WeChat is big. With over 400 million monthly active users, it’s a juggernaut that’s crushing all other social apps in China (at least until the next big shiny thing comes along).
Marketers are already devising creative ways to build on what started out as a messaging app, but is now a platform that encompassing gaming, e-commerce, post-sales service, brand communication, universal ID, and who knows what next.
How do you make the most of it?
Let’s start with the basics: five tips to remember.
Be compelling. WeChat is not Weibo, it’s even more of an interactive, two-way conversation and that’s what your friends expect, or they will drop you very quickly. To attract and keep them, you have to sustain their interest with compelling, relevant content. You must make it their loss if they unfollow you. Your friends cannot tell how popular you are, unlike Weibo, so their only reason to follow you is your content stream, past and future. Earn their trust and don’t lose it. Compelling content means useful, multi-channel, and personal. Don’t be afraid to go long if you have to, in fact it’s appreciated when done right.
Be informed. WeChat changes all the time. New services are constantly being added, new rules installed. For example, recently Tencent announced that personal accounts now have a limit of 5000 friends. If you have already have more, your Moments will only be seen by a random subset of your friends. Rules change all the time. Service accounts used to be allowed to post once a month, now it’s once a week. Make sure you are always up to speed.
Be creative. Tencent wants you to succeed. Why? Because the more ways marketers can find to use WeChat, the longer they’ll stay with the platform. So with every new feature, such as WeChat Login or additions to the API, don’t be afraid to push the envelope. I’m firmly convinced that the ultimate WeChat marketing case study is yet to appear.
Be careful. China is no slacker when it comes to enforcing against what it considers unsavory content on the Internet. This means you can push the envelope, but stay away from content that even remotely touches politics, or any other topic that the government considers sensitive. I know, it’s a moving target, but nobody said it would be easy.
Be trustworthy. Tencent wants WeChat to avoid the fate of Weibo and similar platforms that have lost their momentum, so they work hard to clamp down on over-aggressive marketing tactics, unscrupulous actions, and misleading claims. They also routinely sweep their user base for fake accounts, which can account for those sudden drops in friend numbers within a day. Help WeChat help you.