What else can you do on WeChat public account to establish good relations with your customers, except publishing content, campaigns, and sales? Starting with WeChat’s three stages of development, PLTFRM analyzed for you what brands can do in ‘WeChat 3.0 era” and why WeChat is becoming the ultimate app to install.

WeChat might be the only app you’ll ever need

Just imagine a world where:

When you wake up in the morning, there’s a notification about today’s news already on your phone. Selected according to your interests, the 40-minutes audio content is just what you need to get you up to speed on your way to work.

On the way to the office, you receive a breakfast recommendation based on your taste and habits. With your office location determined automatically, all you have to do is to press “OK” button, and by the time you get to the office, there’s a delicious breakfast waiting for you. Then you see a new meeting popping up in the calendar, that synchronizes workload with your colleagues.

During the lunchtime, when you pass a convenience store, a notification pops up on your phone that there’s “exchange your member points for coffee” promotion going on. So you go back to the store and get a cup of coffee, paying for it with membership card on your phone. Or maybe, there’s notification from an online pet store reminding you the cat food you bought last time will probably run out in one week. In one click you can confirm another purchase and delivery to your door.

When it’s time to leave the office, a car-hailing service has already calculated the cost to drive you home, and a notification pops up asking if you need a ride now.

Before you go to sleep, an exercise app calculates the amount of activity you’ve done today, prompting you to take 10 minutes to stretch and has an instructional video ready.

You can view this reality differently: either as a digital/gadgets dependency, or simple convenience, but it’s happening. How many APPs would you need to live a day like that? Very soon, it may be just one—WeChat. With its closed system, WeChat is attracting a lot of cooperators developing mini-programs that cover almost any urban lifestyle need. If your brand is still using WeChat as a one-way content promotion, and pushing an article that can get thousands of reads is the only KPI, maybe you are not getting the operational essentials and you are not up to speed with WeChat’s changes.

Better service/better experience: the essence of a brand’s WeChat account

Until now, WeChat has undergone three stages of development:

Three years after the establishment in 2011, the so-called ‘WeChat 1.0 era”, the company implemented basic functions, including instant messaging, group messages and calls, befriending, people nearby. During this period, primary public accounts appeared, with limited functions.

During “WeChat 2.0 era”, that lasted from 2014 to 2016, the biggest happening was the launch of WeChat wallet, and the birth of third-party marketing service providers like Youzan or Weimob. WeChat shops also started to gain traction, and public account holders were now able to access basic info about the followers and their behavior, and organize lottery, membership discounts, coupons and other simple online promotions.

From 2016, we ushered in the “WeChat 3.0 era”, with the app’s increasingly more sophisticated third-party service providers, and part of the functions mentioned at the beginning of this article already achievable through mini-programs.

WeChat has created a rich platform for brand promotion, which brands can use in many ways to create better services/better experience their followers.

What we talk about, when we talk about ‘client relationship management’

It may seem like acquiring more followers and customers is the ultimate goal of brands, but actually repurchases, continuous “brand-customer relationship”, and user experience are even more important than expanding followers/customers base in the digital era. After all, 20% of loyal customers/followers can drive 80% of brand’s consumer power.

WeChat is one of the best SCRM tools (Social Customer Relationship Management) available to help brands with post-sale management and repurchase guidance. Compared to other countries, China is fast becoming the ‘mobile first’ APP, and incorporating mobile/digital tools to upgrade your customer relationship management is crucial for success. With help of QR codes and mobile phones, brands now can gather online/offline customers and potential clients in one platform—WeChat, making the campaigns truly ‘customer-oriented”. ‘WeChat 3.0’ allows brands to deepen their relationship with customers, adding a new angle to their advertising and marketing efforts.

Branding in “WeChat 3.0 era” 

Let’s imagine a repurchase scenario for an FMCG brand, and what WeChat can bring.

STEP1:

Put a QR code on different product packaging and in different promotion channels. The code should have a special ‘tag’, enabling to track followers behavior. Along with the code, there should be a short explanation, encouraging users to scan it (membership discounts, advantages which scanning a code can unlock etc. )

STEP2:

Make a basic analysis of consumption data brought by the QR code, to categorize new followers, gained from different channels. Things to consider include purchase:

time (it helps to calculate the possible time of repurchase and make relevant guidelines);

type (analyze consumers’ age and preferences);

amount of money spent (spending power);

place (regional analysis also helps prepare for possible offline promotions).

At the same time, through the WeChat keyword automatization system, a brand can make a good use of a chat-bot, getting to know more about their customers, including special hobbies/preferences, birthday and other information, that can be useful for targeted promotions.

STEP3:

The more accurate information a brand can gather, the better service and tailored content it can provide for the customer/follower. For example, through browsing habits and preferences of its customers, a brand can optimize the menus in its WeChat public accounts and even personalize them for different target audiences. The discounts and promotions can also be diversified with information about the ‘consumer level’ and how a customer’s relationship history with a brand. For instance, with help of geo-localization, a brand can target a specific office building to notify followers about the offline promotion nearby.

STEP4:

“WeChat 3.0” allows brands to see the influence for different KOLs and followers, which reposts get more exposure, and even who , despite multiple interactions with a brand, don’t have enough online influence. Through analysis of these types of data, a brand can make a more targeted promotion plan.

In addition to FMCG brands, WeChat can also service brands in F&B, fitness, finance, gaming and other industries, relying on mini-programs and third-party cooperation systems.

 Essentials of WeChat back-end

With multiple usage scenarios, WeChat is highly instrumental in establishing brand’s credibility and resonance. If a brand doesn’t have a big marketing budget to spend on WeChat promotion, there are three things that can still be done besides content optimization:

1. Write a ‘welcome/thank you for following us’ message and “auto response”. The first 48 hours after a person follows your account are crucial for establishing a connection. The message can guide a user through the account, let them find relevant information easily. Auto-response based on keywords, on the other hand, can help users with common questions and reduce the workload.

2. Make use of ‘user tags’: you can categorize your followers, attaching a specific ‘tag’ to them, and every month analyze/filter, for example, according to their gender, following time, the last interaction. This kind of order can help make more targeted posts and promotions.

3. Don’t neglect back-end data: currently, WeChat allows you to see basic data on users, article, menu, followers interaction, reads and other information. Make a habit to take some time to analyze these data.

These three functions seem simple, but less than 10% among 14 million public accounts actually make good use of them. Besides basic features, WeChat has a lot to offer for brands that are willing to take the WeChat marketing and followers experience to the next level.

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