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How to Market on WeChat For Foreign Businesses: Basics & Mindset

Video Transcription

Hi everyone, this is Steven from Grizzly Panda Marketing and today we’re going to talk about the biggest social media platform in China. We are going to talk about WeChat. We are also going to talk about how you, as a business owner, a foreign business owner can use WeChat to market your products services to the 1.3 billion Chinese consumer market.

Now, originally when I did this video, it was way too long and I wanted to cover everything, and kind of really give you an idea how you as a business owner can market to China using WeChat, the biggest social media platform there is. But it was really, really long…

So, I decided to cut it down to smaller chunks to make it easier to manage and that you can consume them on your own time, it’s easier for you to consume these content.

So, the way it’s going to work is it’s going to be a three-part video. The first part, we are going to go over just the basics. We are going to tell you about what WeChat is, we are going to talk about key features of WeChat, what features you need to know about WeChat, the kind of mindset you need to go into when you are advertising on WeChat, the philosophy of marketing on WeChat, and how users are behaving on WeChat. These are the things that you need to pay attention to if you really want to succeed on marketing on WeChat.

The second video we are going to get into a little bit more in depth about creating stuff like official account, how you can setup official account, the documents you’ll need to set of official account. And we are also going to talk about which account types to use, how you should use them to set up your strategy in terms of marketing on WeChat.

And the last video, we’re going to talk about pay advertisement. The ups and downs of pay advertisement, what you should watch out for, what is the good channel to spend your money in. So, there’s really a lot to talk about with WeChat, so without wasting any more time, let’s just get started.

First I want to just kind of get rid of a myth, and something that people talk about a lot, is a lot of people tend to compare WeChat with Facebook. Now, there are some similarities, yes, it is true but I really don’t think WeChat is the Facebook of China. WeChat was as the instant messaging app that was created by Tencent in 2011. Tencent was a computer creator QQ. Back in the days which was a model of ICQ, for those of you who still remember.

First and foremost, WeChat was an instant messaging app. Facebook on the other hand was actually built as a social media platform on the Web. So, yes in terms of the fact that WeChat is the popular so is Facebook in the West, that they’re similar, but other than that, they’re actually quite different.

They’re very different platforms. People behave very differently and if you want to market on WeChat, and you are going to take the strategies and tactics that you use on Facebook, to try to market on WeChat, it’s just not going to work. You are just kind of wasting your time if you’re going to do that. So, you’re really going to want to understand how WeChat works and how people behave WeChat.

So, there are a couple of key features that you really should understand, and the first one is moments. For those of you who uses Facebook, moments are kind of like your timeline, and as well as the newsfeed.

Users on WeChat can get on to the moment and update their daily pictures, share their where they went to eat, what they did, who they met, who they dated, and share news and articles if they want. But there are some differences between Moments and the Facebook’s timeline which I will talk about in a little bit.

The second key features that you want to know is that there are Officially Accounts. So, this is kind of like your bread and butter of WeChat marketing. Without Official Account, you almost can’t market on WeChat. So, you really need to have Official Account. Again, we’re going to talk about Official Accounts a little bit later and more in detail in the second module.

The third is you have to realize you can actually do e-commerce on WeChat. You can set up a thing we called WeiDian. So, this kind of like although not as big as Taobao or any of like TMall and other e-commerce platforms are out there in China, but it is still pretty popular.

What exactly do people do on WeChat? Because of the way tech companies in China works in a very horizontal manner as opposed to a lot of tech companies in the West, in US like Facebook, for example, they do a very vertical thing, and if they going to expand their business, if they’re going to get into new features that were acquired as their businesses, they always stick to their core message or core purpose.

So, for example, Facebook’s core purpose is to connect people to create the world’s largest social network, and they tend to do more features that are supporting that mission, so in terms of allowing people to connect better on Facebook, to make it easier and they will acquire companies like Instagram, or to try to acquire Snapchat. Everything very social and connection related.

But in China this is completely different. All the tech companies, there three tech giants in China. There is Tencent and there is Baidu and there is Alibaba. And then there is many other smaller tech companies, but again most of these tech companies are going to be funded by these top three companies.

And the way in China works, is they expand horizontally. They don’t really stick to a core mission. They’re very aggressive. Everybody is trying to get into everybody’s market. So, you’re going to see Alibaba recently has been trying to get into WeChat market, and they try to go social with Alibaba circle or Taobao circle, and then you going to see

WeChat have tried to get into the e-commerce space by creating WeiDian and stuffs like that. So you going to see all these different platforms in China, with so many different features. The reason they do that is because they want to keep their users using their platform and their platforms only. So, I don’t know if this is a good strategy versus the Western strategy, but that it is the way it is in China.

Okay, so what can people do on WeChat? Well, first of all WeChat has an instant messaging app, so obviously they can chat, and they do that a lot. Second like I said, you can actually shop on WeChat, you can shop on other people’s WeiDian, or you can even shop on Official Accounts. Some Official Accounts provide products.

The third thing is you can actually do banking on WeChat. You can check your bank balances, you can send money, receive money, and then again you can do e-commerce like I said, you can set up your e-commerce store, and one of the most impressive thing is that you can actually do payments.

Okay, there’s a couple of payment systems in China, but what it is it’s kind of like Apple Pay, kind of tap your phone and go. But in China this is on steroids. So, there’s a couple of pay systems in China, there’s the Alley pay, there is the WeChat pay, and there is Apple Pay.

The way it works is, if you have ever visit China, and I was down there a couple months ago, you probably know that there’s a lot of street vendors. There is a lot of people that would come out with their bikes and carts, and then they were trying to sell street foods.

So traditionally, when I grew up, the only way you can pay the street vendor is to give them cash, and then that would be the only way. But now you’re going to see more and more people, and I see all the time is when you purchase something from the street vendors, they will just have each with his phone, they will scan each other’s QR code, and WeChat will handle the payment. The money will be transferred to them. So, it’s kind of very very cool and this is very very popular in China. I believe more so than anywhere else in the world.

Another thing people do on WeChat they play a lot of games. Many people don’t know that Tencent has actually one of the biggest gaming company in the world. A large amount of their profit actually comes from games.

Now obviously, you’re wondering, great, you know, WeChat sounds impressive, WeChat is big, so why should I be on WeChat? You know, we try social media stuffs, it doesn’t always work, it’s a longer investment.

So, what’s the benefit of being on WeChat? Well first of all, WeChat has 570 million daily active users, compared to 1.3 billion that Facebook has. But the 570 million, most of these users are in China. You can’t even use Facebook in China.

So, if you want to reach the people in China, you have to go through WeChat. And second of all, attention. This is the most important part of any channels that you want to use, is the attention. Where’s the attention going?

The reason why Facebook is worth so much, is that because they can hold attention better. So is WeChat. WeChat which has the attention of the Chinese users. An average user in WeChat spends about 40 minutes a day using WeChat.

I’m not an advocate of WeChat, in fact I do use it but there are many features I do not like which I think they are very slacking in terms of some of the features they do. I really think Facebook is a much better social media platform.

However, like I said Facebook is not available in China. Even if it is available in China, you still don’t want to use Facebook, unless Facebook has all the attention of the Chinese users. So simply put, the reason you want to use WeChat is because that’s where all the attentions are currently.

Everybody in China uses WeChat, and everybody in China uses WeChat almost on a daily basis. This is especially true if you try to reach the audience of age from anywhere from 16 – 44. This is not to say that you cannot target audience that are in their 50s or mid 50s. For example, my mom and my dad they both use WeChat. They have been using it for like the last two years.

My mom use it primarily to communicate with my aunts and uncles in China, because it’s easier and it’s free. My dad don’t do as much communication. but he likes to read news on WeChat and he sends me a lot of them because he kind of think I like business and tech businesses in China.

So, he sends me a lot of news. So, there’s absolutely a market a way to get in touch with even older generation. So, I truly believe and I personally believe that if you have a business you want to market in China, it is a good idea to have some kind of strategy on WeChat.

Now, from my experience WeChat has actually one of the harder platform to market on. I have actually done Facebook and done Twitter, and I marketed on Instagram. In my opinion, marketing on WeChat is actually definitely the harder platform, and at least one of the harder to deal with.

And the reason is, just like I said before WeChat is not Facebook, WeChat is not Twitter. The way people behave on WeChat, the way people interact on WeChat is very different, and this is why it’s kind of hard.

