WeChat is the largest and most important social media platform in China. As a super app and an open platform that touches various aspects of people’s lives, WeChat goes beyond a basic communication tool to provide users comprehensive social networking, news, payment, shopping, and livestream functions and connects with thousands of third-party integrations.
WeChat’s massive user base and marketing functions made it the standard for brands to promote their businesses in China. Although WeChat used to be considered a key element of B2C marketing with its E-commerce feature, it’s proven to be just as valuable for B2B marketing.
As a B2B marketer, how can you fully leverage this powerful platform to reach your customers and prospects in China? In this article, we're going to share the top WeChat B2B marketing strategies we've implemented as an agency.
Why Use WeChat for B2B Marketing?
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the basics of WeChat B2B marketing and why it is an important social media platform B2B marketers can’t neglect.
With more than 1.2 billion daily users, you’ll surely find your ideal customers on WeChat. People use WeChat to connect with family and friends, get informed, consume entertainment, share life updates in their ‘WeChat moments (friend’s circle)’, and more. Additionally, WeChat’s mini-programs, which are mini-apps developed inside WeChat for any third-parties from delivery services to government-led COVID initiatives to be accessed by users on WeChat, make it an indispensable part of people’s daily lives.
Comprehensive Marketing Tools
Whereas western social media generates leads that then carry over to a website for conversion, part of WeChat’s B2B marketing appeal is that you can build the entire buyer journey from awareness to conversion leveraging the mature tools already available on WeChat. Brands can use the WeChat official account(OA) as the company’s Chinese website to inform and create awareness; leverage the livestream function for hosting webinars to generate qualified leads; use WeChat groups to manage private traffic, etc. In addition, WeChat work, which is a separate WeChat app designed for enterprise users, allows the sales team to connect with customers one-on-one and can be integrated with third-party social CRMs and automation tools.
Proven Strategies for WeChat B2B Marketing
Share high-quality content regularly
A thoughtful content strategy for WeChat can boost your credibility and build thought leadership among your followers. High-quality content has legs itself, without good content, your WeChat marketing will fall short and your sales rep doesn’t have the tool to educate the prospects and persuade sales.
There is a caveat: You don’t want to simply translate your existing global content for the Chinese market. This is a mistake we see in many multinational brands who try to push global content to the market without articulating the messaging and local relevancy. Instead, your goals should be to create relevant, fully localized, and valuable content for your Chinese audience and present it in an engaging way.
To help you get started, we made this guide to help you localize your brand message for the Chinese market.
The content update frequency will largely depend on what type of WeChat OA your company has. The WeChat service account is restricted to post 4 times per month for 2 articles each post, while the subscription account allows you to push content daily with up to 6 articles per post. In terms of the best posting frequency, we’d recommend pushing 1x post per week to start, with 1-2 articles per post, and increase your frequency to 2-3 times once you can find performance trends and hone on the best content.
For B2B marketing on WeChat, your goal is not only to create awareness but also to support sales. In our experience, creating downloadable resources such as whitepapers and case studies is an effective strategy to generate leads. To do this, add a ‘Resource Center’ to your official WeChat account under the navigation menu so your followers can easily access it. To collect leads, you can drive followers to your Chinese website or use the forms available on the WeChat marketplace. Be sure to localize your downloadable content into Chinese so people are interested to download it.
Tactics to Grow Your WeChat Followers
Once you have a solid content strategy, you’ll need to attract users to follow your account. There are several ways to gain new followers both organically and paid.
Grow followers through events: Events are the most effective way to gain followers in a short period. By displaying your QR code of your WeChat OA prominently at your booth and providing incentives such as a branded gift, you will be able to turn prospects who have already interacted with you offline into your WeChat followers and continue to nurture the leads.
Grow followers through your sales rep: Another way to grow your WeChat followers organically is by encouraging your sales to share content regularly across their professional network through WeChat moments and WeChat groups. You can also put your company’s QR code on any touchpoint with your sales team, like business cards, email signatures, and pitch deck to garner followers from the existing customer base and prospects.
Promote your channel on relevant industry media/KOL accounts: Outside of your owned-media platforms, you can gain followers on WeChat by promoting your content on other relevant (but not competing) WeChat accounts such as industry news publications. If you have a local partnership network, cross-promote your WeChat OA on each other’s accounts is a cost-effective way to gain highly targeted followers.
Leverage your other owned-media channels: Besides these avenues, you can promote your WeChat OA on other owned media channels such as your current Chinese newsletter and social media profiles. Driving existing followers to your WeChat increases the chances of gaining a customer and not just a follower, since these users are already engaging with you and interested enough to join you in another platform.
Nurture Your Leads with Private Traffic
Private traffic refers to the audience you can reach directly rather than through a third-party platform. Private traffic would be the opposite of paid ads or search engines, for example. At its core, private traffic is your opportunity to connect one-on-one with potential and existing customers. A western example of private traffic would be email marketing. As with email marketing in the west, WeChat private traffic can be priceless for your b2b marketing strategy as a cost-effective way to nurture leads.
The best way to grow your private traffic is through WeChat groups. The way to grow your WeChat group is similar to the way you grow your WeChat OA followers: You want to attract followers from other channels such as your WeChat OA’s existing followers, webinar attendees, or offline events. Next, offer value-adding incentives to the group members so they will stay. The incentive may be more driven towards networking with other industry professionals or sharing valuable resources and insights from your WeChat OA in the group. It’s recommended to post messages in the group or interact with other members daily to keep the group active.
Once you have a WeChat group with a considerable number of members, you want to moderate the quality of the conversations in the group and prevent spam or inadequate content from group members; this can be done through a dedicated staff’s personal WeChat account or a specialized account through WeChat Work (or WeCom), which allows multiple staff to manage 1 WeChat account. To make it easier to manage your private traffic and provide better customer service, WeCom also offers automation tools that can send automated messages to the group. This will reduce the amount of time staff spent on maintaining the WeChat group.
WeChat B2B Marketing Allows You to Manage the Buyer’s Journey in a Single Platform
When you’re entering the Chinese market, adopting the local technology gives you the highest chance of reaching your prospects and building a thriving audience. Although email marketing is still being used by some multinational companies, WeChat has largely replaced the apps and platforms used in the West, and it will be pivotal for your China expansion.
A comprehensive WeChat strategy for your B2B marketing with the right mix can help you attract customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey and move them from followers to buyers within the platform, effectively turning WeChat into a valuable part of your sales process.
At Tribe China, we’re here to help you establish brand presence and grow awareness leveraging our experience in WeChat b2b marketing. Book a consultation to learn more about how we can work together.
Interested in discovering the best Chinese social media platforms for B2B and tech brands? Download the comprehensive guide: