According to iResearch data collected in April 2014, WeChat is now the #1 mobile chat application in China ahead of Sina Weibo and Qzone in terms of effective usage time. But what is WeChat? And why are major brands and businesses including Nike, Burberry and McDonald’s breaking into this app for marketing?
WeChat is an innovative mobile chat application that as of September 2013 has over 350 million registered users. The app was launched in 2011 and has been climbing the ranks of mobile applications ever since. On November 25 2012, WeChat was reported to be the top ranked iOS social networking application in 6 different countries including Hong Kong, Argentina and Thailand. The service supports voice and text messages, videos and pictures.
The popularity of WeChat has to do with a number of factors:
1. The users on WeChat are authentic. Because WeChat requires a telephone number, it’s the strictest social media platform in China.
2. Official WeChat account holders can reach their target audience directly which they can, in turn, choose to categorize based on demographic data.
3. WeChat provides an integral communication platform allowing registered users to interact with their friends and favorite brands through text, pictures, videos and voice messages.
- WeChat was launched in 2011
- As of September 2013, WeChat has over 350 million registered users with 100 million users outside of China
- Approximately 50% of WeChat users are between the ages of 25-30.
With stats like these, no wonder WeChat is one of the marketing channels businesses are successfully using to reach Chinese consumers. The challenge is to get WeChat marketing right. This includes:
- Defining the role of WeChat as an extension of your marketing strategy
- Defining your content strategy to keep your content stream fresh and interesting
- Defining your target audience to push relevant content
- Promoting your WeChat QR code
- Understanding the concept of “Throw A Bottle, Pick Up A Bottle.”
- Being personal and humorous
- Using voice messages to connect with your audience
- WeChat also has a Location Based Service (LBS) function, which allows businesses to reach clients and customers who are nearby
And while most brands are still trying to find their foothold using China’s number one social mobile app for marketing, some have already jumped on the WeChat bandwagon and are maximizing its potential as an extension of their CRM system.
5 Brands That are Getting WeChat Marketing Right
Starbucks was one of the first companies to create a WeChat account in 2012 shortly after it opened up to brands. The coffee chain’s first round of marketing activity took place between August 28 and September 30 that year and it used a simple idea: A user of the app sends an emoticon to Starbucks. Starbucks then returns a song that reflects the mood of the emoticon originally sent.
By the end of that first marketing campaign, Starbucks had amassed 62,000 fans on WeChat.
Do you ever wonder why some posts on Facebook go viral while others barely collect a dozen likes?
It’s not about luck if that’s what you’re thinking! A Facebook post going viral has little to do with luck and everything to do with what you post, when you post it and the words you use to send out your social message. For example, Facebook users are known to share content relating to certain topics more than others including posts about positivity, technology and health. And if you use certain words like “Facebook”, “Why” and “How” in your title, the corresponding post tends to get more likes and shares.
So with these considerations in mind, how can you maximize your overall user engagement on Facebook?
What you Need to Know about Facebook Engagement?
Worldwide, Facebook has over 1.5 billion users. Of those, 699 million people log on Facebook everyday with the average user spending 15 hours 33 minutes on the social network every month. In total, the traffic to Facebook every month amounts to 700 billion minutes.
To tap into that traffic, certain skills, stats and tips are more useful than others.
- Posts with 80 characters or less get more interaction
- The use of emoticons in posts increases comments
- Question posts get 100% more engagement comments wise
- Quotes collect 26% more likes and 19% more shares than “normal” posts
- Posts published on Thursday and Friday receive 18% more engagement. This number increases to 32% on weekends. The best time to post on Facebook is 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. to get the most shares and clicks
- Contents relating to some topics get more engagement than others. The top 5 topics include sex, positivity, learning, technology & social media and food & drink in that order
- 80% of U.S social media users prefer Facebook to the other social networks as their preferred way to connect with their favorite brands.
A 4-step Process to Increase your Facebook Engagement
1. Use the Right Social Media Tools to Inform Your Marketing Strategy
With tools like Mondovo, Hootsuite and SocialMention, you can build a brand that resonates with people. Think about it. Do you know if your social media efforts are paying off? With the right tools, you can narrow down on the social channels that are sending you the most traffic. You can listen to your audience and join relevant conversations. If you can identify your best content and most engaging posts, you can create more of what your audience wants from you.