So, let me explain. So, here the picture on Facebook, right, this is what we kind of see for those of you who has used Facebook. This is the first thing you see when you log into Facebook, regardless if you’re going to use it on the mobile or on the desktop.

You going to see the newsfeed, so you see your page, your groups on the side, your chats on the other side, in the middle it’s all newsfeed, and newsfeed consist of anything from what your friends are sharing about their life, their pictures, their updates and any kind of website they share from anywhere and you can comment and like on it.

So, an average Facebook user the way they would kind of interact with Facebook is, they will get onto it, they will check out what their friends doing, they will read some news that they’re interested in, they will like and comment, and then maybe if somebody is messaging them, they will reply these messages and then they will get off and they will do it a couple of hours later.

That’s an average kind of behavior on Facebook. On WeChat, the behaviors very different. First of all, WeChat has a mobile platform, so most users use WeChat on their mobile, and this is the first screen any WeChat user sees which is a list of chats.

Okay, these are all chats, group chats, whatever chats that are you going to be either with your friends, your parents, or your relative whatever it is. And the first thing, all or most WeChat users do is they chat, and then what they’re going to do is going to go check a moment. This is where the marketing opportunity comes.

However, moments are kind of like newsfeed like I said, but there’s one big fundamental difference and that’s what makes it kind of difficult, is on Facebook, if you want to share something on your newsfeed, you can grab any link from any website and you can just share. It’s very simple.

But on moments you cannot do that. Tencent is a very very closed company in China, they want to keep everything to themselves. They want to keep all the traffic, was in WeChat. So, you can’t share any article that’s not on an Official Account.

So, the only articles you can share, are the ones that are created on Official Account and that’s hosted on Tencent. So, if you really want to market you need to have an Official Account. You can’t just go out there and grab a website, you know, create a website and start sharing stuff in your website and expect people to go to your website, because it doesn’t work that way.

For the most part, you can’t link to an article on your moment and have the pictures show up. You are going to have to use Official Account, and this is one of the reason why it’s kind of harder to do it.

Now before you get discouraged, and figure all round WeChat is so hard maybe we shouldn’t do it, but there are always around everything and there are obviously strategies that have worked, lots of large companies had a lot of success on WeChat, and this is what we want to share. We want to tell you how, what kind of mindset you should go into when you go on to market on WeChat.

So, and this is the most important part, is your mindset and your philosophy on marketing on WeChat. You cannot do a traditional spam advertising where you try to yell out on everybody to get people to buy your product, a lot of people do that on WeChat, had a lot of amateur people do that on WeChat, it works for a little bit while, but after a while people get annoyed, especially nowadays people are spamming so much, people are very cautious on WeChat, you know, most people just ignored these stuff.

So, what do you do? Well the philosophy is to use content. Content is going to be your biggest thing on which you are going to create valuable, attractive, engaging content. When Bill Gates said, Content is king, and I’m sure somebody else said it before him, content is definitely king on WeChat.

So, this is what you want to do. So, the philosophy, we kind of want to follow is the JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook. For those of you who have never read this book, this is a book by Gary Vaynerchuk who is a very successful American entrepreneur, most people probably have heard of him in the West.

Now he does mostly towards social media and social media marketing, he’s very good at it. However, he doesn’t touch on WeChat because he doesn’t work with Chinese companies, and he most majority work with Instagram and Twitter. But the point is, we can borrow his philosophy, and we can use the JAB, JAB, JAB, Right Hook.

So, what does that mean? what it means is, you should be giving, giving, giving, more than you take. So, you should be producing content, content, and content, to attract the audience, to attract the engagement, to build a relationship with people on WeChat, to attract the followers, and occasionally you should be promoting your product.

Now there is little details here and there which will get into a little bit later, these are the basics and these are the fundamentals that you should remember about WeChat, and this ends our first module.

And again, on our second module, we are going to talk about Official Accounts, tell the different types of Official Accounts, which one you should use, how you can set up your Official Account, how to correctly use these Official Account to set up your marketing strategy on WeChat. So be sure to check out our second video, other than that we appreciate if you can leave us your thoughts, your experiences, and anything that I have personally missed about WeChat, just leave us a comment below in our blog, and we will make sure that we get back to you.

Well thank you and Steve’s out.


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