800 million people worldwide are using WeChat, and of this, 10% are using the international version of WeChat, while the remaining 90% are using the Chinese version of WeChat called WeiXin. Also, more than 120 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2015 and by 2020, this is expected to rise to 200 million. If you are a hospitality or tourism company or a retail brand who wants to target these outbound tourists, the only and most effective avenue for you to use is probably WeChat.
If you’re here, you probably already know what is WeChat, and why you need to get more traction on this social media platform if you want to reach the vast majority of Chinese audience either in China or worldwide. And to do this, you need to map out a WeChat marketing plan on how you intend to get followers and get more publicity for your products or services among the Chinese customers.
WeChat marketing is all about getting new followers and having them actively engaged with your account, and eventually converting them to customers. Having a WeChat marketing plan from start is vital because unlike Weibo or other Chinese social media, WeChat is a closed platform with a very engaged user base, and you won’t be able to achieve your business objectives if you don’t have an idea of what marketing strategies you want to adopt.
WeChat is probably the only social media platform in the world that integrates online marketing with offline marketing to ensure a robust customer purchasing journey. With such rich features, your WeChat marketing plan has to be very comprehensive in order to fully utilise all that the platform has to offer.
The Ultimate WeChat Marketing Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Review Previous Year’s Marketing ROI and Performance
Bring out all that you’ve done the year before and check out your performance – mapping out each campaign’s ROI, check out which campaign(s) were effective, did you achieve what you set out to do, for example, getting a certain number of signups or leads to your email funnel, etc. Other questions to ask yourself – have you effectively reached out to your intended audience, and if so, did you notice any significant changes in their purchasing behaviours over the past 1 year? If so, what kinds of changes – is it for the better, or has it taken a downturn, with customers turning away from your products or services despite numerous campaigns?
Finally, decide on what kinds of campaigns are successful enough to get the ROI that you were looking at, and whether you want to run the campaigns again this coming year with a little bit more budget and if so, are there any tweaks or amendments needed, such as change of lead magnet, email funnel or even your marketing message?
If you’ve completed that, we can move on to the next step – assessing the competitors.
Step 2: The Competitive Landscape
An in-depth research and analysis of your competitors are important as they allow you to see where you stand in the market and help you assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you know how to select and implement WeChat’s marketing channels to improve your strategies.
You have to at least find out who are your top 3 competitors in the same market and do they already have a WeChat marketing plan or strategy? What are their unique selling points? Do you compete for the same target audience? You would probably have a few other questions of your own. Feel free to add them in or brainstorm with your team to see what else comes up. It will help you decide whether you really need to use WeChat as a marketing channel, or map a better WeChat marketing plan.
Basically, a WeChat marketing plan will consist of your objectives, your content strategy, your WeChat advertising strategy, online to offline campaigns, promotions as well as any KOL engagement initiatives. WeChat should be your main marketing platform for the Chinese market, with all marketing efforts complementing one another.
Step 3: Define Your Objectives and Budget
Once the components above have been mapped, decide what are your objectives (is it creating brand awareness, driving traffic, generating leads or getting sales conversions? Or something totally different like enhancing customer service?) and budget per year, and then split the budget up into per month or quarterly as per your campaigns.
Regardless of what your objectives are, it is important that you integrate all of your marketing channels to help build a cohesive platform where each element of your marketing complement one another, bringing across a single message to your customers.
Step 4: WeChat Marketing Plan
(a) Creating Brand Awareness
Pull the pieces together with ways to drive traffic to your website via WeChat marketing and app. Some tactics you can consider include:
- Setting up a WeChat official company account – welcome message, company name and description, menu, WeChat mini-site, WeChat store, products/services, FAQs and contact details. Make sure your website is integrated seamlessly with the WeChat platform, including its booking and payment systems.
- Broadcasting your messages with external links to your website
- HTML5 e-flyer to be broadcasted via WeChat and directed to your website
- Moments ads/video ads – targeting your users based on their location, demographics, and more.
- Online to offline campaign integration to generate word of mouth and sales through WeChat marketing campaigns
- Planning free gifts and contests to drive traffic through WeChat to your website
(b) Customer Service
- Creating an online platform for your brand to interact with your customers, host events, Q&As and promotions.
- HTML5 e-flyer to be broadcasted via WeChat, with a focus on community building and service.
- Setup a Customer Relation Management System (CRM) that is integrated with WeChat to ensure that responses are set and customers’ questions can be answered as soon as possible. There are a few 3rd party CRM systems that can be built on WeChat.
- Bot integration via WeChat to solve customers’ problems and questions.
(c) Content Marketing and Editorial Calendar
Content, much like any other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, is also a very important component of WeChat marketing, or perhaps even more important. Weekly posts for WeChat service accounts is highly recommended to keep your readers engaged.
Some important things you must take note of when creating content for WeChat:
- Your content must be consistently good as it’s relatively common for users to unfollow accounts or stop subscribing if they find your content not useful to them.
- Video content is becoming very popular among WeChat users, more so than regular articles.
- Try to post articles or content when competition is the lowest, outside of working hours from Monday to Friday. So share on weekends and mornings!
- You can find free, original content on sites like Newrank.com or Sogou.com to re-share on your own account.
- Try creating other types of content such as photographs or infographics
(e) KOLs – Key Opinion Leaders
This is a vital part of your WeChat marketing plan. Appeal to KOLs or influencers to be the voice for your brand. Though the conversions are not guaranteed, you can look for some KOLs in more niche areas of interest to help publicise your brand.
(f) Contests, Promotions, Lucky Draws, Viral Campaigns
If you’re new or just starting out on WeChat, the best way to get followers is to promote your account via contests, promotions, lucky draws or any viral campaigns that’s fun for your users. Find something that users will find engaging, and they will likely share your posts with their friends and families, hence increasing your reach.
Trade shows, exhibitions and conferences are another way you can gain followers. Through offsite WeChat QR codes on your exhibition booth or flyers that you distribute during the shows or events, you can help increase your WeChat account’s users.
(h) Public Relations
Do you have a new product or service? Then write a Chinese press release and get it distributed on WeChat.
Other miscellaneous methods of marketing includes surveys and questionnaires, social media integration and direct marketing ways like email marketing, direct mail or list generation.
When creating a WeChat marketing plan, is it very important to be flexible and make amendments to the plan when your business environment is changing. It is also vital to integrate all your marketing strategies together and communicate a single message whichever campaign you are running.
Finally, ensure that you always track your campaigns so as to maximise your marketing dollars and get the best ROI. There are many platforms that you can use to track your results, such as Youzan analytic reports (koudaitiong.com) or Wenjuanxing questionnaire platform (sojump.com).
Are you puzzled over so many different aspects of WeChat, or its different advertising options? Fret not, because with a team of Chinese professional marketers, the right resources and many years of experience in marketing to a Chinese audience, we can help! Just fill in the enquiry form below and we will give you a call back.