want to use for your WeChat Official Account. Also, enter the verification code and you will also need to agree to WeChat’s terms and conditions after that. Click on 注册 to continue.
Step 4: After providing your email address and login credentials, this will send a confirmation email to the email address you provided. You will need to click on the link in the email to verify your account.
Step 5: You will be taken to a page to confirm the type of account you want.
Step 6: A warning will prompt you that once you choose your account type, you will not be able to change it.
Step 7: Next step is you will choose the type the organization you work for. You can choose from the options provided or select “Other Organization” if it does not fit into any of the categories.
Step 8: You will be then redirected to a page to enter the company information. This is where you need to enter the company name and the company license number.
Step 9: Verify your bank account. In this step, you’ll have 2 options.
Option 1: You will need to make a money transfer from your bank account to Tencent’s bank account. Choosing this option will not require your WeChat Official account to be verified.
Option 2: This time it will be Tencent who will make a money transfer to your bank account and find a verification number from that transaction. Now, you have 30 days to verify your WeChat Official Account to keep the request active.
Step 10: For the next step, you’ll be entering the WeChat account operator details.
Step 11: Confirm the company name.
Step 12: Enter your account information such as WeChat Official Account Name, account description, the location or country where you will be operating, and you also need to attach a profile photo for your account.
Tip: When writing your account description or bio, make sure to write it in Mandarin as that is the main language used in WeChat and so that it will understand by the Chinese users.
Step 13: After entering all of your details, a pop-up window will appear to inform you that you have 30 days complete the account verification if you choose “Option 2” from step 9 to verify your bank account.
WeChat Official Account Verification Process
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.
Step 1: On your WeChat account, go to “Account Settings” on the left side menu then the blue button that says “微信认证” next to WeChat verification.
Step 2: Click on the green button for the verification process to start.
Step 3: You will now choose to verify the account either through text message or by entering the account operator’s ID.
Step 4: Agree to WeChat’s Terms and Conditions.
Step 5: You’ll be redirected to a form that you need to fill out with the important information about your business including the license number, office landline number, WeChat operator’s details, and scope of operation for your business.
Step 6: Next, enter your preferred WeChat Official Account name and business type.
Step 7: Attach the information to your “Fapiao”. In China, fapiao means “invoice” which serves as a tax tracking document for businesses. This is important as it will be used to verify your company’s identity and business address.
Step 8: This is the last step and this is for paying the verification fee of $50 using your WeChat payment.
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 features that are available 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.
Having a WeChat Official Account is essential for businesses that want to succeed in China. With over 1 billion monthly active users, WeChat provides businesses with a massive audience to reach.
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.
Many people thought that WeChat is just a messaging app, but it’s so much more than that.
We list some reasons below why you should open a WeChat Official Account for your business:
Reaching a Huge Audience
WeChat has over 1 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.
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 official 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 in Engaging Customers
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.
Enhanced Security That Your Business Needs
WeChat provides businesses with enhanced security features. 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.
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.
Marketing Tips for WeChat Official 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.
WANT A WECHAT AGENCY ?
Contact us… we can help you