China’s favorite app, WeChat, has surpassed 1.1 billion monthly active users. And it has certainly made the world turn heads. But whether it’s the unfamiliarity with the app or inexperience with a Chinese market, Western companies are only slowly jumping on the bandwagon with their business.
In this article by Tenba Group, your agency for WeChat marketing in China, we demystify the process of getting an official WeChat account and reveal the benefits of using WeChat for business.
To start this article, we first explain the three different types of official WeChat accounts.
Types of WeChat Accounts
To begin with, under the umbrella of WeChat official business accounts, there are three types of accounts.
- Subscription Account
- Service Account
- Enterprise Account (WeChat Work)
So, which type of account is best for you depends largely on how you plan to utilize this account for your business. Namely, in terms of marketing your products and services. Keep in mind that overseas companies can only register a service account. For a subscription and enterprise account, you need a company registration in mainland China.
At the end of the article, we’ll give you a detailed overview, which account is suitable to achieve the different goals.
1. WeChat Subscription Account
This type of account is all about communication, which makes it ideal for community engagement and relationship building.
Each day, businesses can publish once a day with 1-6 articles at the time of each publishing. The great thing about the subscription account is that it prioritizes the time of published content and places it at the top of the WeChat search engine.
However, the not-so-great news is that users have to go to a separate folder to see their subscribed accounts. And they aren’t notified with a push notification when an account they subscribe to publishes new content.
2. WeChat Service Account
For businesses that want to aggressively market their services and products, a WeChat service account is the best option. It offers some great functions for business including:
- WeChat Pay
- WeChat Stores
- Instant customer service
- Geo-location services
- HTML 5 campaigns
- 4 publishing times per month (1-6 articles at once) with push notifications
- WeChat mini-programs
- Voice recognition
- URL shortening
- Multiple QR codes per account
3. WeChat Enterprise Account
Also known as WeChat Work, this account type is most suitable for the registration of corporate customers. The WeChat enterprise account option is an efficient enterprise-level office management application.
First, it provides the same communication experience as WeChat. Plus it offers various tools of the official accounts, and the ability to connect with the WeChat ecosystem. By now, it has become a digital ecosystem that efficiently brings companies, services, and consumers together.
Which Account is Right for Me?
Okay, let’s get back to the types of accounts available. Between subscription accounts, service accounts, and enterprise accounts, you have three solid options to choose from. But it all starts with you assessing your marketing plan. And identifying the goals you have for the platform.
- If you want to draw attention to your brand through posts and articles, a subscription account is the way to go.
- A service account allows you to make direct sales from your account efficiently.
- An enterprise account helps businesses with their internal communication and office efficiency.
So, now that you are familiar with the different types of accounts, you may wonder, how to register the account for your business. We’ll show you how!
Applying for an Account
There used to be some tough restrictions on who could reach users from the mainland. In the past, there were separate platforms for Chinese users and international users. The Chinese platform was only in Chinese and required a Chinese ID, phone number, and business license. The international users were limited to a different version of the platform with a foreign-only audience. But today, international official WeChat accounts are visible to everyone.
The process of applying isn’t overly complicated, but it does require preparation of a lot of forms. You will need to submit a list of documents proving your legitimacy as a business. This varies depending on what type of business and what type of account you are applying for. You can submit the application via the WeChat website and wait for the results which should be ready in about two weeks.
WeChat is still working on translating all of the platform’s functions into English so having a Chinese speaker manage the platform is a good idea for the time being. Or, even easier, hire a Chinese digital marketing agency to take this burden off of your shoulders.
What’s the Deal with Getting Verified?
In addition to the trust you will gain from potential customers, from a technical point of view, there are certain APIs and other features that are unlocked as soon as the verification process is complete. The verification process costs 300RMB (roughly 45 USD) per year for the mainland China platform and 99 USD per year for the international platform.
Now, if you opt for the help of a social marketing agency for China, an agency fee will apply. However, this can save you valuable time and reduce your stress. Your account’s verified status remains active for one year from the date of the verification.
Maximizing WeChat for Business
An official WeChat business account allows you to communicate with your audience, show them why your product is great, and turn them into loyal customers by building a solid relationship with them.
So, let’s take a look, how you find new prospects, spark their interest, and turn them into loyal customers.
Step 1: Finding a Prospect
First, let us congratulate you on this decision! Setting up a WeChat account (subscription, service, enterprise) is a great tool for any business that wants to enter the Chinese market and win new customers.
For example, when you set up a WeChat store, you can manually connect it to WeChat Pay. This allows customers to make one-click payments within the platform.
For businesses on the international and mainland platforms, you can use the WeChat generated QR code as part of your marketing strategy. Post it on business cards, brochures, and social media channels to direct potential customers to your WeChat ecosystem.
Since WeChat now allows multiple QR codes per account, you can have a print and digital QR code. This way, you can see where you are making the biggest impact in terms of customers.
Another way of getting customers is to create an interactive HTML 5, or H5 campaign. Simply do so by creating a game, quiz, or animation. This way, you make you turn your existing brand into a creative one that merits the attention of potential customers.
Step 2: Sparking the Prospect’s Interests
The next step is to utilize a loyalty program. This way, you can get potential customers interested in deals that you are offering both now and in the future. As you may remember from our previous post, Chinese users are always shopping around for the best deals. For example, creating a membership program and giving exclusive promotions will make shoppers more open to spending their money on your brand.
Moreover, another cool function is using the geolocation feature to send promotions to customers who are close by. The idea here is that you offer your members a discounted offer. The prospects visit your WeChat account and become enticed by your brand.
Step 3: Turning a One-Time Customer into a Loyal One
Ideally, a user then makes the purchase via the one-click payment system in your WeChat universe. If customers are on the fence or have any questions, you can use the instant customer service function to address their concerns. This way, you can start to build a reputation as a company that cares about the quality of its service and relationship to its customers.
Congratulations! You now know the three different official WeChat account types – the subscription, service, and enterprise (work) accounts. To sum it up, once you look at all the functions WeChat has to offer, it’s easy to see why it is predestined for brands entering the Chinese market.
So, what are you waiting for? In case you decide to take some weight off of your shoulders by hiring a China online marketing company, send us a message to get started today!