With more than a billion active users, WeChat is China’s most popular social network.
Consumers do everything on the app - pay for their groceries, chat with friends, order food for home delivery and post reviews of their favourite brands and businesses to the world.
But unlike some other social networks, WeChat isn’t a discovery network.
Instead, people have to go out of their way to find your profile and follow you.
That makes it tough to grow on WeChat, and it’s a reason why many Western brands have struggled to make an impact.
Indeed, consumers have to follow an account from a link that has been sent by friends, scan a company page’s QR code using their phone, or search a brand’s username within the app before they can see your profile or follow you.
Encouraging consumers to do any of those things can be tricky, especially if you haven’t established yourself or your brand in China.
The good news, though, is that it is possible to grow on the network.
Below, we’ve outlined ten of the most effective WeChat follower growth techniques to help your business blossom.
Accept WeChat Pay
WeChat Pay is fast becoming one of the most popular payment methods in China, so make sure you accept it on your website, e-commerce store and in-store if you have a physical retail presence in the country.
The best part about accepting WeChat Pay is that when a user makes a purchase, they’ll automatically connect to your WeChat account unless they decide to unsubscribe.
However, it’s up to you to ensure your content is worth sticking around for!
Create shareable content
The easiest way to build an active and engaged audience on WeChat - and encourage new customers to follow your page - is to create shareable, valuable content for your followers.
The truth is that you’ll have to work hard if you want to stand out from the crowd - there are more than two million registered businesses with official WeChat accounts - so focus on creating viral content that can bring thousands of followers in hours with the right strategy.
Work with KOLs
There are thousands of influencers (key opinion leaders) on WeChat that are happy to tag your brand and share your content with their hundreds of thousands of followers - for a fee, of course!
Identify KOLs with active and verified audiences and engage with them to discuss promoting your products, but calculate your opportunity cost before handing over big figures.
Campaigns involving influencers work best in the entertainment and lifestyle sectors, but it’s critical that you choose an authentic spokesperson who genuinely cares about your brand.
Chinese consumers are savvy and can see through promotion for promotion’s sake.
Deliver customer service
Most products and services require at least some form of customer service, so consider turning to WeChat as one of your official channels.
You can even develop a program and have automated responses sent to standard enquiries, but you should be mindful of too much automation as consumers won’t want to follow or interact with your page.
By sending messages to customers, you’ll be able to capture their location, age, and other info to use for future marketing, and they’ll continue to follow you once their issue is resolved.
Offer coupons and discounts
Sharing time-limited coupons and codes is another way to force both potential and existing customers to share your content and follow you on WeChat.
You can post your products and services every day, and then occasionally share a 50% off coupon that can be redeemed 20 times.
Consumers will want to read every post you share for their chance to save money.
Quizzes and giveaways
Consumers love freebies, so consider introducing a giveaway on your WeChat page to drive interest and followers.
Set up a Mini Program and offer new followers the ability to win a prize for playing a game, or gamify your social media experience offering points for likes and shares of your content on WeChat to reach a wider audience without spending thousands.
If you want to grow on WeChat without waiting months or relying on KOLs, consider taking advantage of its in-platform advertising methods like Moments advertising and account ads.
The downside is that paid advertising on the platform is incredibly expensive, and it’s tough to target accurate user groups, but the company is working to improve this and it’s still a useful method for companies with broad target markets looking to advertise to mass users.
Product packaging marketing
One technique that has worked well for Zudu China clients is including a QR code to a WeChat page on product packaging.
This works even better when you need to deliver an after-sales service such as customer support or a license key, which you can deliver on WeChat to lock people into the ecosystem and ensure they’re following your brand page.
Trade show displays
Attending a trade show like Food Hotel China this year?
Make sure you include a QR code to your WeChat page on your stand, counter, or wall.
Incentivise new follows by offering all attendees a chance to win a prize if they follow you and put their contact details down on a bit of paper, and you’ll soon have hundreds of new fans reading every update you send out.
Create tonnes of video content for Youku Tudou?
Make sure you add your WeChat name or a QR code to the endboards of your video, giving them enough time to view and scan it if they want more content from you.
If you’d prefer, you could permanently display a QR code in the corner of your videos to encourage viewers to follow throughout each of your videos.