You'll be aware that WeChat (Weixin in Chinese) is the biggest and most important social media network in China and that Western services are banned (Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook etc). For any business looking to engage in China, WeChat and its 1.25 billion monthly active users are a very important part of the marketing mix. Our specialism lies working with B2B companies, providing quality thought leadership and engagement to support your in-market business profile. Read on for more information about WeChat services and how to make them work for your business.
To succeed in creating and retaining a follower base, it’s important to ensure your readership is engaged with your brand content. That means developing a content strategy that fosters community within your sector.
Deliver quality content pieces in professionally-designed formats rather than in plain text formats. It'll make for a more professional image. Each post should be crafted specifically for the intended social media platform - other platforms such as Weibo or Zhihu are also well worth having an active presence on in addition to WeChat
Localization is key here. You need a team with experience in researching and generating great copy for a wide range of sectors, but also who collaborate and strategize with your staff to ensure brand coherence and quality of output.
B2B requires greater attention to detail, as the aim is to target users within your sector who are active professionally on WeChat. This approach of targeting business professionals requires a different skill set compared to the consumer market that most WeChat agencies focus on.
B2B users typically take time on their buying journey. Your potential clients' decisions require their full consideration of you, the prospective partner company, and a corporate social media presence that supports their buying decision. B2B users are interested in thought leadership and best-practice within their professional community.
Trust and credibility are really important in the Chinese B2B market. The strength of your social media content supports the customer's research. Testimonials and case studies are key, as is the establishment of a purchasing pathway, including social media as a sales funnel. Our job is to ensure the stages of the customer journey are professionally presented.
China's economy has moved increasingly online. B2B, like B2C, has high mobile phone and social media usage and this has been further heightened by the Covid pandemic.
It’s important to get the right kind of WeChat account and more important still to make sure your company owns it legally.
WeChat offers these account types:
Each account type, generally speaking, has a different purpose and is intended for different user requirements.
Service Account: This is a company-focused account. It can be set up and owned by foreign companies which is a major advantage for those with no China office. Any messages you publish are 'pushed' to followers giving extra visibility for your content.
A service account can be used to integrate with developer functions such as APIs allowing the creation of additional functionalities, for example, integrating with the in-app WeChat payment solution 'WeChat Pay'.
Subscription Account: This account can publish once per day, with up to six individual articles in one post. The account is focused on providing followers with content and information, but is limited in terms of functionality and integration, unlike the Service account. It's ideal if your requirement or service is purely information-based. It needs a Chinese company to open the account so it's not an option if your business is located abroad.
Corporate Account: This is used by enterprise-level companies to maintain internal communications. As most staff have personal WeChat accounts, a corporate is used to organize company internal communications and management. It's best described as a form of HR intranet and is relevant only for companies employing large numbers of staff in China.
Personal Account: For individuals, used to chat with friends and contacts, to share 'moments' and pictures, and to subscribe to groups and company accounts. Although this is not the kind of account a company would use to represent itself officially, it is often used in addition to the company service account for direct customer contact. The personal account gives greater flexibility to connect and chat directly, so can be ideal for customer service issues or for connecting with employees of potential clients.
Of the account types, a Service account is the one we’d recommend for the best exposure for businesses, ensuring your posts are displayed in followers’ timelines. The Service account can be registered to non-Chinese and Chinese businesses alike, so irrespective of whether you have a business entity you have in China, the account can be set up in your name to ensure ownership and control.
The process of registering an account requires the collation and translation of documents. It's tricky to do this if there is no Chinese WeChat expertise in your business. Specialist firms like ours offer services which takes care of all of this for you.
Other social platforms also have massive followings in China in addition to WeChat and these platforms can extend your company’s reach.
For example, take Weibo. It has a longer history than WeChat and still has over half a billion monthly active users. Weibo can be used as a broadcast medium as anyone can view content unlike WeChat content, which is only available to followers. Each platform has different nuance and purpose – quick posting, broadcast, video, and Q&A. When engaging in these platforms, a tailored strategy to engage with each platform’s audience effectively is needed.
Chinese people use many sources when making their decision to purchase and this is just as true for B2B. Successful B2B brands cover all bases – website, WeChat, Weibo, blog, etc - which in turn support your face-to-face or trade fair activity.
For B2B social marketing, there is a choice of approaches to serve your intended audience. Getting together a strategic road map should be part of your thinking. An example could include:
It’s a bugbear for Western management teams that metrics are often only available in Chinese. We deliver an English-language executive reporting for all key reporting form both social media and PPC metrics.
Systems allow tracking from WeChat or PPC through to a website or phone, recording key metrics across media. This data funnels into English management reports. In China, inquiries are so much more likely to come through WeChat and not through your website inquiry form, so ensuring lead generation metrics are localized and capture all potential interactions is vital.
Backbone IT Group provides an end-to-end WeChat and social media campaign management service for Western companies. We manage requirements from Western company stakeholders and combine this with localised Chinese social media strategies.