Communicating with WeChat One of the main purposes of WeChat is communication, putting you in contact with your friends. To have a list of friends to contact, you’ll have to add them or be added. Communication on WeChat is different from any of the other commonly used social media tools in the western world. Nevertheless, WeChat’s increasing user base has made it an important and powerful tool for online communication, and particularly, mobile communication.
Origins of WeChat
You know about messaging or chat apps like SnapChat, WhatsApp, Viber, Voxer, and Facebook but did you know there is one app that has more installed users than all of the above? Tencent, one of China’s largest and most profitable Internet companies, launched WeChat back in 2011. Since then, more than 600 million people downloaded the app, and there are over 300 million active users that engage with the app daily. This makes it one of the world’s largest messenger/social media apps in use. More importantly, WeChat is used for more of its functionality than just a messaging service.
- China’s business landscape now sees widespread WeChat use as both firms and their customers see the app as a convenient communication channel. The app is useful not only for communication purposes but also for bill payments and connecting with people through social media.
- WeChat not only comes with standard communication features like free calling, text messaging, and video chat, but it also offers a popular 'Hold To Talk' feature that makes messaging a breeze.
- WeChat, known as Weixin in China, started as a social media and messaging app in 2011. Capitalizing on its growing audience, the app continued to add different functions, allowing users to pay.
Features of WeChat
WeChat is said to offer the best of Facebook and WhatsApp into one app, but there’s a lot more to it. Tencent has basically considered the app as a ‘Swiss-Army’ knife and has added features upon features that make WeChat a central component of a user’s life. In China for instance, everything is done through WeChat and that’s an understatement. Besides messaging, WeChat also offers video calling, voice calling, Emoticons/stickers, QR coding and capture, gaming, geolocation searching (Shake), blog posts (Moments), brand channels and mobile commerce (this is big, folks), and much, much more. See all of the features listed below in detail.
Additionally, many famous celebrities from around the world are creating their own WeChat profiles (i.e. channels) including Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez, Maggie Q, Adam Lambert and more. The rich features of WeChat allow celebrities to instantly communicate with fans and more importantly, engage directly with their fans through messages, videos, video chats and much more. Brands are also getting involved and adding their own ‘Subscription’ Accounts to WeChat, which are special channels for brands to exist on WeChat.
The Future of Mobile Commerce
With the recent news on mergers between other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber, a lot of focus is now placed on the significance of messaging apps in the mobile space. WeChat stands heads above the others for it’s one standout feature alone – mobile commerce. WeChat has a full-blown mobile commerce platform built inside using the e-commerce platform, TenPay (a Chinese version of PayPal). With TenPay, users have to sync a real-world bank account to add credits and conduct transactions via the app. WeChat has been used for mobile commerce (or m-commerce) by brands, celebrities and WeChat themselves. WeChat currently completed a successful Chinese New Year’s Red Envelope program, where users of WeChat could send red envelopes (money) to each other’s accounts. Over 40 million envelopes were sent during the program with hundreds of millions of dollars sent in app transactions.
WeChat and You
WeChat is the most popular app in Asia but is growing internationally as well. It is becoming more and more popular in other parts of the world including North America. WeChat currently has a program running in North America to provide free Starbucks gift cards if you sign up with WeChat. With the rich features, user base and momentum, WeChat is here to stay and will only become more and more popular worldwide.
How can you get involved if you are a brand or marketer? First, download the app and familiarize with it. You can download WeChat on iOS here and Android here. Then, read about the features in this section. Follow our blog for all the latest updated news on WeChat. Now that you have downloaded the app, get acquainted with the robust features WeChat can provide and offers to its community.
If you would like to know more about WeChat and what it can do for your brand or business, download our free white paper on Marketing for WeChat.
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For many, WeChat is considered the mobile WhatsApp of China. For any business looking to market internationally, WeChat should be at the very center of its mobile marketing plan.
Despite launching a mere four years ago, WeChat already boasts 600 million users, with around 500 million in China alone. When it comes to social networking in China (and, increasingly, among Asian-Americans), WeChat is the undisputed champ.
Wechat Ipad Communication Protocol
WeChat compiles many of the features of the world's largest social media platforms in a simple package while incorporating every facet of day-to-day life within it. By tapping into this massive resource, companies can roll out marketing campaigns that utilize numerous facets of the user's world.
Here are some of the top WeChat features that companies should be keeping an eye on:
Wechat Online Log In
1. Massive Audience Base
Wechat Internal Communication
With about 500 million Chinese users and 100 million others across the globe, WeChat continues to expand at a phenomenal rate. It's already the optimal medium for reaching Chinese or Asian-American consumers, and that audience will only grow as the platform's popularity continues to spread.
While most apps are self-contained, WeChat has the flexibility to connect to 85,000 other apps. It has been building a business ecosystem, allowing third-party companies to develop functions and services within WeChat to expand its market base even further.
WeChat isn't just a social app; it's a lifestyle app. A user can still connect with friends and family--or reach out to potential customers--but he can also order a taxi, pay his utility bill, buy a plane ticket, split the dinner check, and invest in a new stock. There's almost no limit to what a user can do without ever closing the app.
The WeChat Wallet lets users link bank accounts and cards to their WeChat accounts to make both online and offline purchases. This also allows users to make purchases quickly and easily right from the app. This helps businesses that advertise through the platform, cutting out the extra steps between viewing an ad and landing a sale.
WeChat not only comes with standard communication features like free calling, text messaging, and video chat, but it also offers a popular 'Hold To Talk' feature that makes messaging a breeze. All users have to do is select a contact, press the button, and speak. When the user releases the button, the message sends.
In addition to its robust suite of lifestyle features, WeChat partners with advertisers and entertainment venues to offer an interactive component to users. To use the popular Shake feature, a user simply has to shake his phone. This allows users to find someone nearby who is also using Shake, participate in a brand promotion, or interact with a nearby event.
WeChat's social component, called Moments, operates similarly to Facebook's Timeline. The app recently partnered with BMW and Coca-Cola to begin integrating advertisements in users' news feeds, joining the many companies already interacting with their customers by sharing news and providing customer service right through the app.
Many renowned brands have set up official public accounts on WeChat, allowing them to communicate with their audiences by sharing news feeds and providing customer service through the app.
After the grand opening of Burberry's flagship Shanghai store, followers were able to take an interactive panoramic tour of the event, including videos imbedded within the interactive 360-degree exploration tool.
To reach the largest audience possible and improve your relationships with future customers, you can even try integrating game elements in your WeChat presence, posting customer surveys to get real-time feedback, and taking advantage of geo-fueled news feed features to target users near your retail location.
If you want your brand to reach a larger audience, you won't find a better medium than WeChat.
This article was co-authored by Nancy Huang, media planner and buyer at Gravity.