WeChat is the most popular social media in China, which was first released by Tencent in 2011. It is highly functional that some users consider it as a combination of Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, and Skype. WeChat is replacing traditional text messaging service provided by telecom companies and is developing into a comprehensive service platform. This blog may help beginners and intermediates to use WeChat by looking into its services overall.
Differentiated Wechat account services
By now the company has provided different types of accounts for users: Personal Account, Service Account, Subscription Account, WeChat at Work and Mini Program. Most users are more familiar with the personal accounts because the rest of those types are official accounts.
Service Account is available for companies and public institutions to provide service to their clients, alike mini-website. WeChat has a standard structure to make sure these accounts are easy for users to read. By simple coding, these accounts even can reply user automatically triggered by keywords.
Subscription Account is also available for companies of all industries and is more used by We-media. The trend of public social media has fed a batch of WeChat influencers, such as Papi and Mimeng. Some of them have more than 10 million followers. The power of putting soft-sell advertising in these opinion leader’s post of articles or videos is tremendous and, of course, costly.
WeChat at Work is mainly for a company’s internal connection and management. Mini Program can be obtained by all official users and propagated via WeChat, whilst providing excellent user experience as a mini application.
The change of atmosphere in WeChat
WeChat platform has gradually developed from a personal communication software to a business tool. Furthermore, WeDian (easy set-up online stores), Official Accounts, Mini Program, Moments and group chat all contributed to the rising of WeChat as an e-commerce platform.
For instance, the WeChat Moment section allows users to present their life to friends with photos, short videos, posts or links, similar to Instagram and Facebook Wall. It was a comfortable environment to express your feelings and share your personal interests, expecting receiving comments, likes, and shares.
Nowadays it’s more and more filled with product promotion by a personal agent or overseas personal shoppers. Even by promotions of event or service of a company that one person works for. Many users prefer to make their Moments look professional and full of experience to earn credibility from their clients and partners. They use WeChat platform to build their business connections. In this case, WeChat also plays a similar role as Linkedin to some extent.
What’s more, WeChat banner Ads and Moments Ads are available and more frequently used now. For people who want to separate their work from private life, it’s better to set privacy on the Moments.
The basic functions of WeChat
This application is constantly changing its sessions of functions to give the best user experience. Currently the version 6.7.3 has 10 basic functions for individuals, including taking or sharing photos/videos, individual or group talk in audio/video, sending current location or sharing live locations between users, sending red packet (lucky money), transferring money, sharing documents, sharing contact profiles, recording voice messages and outputting into a text version.
In addition, it also provides services such as photo edition, the reminder of important messages, machine translation of text from a foreign language to Chinese, recognition of voice message and transferring into text.
Above all things, what I like most is that I can either send important files and other information to the account of“myself” or File Transfer Assistant, or save them to My Favorites so that I can easily record and track them. Apart from those basic functions, I also take WeChat as my memo and draft box.
The PC version of WeChat, as well as WeChat for Web, make it convenient for office workers to type, share and communicate for business. You can log in your account on any devices simply by scanning your QR code. One extra function for PC version and WeChat for Web is the screenshot, which is not special but very useful. We can see from this detail that WeChat is considerate for its users.
Make good use of WeChat group
It’s very common for a family, a class or a company to have a WeChat group chat, similar to Whatsapp. One interesting thing that will only happen in the WeChat group is sending lucky money. It is happening from parents to children, from boss to employees, from group organizer to members almost every day.
A very popular way for SMEs or individual sellers/service providers to promote themselves is just to create WeChat groups. In this way, they can interact with customers efficiently. One group chat can have maximum 500 group members. Mostly these groups are created for existing customers and known contact persons at the beginning. Group organizer(s) can communicate with customers easily and sharing their latest product/service, articles, activities and so on. Customers whoever like your group can share it with their friends and directly invite them in.
Keep your group active so that you may turn more potential users to loyal fans. A badly-organized group can end up in silence or disturbance by irrelevant ads shared by members. Remember that whenever you organize offline activities, such as meetings, talks, experience activities, and have the audience, you can create a group chat for the audience on site immediately by sharing a 4-digit number with them. In this way, you can set up different user group chats based on user’s interests and locations.
Third-party services provided by WeChat
Last but not least, one of the most powerful functions of WeChat is WeChat Pay. From stores to street vendors, people use QR code to realize fast-payment. This can be realized as long as to connect your WeChat Wallet with any Chinese bank account or some supported overseas banks. So you can always find a green icon for WeChat Pay and a blue icon for Alipay at cashiers. Similar to Alipay, WeChat has financial service now, realizing online investment and living payment, including mobile and electricity top-up.
They are also partnered with third-parties such as DiDi Chuxing (Chinese version of Uber), Mobike, JD online shopping mall. Service providers for booking train, flight, hotels or film tickets are partnered as well. Services provided by these two big platforms make it possible to live without cash and wallet in China.
Curious to see WeChat lifestyle in one day?
All in all, WeChat has well balanced powerful functions and ease of use. Moreover, it has fulfilled the needs of the Chinese market in mobile communication and social media.
Nevertheless, it is not easy to become so successful in the overseas market, especially in western countries, considering cultural identity, network effects and concentration of industry. Anyway, we are glad and proud to see that giant competitors such as Facebook messenger and Whatsapp are intimating some of its key features and innovations.
WeChat can keep Chinese at home and abroad closely in contact. Thus, it is an important social media platform for foreigners whoever want to enter the Chinese life and business. More social media networks in China will be recommended in future MADI blog.