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