What is WeChat?
WeChat is a mobile software launched in 2011 by Tencent as a social app, in which have dominated among other social app in the Chinese population. Also, transforming communications in the media and business industry. WeChat is a free social mobile app with the basic functions to text message, voice message, voice-calling, video calling, and a newsfeed to share videos, articles and statuses, available in all platforms and countries.
Social media mobile app available in other countries, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are blocked from the networks in China is a huge contributing factor to the success of WeChat in China. As one of the limited social media mobile applications, WeChat have met the demands of the populations with its messaging and an exclusive newsfeed system in one app. Prior to 2012, WeChat was also one of the popular tools often used by businesses to engage in online sales, as well as customer services. Then later in 2012, Tencent launched the official account system to meet the needs of media businesses and content creators, providing them with an alternate option.
One of the downfalls of using a personal WeChat account for business purposes is the exclusiveness of it. Any information published on the account isn’t readily available to everyone, but only the added contacts or from their QR code.
WeChat Official Account
With the availability of the WeChat official account, the system is similar to subscription account. Account admins are given permission to publish contents, such as articles with video, sounds, images, and text, as well as an analytic system to provide user with insights on views, engagements, and their subscribers.
With WeChat official account, the account and content published is accessible to the entire population of users through the act of search. Any users on WeChat can easily obtain information on WeChat published on the internet or official accounts, becoming one of the major sources for news and information. As of 2017, with over one billion monthly active users (MAU) and 3.5 million active official accounts, WeChat have been frequently used as a necessary marketing channel for numerous businesses in China for promoting and advertising purposes.
WeChat History In A Nutshell
One of the social application products invented by Tencent named QQ in 1999, is a desktop messenger was previously the most popular messaging tool used prior to WeChat. According to the statistics published by Q4 in 2016, the total numbers of MAU on WeChat have shown a significant increase in the past few years, surpassing QQ. Additionally, statistics have shown that the average number of contacts per user have surpassed the Dunbar’s number (150) on WeChat. The Dunbar’s number is a suggestive limit of the numbers of people one can maintain a stable social relationship with. Surpassing this number signifies the activities engaged in on WeChat have reached beyond personal usage, it now includes commercial activities. Reports have shown that over 75% of the participants in the study joined group chats with over 100 people for business- and work-related activities, which evidentially endorses the concept of WeChat beyond personal usage. WeChat have quickly become of the tools for business-related activities, whether it is for B2C, B2B, internal communication, networking, or more.
According to the statistics published from Penguin Intelligence, with the surging numbers of users in WeChat, the average amount of hours spent on WeChat have increased to 66 minutes per day. Additionally, 83% of the participants in the poll have reported that they use WeChat also for work-related activities. The amount of currencies circulating through WeChat pay have also been highly increasing, results have shown that 93% of the participants engage in offline purchases through WeChat pay in tier 1 and tier 2 cities of China, and 5% do not carry cash.
Previously, news reports and information are categorized by several categories, such as entertainment, politics, finance, sports, lifestyle and more. The categories relevant to government affairs, such as civil news, military news and foreign affairs being limited in the media industry, media businesses are left with the remaining categories for marketing. Health, sports, lifestyle and entertainment have been largely used to shape the media industry presently. Health have been one of the categories with the most attention, as most of the population shifts towards living a healthy and long-lasting life, thus, engagements on this relevant information is much higher in comparison.
To gain accurately gain the impressions of audiences intended, headlines is can be a deciding factor, especially in WeChat. The style of the content should be displayed in the headlines, and the style of content can be simplified into three style: Facts, Opinions, Emotions, Queries. The fact style is based on the writing or representation of an event/circumstance to showcase truthful and key information to the audiences. Opinion on the other hand is the offering of a subjective perspective on a specific topic targeted to bring audiences to a new light. Emotional style is the type of content to elevate a type of emotions to create a connection between the content to the audiences, such as a written experience of hardships to gain an education to endorse an online learning course program. Digital News reported content that are emotionally arousing have higher engagement rates, ultimately becoming viral content.
Before launching your WeChat Official Account, there are several aspects of the accounts you must consider reaching your marketing goals.
Identification: identify the purpose, target audience and KPI of your WeChat official account
Research: explore the key factors for successful articles, competitors, and strategies
Cooperation: consider other related media you have worked with before and how you can incorporate WeChat into the system successfully.
Despite the existing content of public figures and film that attract a large sum of traffic, there is no standardized format for successful content. But the quality, detail, consistency of content will increase the chance of virality, as popular topics are not the only traffic driving factor.
However, the success of WeChat articles in the media industry is predisposed to a trending topic on the internet should be recognized. As popular content is delivered from platforms to platforms.
According to a study in UK by Reuter Institute, indirect headlines or click-bait headlines have become one of the popular strategies used to gain impression on WeChat official account. Headlines that do not clearly define the key points of the articles often provoke curiosity of their readers, leading to more clicks to uncover the content. On the other hand, headlines with extreme or strong opinions also gain high impressions, as it creates a strong contrast.
Engagement is one of the indicators of how successful a campaign is, or the quality of the content is. The engagement aspect is also one of the strategies for users to engage in activities with their audiences. With the collected information of engagements, users can often make use of the data set to analyze the demographics, groups, opinions and inspirations to improve the content. For example, Global Times have organized reader’s clubs and QQ groups to converse with their audiences.
WeChat Stands For Marketing Demands
The usage of traditional media, such as newspaper and TV commercials, it can be a challenge to accurately identify the audiences and leads. However, WeChat is able to attain a clear set of data that identifies the demographics and other rates with its system. The analysis system that WeChat has can provide users with an in-depth set of data with time cycles, graphs, performances, impressions and more, simplifying the report process.
Statistics from the China Channel have shown that the usage level of WeChat is dramatically much higher to adults in the early stages of employment, in comparison to young adolescents who are still in school. This group of population shows higher usage of QQ, MOMO, or other platforms over WeChat. While the usage of WeChat is substantially increasing with young adolescents, WeChat appeal less to the high socioeconomic status group.
A survey has shown that users have a general tendency to engage in content most relevant to their lives rather than commercial ads and endorsements. Thus, many businesses engage in KOL (key opinion influencer) marketing, which are internet influencers and content creators whom are may be any average person with specific target, to endorse their products. For example, an fashion blogger on WeChat can endorse a Chinese online shopping website. Through this marketing strategies, consumers have a higher level of trust in the products in comparison to using public figures, which can be deemed as commercialized.
Presently, users are also more generous and open-minded to donate or pay for content on WeChat. At the bottom of each articles on WeChat, there is a function for readers to donate or tip the content creators’ account for appreciation. However, this signifies the demands for higher quality of content from the creators and influencer, prepared for a surge of money to circulate on the platform from paid content marketing from businesses and monetization from creators.
Numerous opportunities have been created for businesses and content creators for sustainability, whether it is marketing strategies or income, WeChat have benefited the general public with its flexibility to communicate, pay, and staying involved with the world. Further development and expansion of WeChat can definitely be anticipated.
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