We chat about WeChat: Part Two

We chat about WeChat: Part Two

In Part One of our series on Chinese digital heavyweight WeChat, we provided an overview of the service’s features, its popularity, business opportunities, the history of collaboration with Western brands and how it differs from equivalents like Facebook or Google.

Part Two will explore business opportunities, potential risks, and WeChat’s place in the future of social media marketing.

Business opportunities by using WeChat

As touched on in Part One, WeChat is more than a social media platform, it has the added attributes of messaging and payment methods. This means that businesses can market and sell their products in the same place without users ever having to leave the app. This extends beyond purchasing physical goods to include services by allowing users to make bookings or appointments through the app.

But the biggest difference is how smoothly WeChat can incorporate third-party applications within the WeChat platform. These embedded apps, known as mini-programs, are available at the tap of a screen, offering the convenience of the Pages function on Facebook, for example, without having to conform to the branding of a larger platform.

User experience plays an important part in securing sales, so WeChat’s seamless integration and other unique features are part of the reason it is so popular with businesses looking to reach its 500 million daily active users.

Limitations and potential risks

Despite its many advantages, WeChat is not without limitations. For example, WeChat does not make recommendations to users about similar content, which prevents businesses advertising directly to users who like similar pages – an effective approach possible on other platforms.

There are also a range of potential risks to businesses intending to use the app for marketing and communication. Importantly, businesses may be exposed to data leakage by using WeChat as files, images and videos are automatically deleted after a set period.

Even innocuous communication via WeChat is particularly challenging to preserve and replicate, as users’ chat histories are tied to individual mobile devices. People often encounter accidental deletion, deletion of friends, backup failure, and crashing of the application. Many users have lost important files in these scenarios, and even the chats of deceased relatives.

Any organisation looking to begin its WeChat journey should be aware of these factors.

Future development of social media

Social media platforms are always looking for ways to innovate and get ahead of their competitors, which often manifests in platforms adopting the innovations of others.

A notable example is when Instagram introduced its stories feature after SnapChat exploded in popularity, and many other platforms followed suit. Western tech giants are now looking to successes on Chinese platforms, as seen when when Instagram launched its Reels feature in response to TikTok’s takeover.

Meta will be looking closely at WeChat for inspiration, and no doubt very interested in the  biggest new trend on the platform – the proliferation of mini-programs to facilitate collaborations with brands. With platforms becoming increasingly homogenous, it’s possible that this feature is integrated into Western social media soon.

By learning to leverage this feature on WeChat now, businesses will be better prepared to adapt those strategies if it is integrated on Facebook, Instagram and other services.

Being an early adopter of WeChat could be an advantage for Australian businesses looking for an edge in a crowded online space, while also reaching the approximately 690,000 WeChat users in Australia.

For more information or assistance with setting up a WeChat account, contact CGM Communications.

Translated to Mandarin:

在我们关于中国数字重量级产品—微信的系列文章的第一部分中,我们概述了该服务的功能、受欢迎程度、商机、与西方品牌合作的历史以及它与Facebook和Google等同类产品的差异。

在第二部分,我们将探讨微信所带来的商机、潜在风险以及微信在未来社交媒体市场的地位。

商机

正如第一部分提到的,微信不仅仅是一个社交平台,它还具有即时消息发送和付款的附加属性。这意味着企业可以在同一个平台营销和出售他们的产品,用户无需切换到其他平台。这超出了购买实物商品的范围,用户通过应用程序即可进行预约等服务。

但最大的区别在于微信与微信平台中整合第三方应用程序的流畅程度。这些嵌入式应用程序被称为“小程序”,只需点击屏幕即可使用,例如,在Facebook上提供Pages功能的便利性,而不必跳转到其他软件平台。

用户体验对销售额的增长扮演着重要的角色,因此微信的无缝集成和其他独特功能是其在希望达到5亿日活跃用户的企业中如此受欢迎的部分原因。

局限性和潜在风险

尽管微信具有诸多优势,但对于企业在应用上形成营销策略而言,并非没有局限性和潜在风险。微信不会向用户推荐类似内容,这意味着企业将采用其他外接方式吸引潜在客户,而不是被动地吸引喜欢类似页面的用户。

企业或许可能面临因使用微信而遭受数据泄露,且文件、图像和视频会在一段时间后自动删除。

除此之外,微信的沟通记录很难保存和备份,因为用户的聊天记录与个人移动设备相关联。人们经常会遇到意外删除、删除好友、备份失败、微信应用程序崩溃等情况。许多用户意外间丢失了重要文件,甚至是已故亲属的聊天记录。

任何企业在考虑开始其微信商务的前提下都应该意识到这些因素。

社交媒体的未来发展

社交媒体营销将成为未来企业营销策略中的重要因素。随着新功能的添加或删除,企业使用这些平台的方式会随着平台本身的变化而变化。社交媒体平台一直在寻找超越竞争对手的优势,这通常表现在平台复制其他平台的创新上。

一个值得注意的例子是,在SnapChat大受欢迎之后,Instagram相继推出“故事”功能,致使多家社交平台纷纷效仿。

众所周知,西方国家与“科技巨头”正在不断汲取中国社交媒体平台的成功,正如 Instagram 推出 Reels 功能以应对 TikTok 的收购。

微信可能是 Meta 复制的下一个平台,平台上最大的趋势是小程序的普及,以促进与品牌的合作。随着平台变得越来越同质化,这个功能有可能很快被发展到西方平台中。倘若现在尝试开启微信业务并有效利用应用自身具备的功能,并将其与 Facebook,Instagram展开协作, 企业将更好地适应这些策略。

对于希望在拥挤的网络空间中获得绝对优势的西方企业来说,尽快开展微信业务可能是一个很好的机遇点。

有关设置微信帐户的更多信息或帮助,请联系 CGM Communications。

All

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to receive more articles like this, plus our state political newsletter, The Source.