Most social marketing strategies are currently centered on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest but WhatsApp may be the next major thing. Facebook definitely thought so. The WhatsApp purchase (when Facebook dropped $19bn to acquire the IM service) left a lot of people confused. But only until it struck them that WhatsApp reached around 450 million active users since US citizens Brian Acton and Jan Koum founded it in 2009. It’s also estimated that the growth rate of the service is about 1,000,000 new users per day with a high percentage of these users residing outside the US.
If you do the math (so cost per user), it becomes pretty clear why Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp makes a lot of sense. Especially when you consider the fact that the acquisition meant that Facebook effectively got access to the user information of nearly 500,000,000 new customers.
WhatsApp for Business
With that said, WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that prides itself on providing users with a simple, personal and real time messaging platform and having no ads, no games and no gimmicks. But marketers have found ways to leverage the popularity of WhatsApp for business.
The question is, how do you use an instant messaging service to help your business goals?
The answer is pretty simple. Think about it. In countries where text messaging is expensive or less accessible, WhatsApp is very popular. Users of the app heavily rely on it to connect with their friends and family and save on their cell phone bills. Small businesses in countries like India have leveraged this fact to communicate and engage with their clients and customers. And the new link between Facebook and WhatsApp makes this communication and marketing channel even more intuitive.
Fair enough, for marketing purposes, it’s critical that businesses maintain an active social media presence but WhatsApp… WhatsApp takes it to the next level by enabling instant messaging between businesses and prospective customers.
Even as we are talking about it right now, in some countries, businesses have started to put their WhatsApp number on billboards and their website. This is particularly true in the case of specialized businesses in India according to the Economic Times.
So essentially, while Whatsapp may not currently be a comprehensive solution when it comes to social media marketing, it’s getting there. Businesses can use WhatsApp for:
WhatsApp is obviously a powerful platform to connect with potential customers. By incorporating WhatsApp in your marketing strategy, you can open a new channel of communication between your sales team and WhatsApp users.
2. Customer Retention
With WhatsApp, you can hope for a closer and more personal relationship with your customers. The instant messaging service enables you to send out quick updates, address customer queries, follow-up on a sale and resolve complaints.
Every brand has a story. Instagram is a platform that’s unique in its singular focus on captivating imagery and providing brands with an avenue for rich visual storytelling.
Why use Instagram for Business
- It’s a tight community: Instagrammers are passionate about the platform
- It’s very visual: Instagram’s simple design allows captivating imagery to take center stage
- It’s beautiful: Instagram is a creative and inspiring environment
But Let’s Also Cover Some Stats
- Instagram boasts of 200M monthly actives
- With 65% of the users residing outside the U.S.
- Instagram is home to 20B photos
- It generates 1.6B likes daily
- And 60M photos per day
Brands are some of the most creative contributors to the Instagram community.
- Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million users and saw a 33-point increase in ad recall
- Levi’s, the classic American retailer reached 7.4 million people and saw a 24-point lift in ad recall
- America’s Taco Bell was the first restaurant to advertise on Instagram. The response was tremendous, including a 29-point lift in ad recall
Clearly, Instagram makes a strong case when it comes to social media platforms businesses should use to increase their reach and impact. The challenge is to determine what’s unique about your brand and then share it with the world.
Useful Content Strategy Tips
- Start with clear goals: Your Instagram account should fit into your overall brand marketing strategy
- Choose a theme that’s authentic to your brand and tells a cohesive story through captivating imagery
- Produce high-quality images and videos that are well crafted. The content you create should feel at home on the platform
Photo Taking, Editing and Sharing on Instagram
First off, to produce images and videos that are well crafted, you need to know the exact image sizes used by Instagram. Instagram image size used to be 612 pixels in width by 612 pixels in height. Recently, this image size was slightly increased. The current image size is 640 pixels in width by 640 pixels in height.
So first things first, remember this image size for all content you create for marketing on Instagram.
1. Photo Editing Tips
Once you’ve taken a photo, you can edit it by applying effects. Instagram provides a suite of photo-editing tools including:
When you take a photo using the Instagram in-app camera or upload a photo from file, you can straighten it using the Adjust tool.
You can add a border to any filtered photo.
Lux makes your photos more vibrant and brings out details you couldn’t see before.
Other photo-editing tools include:
– Brightness: It makes your photo brighter or darker.
– Warmth: It shifts the colors of your photo towards warmer or cooler tones.
– Vignette: It darkens the edges of a photo.
– Highlights: Use it to adjust the focus on the bright areas of an image.