WeChat marketing can be defined in terms two distinct phases: first, acquiring followers, followed by the second phase – retaining WeChat followers. Once your WeChat marketing campaign is past the first phase of getting people to follow your WeChat account, the second one is all about keeping them engaged and, ultimately, converting them to paying customers.
Here is the first part of our list of 8 most common strategies to achieve those goals.
#1: Optimizing content for retaining WeChat followers
Although, reusing content from other social media channels or blogs for WeChat could be a time saver, the posts are often not optimized for this platform. For example, articles that are too long or those relying too much on the graphics may not render well on WeChat’s smartphone screen. In other words, reusing content from other social media channels may not help in retaining WeChat followers.
One of the keys for retaining WeChat followers is figuring out the posts format that is just right in both size and layout. The graphics should be clear enough while displayed as a thumbnail in multiple picture posts while not looking pixelized when extended to the full screen. That would require some tweaking and testing to get everything right.
Also, if there are external links, they should lead to responsive pages that are optimized for mobile.
Videos are another medium that can significantly increase engagement with WeChat followers. Chinese mobile networks speeds continue to improve making watching videos without Wi-Fi a much better experience than it used to be in the past.
#2: Suitability for WeChat readers
When posting in WeChat, it is important to always keep in mind the mobile nature of the network. Since the posts will be consumed on mobile devices, they should be of the appropriate size and formatted for small mobile screens. What is normally suitable for web-based blogs is often too long for mobile, therefore, while recycling content from other platforms, you should consider trimming the content or splitting it into several posts.
People on mobile networks are often on the go and therefore prefer smaller and more digestible chunks of information. Reading text-heavy informative articles may be perfectly appropriate for a blog but not for a mobile network.
Retaining WeChat followers often requires posting messages that are more visual. It is often as easy as inserting images along with the text. Images can link to other content in the same WeChat account or external resources that would be opened inside WeChat browser (clicking on links inside WeChat doesn’t take users out of the app as it is the case with most other apps).
Submission forms within WeChat should be tested with the smallest possible screen to make sure that they are easy to fill out and navigate for users on those type of mobile devices.
#3: Targeting specific users or groups
Targeting enables improving content relevancy to a specific a group of people and therefore, also helps with retaining WeChat followers.
Despite the fact that WeChat already knows a lot about its users, at the moment, the platform lacks most targeting options that are available with other social networks. However, it is still possible to achieve some targeting based on user location and gender. This can be done automatically within the platform while posting a message to followers.
More granular segmentation can be done manually by separating different users into groups that can be targeted with customized content. There are also 3rd party solutions that can achieve that based on different patterns of user behavior within your official WeChat accounts (e.g. their click and view history) as well custom parameters that can be defined by account admin.
While sending messages to followers in a specific location, you should keep in mind that WeChat only registers location based on the last user-initiated communication. For example, if a follower scanned QR code while in Beijing and never interacted with the account since that time – Beijing will become the default location, even though he or she could already be elsewhere. When the same user interacts with the app while in Shanghai, that will become the latest known location for the purposes of geotargeting.
#4: Quizzes and lucky draws
People like games and Chinese are no exception. Even more than games, people like winning prizes. Therefore, many successful WeChat campaigns have been incorporating all types of lucky draws, quizzes and virtual scratch cards. Moreover, they can also be used in combination with various O2O campaigns that we are going to discuss later.
Marketing methods based on gamification of user experience have been proven exceptionally effective within WeChat environment giving rise to development of 3rd party WeChat extensions just for this purpose.
Next week, we will publish the second part of our list with four more strategies.