What is WeChat Official Accounts and how to get started
WeChat Official Accounts are the Chinese equivalent of a brand's Facebook page, a public profile where they can publish content and attract followers.
About WeChat Official Accounts
WeChat Official Accounts are also known as WeChat public accounts, which translates to 微信公众号 in Chinese. They are the Chinese equivalent of a brand’s Facebook page. In this public profile, they can publish content and attract followers.
With approximately 1.15 billion monthly active users, WeChat has been described as China’s “Super app for everything” and “digital Swiss Army knife” because of its robust ecosystem and wide range of functions, such as WeChat Pay and WeChat Official Accounts. Over 25 million WeChat Official Accounts exist across the WeChat platform. Thus, they can be a very effective channel for brands and companies to engage with their audience.
Types of WeChat Official Accounts
Users can choose from four types of WeChat Official Accounts: Subscription Accounts, Service Accounts, WeChat Mini Porgrams, and WeChat Work.
Subscription Accounts allow owners to push once daily, with up to 8 posts per push to their followers. These posts do not have push notifications. They go into a user’s subscription folder and do not appear in the standard chat list. A user has to open the folder to view the content actively.
Subscription accounts are more content focused, with limited menu functions and application programming interface (API) access. Therefore, they are popular among individuals and influencers.
Subscription accounts are only available to brands with Chinese IDs or local Chinese business licenses.
Service Account allows owners to push only 4 times per month to avoid spammy content, with up to 8 posts per push to their followers. These posts have push notifications, and users will see them at the top of their chat list and any posts or messages from their friends.
Service accounts are more service and function focused, with all menu functions available, such as text conversations and external links. They also support advanced application programming interface (API) and custom functions development, such as WeChat Pay, WeChat Mini Programs, WeChat Stores, etc.
Brands that are more sales-oriented and want to offer excellent customer service to their customers tend to choose service accounts. Service Accounts are also available to international businesses.
WeChat Mini Programs
WeChat Mini Programs, also known as 微信小程序, are “mini-applications” built within the WeChat platform, which allows 3rd party companies to develop mobile-app-like Mini Programs for users that can run within the WeChat app. We also have a seperate article to disucuss WeChat Mini Programs.
WeChat Work (Formerly known as Enterprise Account)
WeChat Work are also known as Enterprise Accounts or Corporate Accounts. Without a public presence, they are typically used as an internal tool for businesses to manage and communicate with staff by using internal chat rooms, video conferencing and file sharing, etc., similar to Slack.
If you are still not sure about which type of account best fits your business, feel free to get in touch with us to get professional advice.
Not sure how to use WeChat Official Accounts? Let’s do some case studies!
Many international brands are using WeChat to engage with the Chinese audience. To make the most use of WeChat functions, most of them choose to go with Service Accounts to apply for WeChat Pay and WeChat Store features and use the WeChat open API to develop more customized features. TheyThey’reo available to international businesses.
For example, Canadian global athletic apparel retailer Lululemon is using WeChat Service Account and WeChat Mini Program to leverage their service for Chinese consumers.
They take advantage of menu functions, which allow followers to directly go to the Lululemon WeChat online store for purchases and find nearby offline stores. They also design online campaigns for special occasions such as Chinese New Year. After receiving content push notifications, users can read the article and tap to receive red packets of coupons, leading them to LuluLululemon’shat online store directly. The whole experience is smooth and effective for purchase conversion.
How To Get Started On WeChat Official Accounts
Setting up an account is relatively simple for a business with an established Chinese entity. You can go to the WeChat Official Accounts Platform, choose English in the top right corner, and click Register Now on the left.
After choosing the type of account you want and entering your details, you’ll be able to set up your profile. Your profile has to be written in Mandarin so your audience can understand it.
Then the next step is verification - to use all the features supported by the type of your account chosen. You’ll need to upload relevant business documentation such as a scanned color copy of your Chinese business license, the Chinese ID of a mainland China citizen with a WeChat Pay account linked to their bank card, who will become the main administrator of the account, a scanned copy of the authorization letter with a company stamp, etc.
At last, you have to pay 300 RMB for the verification fee through an enterprise bank transfer or your individual WeChat Pay (a digital and paper invoice will be available after the payment). You will then receive a phone call to verify all the uploaded information, and of course, the call will be in mandarin.
As you can see, the language and cultural barrier can be a huge challenge for brands wanting to create an effective marketing campaign on WeChat. There is also a more straightforward way for international businesses without a base in China to register WeChat Official Accounts to partner with a professional agency like 21yunbox. Our local team based in Shanghai, who understands the language, the platform, and Chinese culture, will help you set up your WeChat Official Account, provide the necessary supporting documents to use all WeChat features, and help you develop an effective content marketing strategy.
So what are you waiting for? Contact Us today and find out how we can help your brand get into the Chinese market!