WeChat for brands: informal tips for those getting started on the platform

13 Sep 2021
Niki Zheng

When seeking to expand in the Chinese market, brands consider several factors. In Mainland China, there is one that goes above all others: online presence. Known as a “super app,” WeChat remains the most essential expansion platform for businesses implemented in the world’s second-largest economy, be it local or international ones.

Boasting a massive monthly active user count of 1.2 billion, WeChat is China’s largest social media app and most efficient marketing platform nationwide. Through WeChat “mini-programs” – which can be more or less defined as apps within the app, businesses have the ability to expand their online presence seamlessly and cost-effectively. However, having a WeChat account alone isn’t enough.

Here are three things brands should know before creating their WeChat account:

  1. Personalisation at the core

No matter whether you use your account internally or externally, your content needs to stand out from the rest. In other words, show that you can offer something others can’t. Delivering a personalised message is always a smart move to get closer to your audience. To do this, consider adding an online chat function on your WeChat account for consumers to instantly interact with you. Although widely used on WeChat, avoid chatbots since they can be perceived as rather impersonal. Try to respond to your customers on time by dedicating a team to handle enquiries.

  1. Blending words with visual design

Unlike the more traditional press releases and e-commerce pages, brand stories on WeChat should be soft and creative. WeChat wasn’t designed as a shopping platform so your audience might not necessarily be online to shop. Blending words with visual design is a soft strategy to attract new consumers. To achieve that, hijack the audience’s attention by linking your brand’s message to a trending topic. 

  1. Building your brand’s mobile hub with “mini-programs”

WeChat is more than an app, it is an entire ecosystem. With 400 million active users, its “mini-programs” have revolutionised the way Chinese consumers interact with their devices. These apps within the app are alike any traditional app, the only – but major – difference being that they do not need to be downloaded and do not reduce storage space. Whether it is to book a hotel, enter the subway gates or order food, “mini-programs” are part and parcel of Chinese consumers’ daily lives.

As an example, Sinclair was recently appointed by Sotheby’s to work alongside its editorial team, crafting human-centric, creative and compelling digital content tailor-made to Chinese audiences, through the fine arts company’s WeChat platform. In a move to attract new generations of collectors in China and the region, we curated content blending digital with the arts, demonstrating that traditional art forms and modernity are not incompatible. Another example is our work with DBS – in which we were appointed to strengthen brand awareness for DBS Treasures via WeChat, ultimately leading to more individuals opening accounts with the bank.

WeChat has got all the tools for you to develop your business while alleviating the costs of developing a traditional app. So… what are you waiting for?

If you would like support getting started on WeChat, or are interested in appointing a digital and integrated communications agency to manage the platform for you, this is something the team at Sinclair can support with.

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