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How to Setup and Start Selling on WeChat

How to Setup and Start Selling on WeChat

WeChat is gaining a lot of attention in Australia for it’s ability to tap into the Chinese market and and Chinese speaking expats.  This attention is rightfully placed with Chinese smartphone users spending 1/3 of their time on WeChat. Reaching and engaging the Chinese market can be very lucrative, but there are some important steps to take and things to consider before you start delivering your first WeChat campaign.

Setting up an account

WeChat have both personal and business account types. WeChat Official accounts (公众号) are for people wanting to promote themselves or their business.  There are different types of WeChat Official Accounts with different limitations.  The two accounts you should consider are a subscription account or Service account.

  • Subscription accounts (订阅号): can send 1 push message per day to their followers and appear together in a dedicated folder appearing alongside your friends in the “chat” section of WeChat.
  • Service accounts (服务号): can only post 4 messages a month.  They appear as friends in the “chat” section of WeChat. They are very visible, and have more features than a subscription account like WeChat login, WeChat payment and geo-localization.

The setup processes for WeChat can carry different fees and restrictions if you do not have a Chinese Local Business License.  For example, currently, real estate is listed as a ‘warning category’ by Tencent (WeChat) and all applications are on an individual application basis. The vast majority of agencies will set up through third party hosting or register the account in the name of the agency meaning you do not own your own account.  If possible, plan ahead and take the time to setup as a foreign business directly with Tencent or via your own business license.  A marketing agency should be able to help you through the direct application process or a local business representative or agent in China should be able to help you through the process of registering a local business license for a forigne entity.

To setup a business account in If you do not have a local license you can process an application through the Tencent official channel but this is on a case by case basis (approval determined by Tencent), typical policy through Tencent is $15,000 USD in advance in pre-pay ads plus Tencent Fee’s.

We always recommend that companies own their own WeChat accounts if possible, but if you wish to launch a campaign in a short timeframe or do not wish to register a business in China an agency with an existing account can operate your account under the agency local business license.  This alternative is very commonly used, but does carry risks.

The setup process can be confusing and should be tailored to your business needs.  If you have a question about the setup process feel free to discuss it with us.

Setup your WeChat Store

The next step once you have registered your account successfully is to setup a WeChat store.  A WeChat store is a website you link to from your profile but is designed to specifically work with WeChat and have the following features.

  • Users are automatically logged-in via WeChat to increase conversion rate
  • WeChat payment is provided as a payment option
  • Titles, descriptions and images are customized to appear properly on WeChat
  • Design follows the WeUI guidelines making it consistent with the look and feel of WeChat.

At this point, if you’re not familiar with web development, Chinese speaking and how WeChat works it is good idea to talk to an agency or contractor who can help you set up your store.  But if you are really motivated you can try using a WeChat shop platform such as.

Start Advertising

There are three main categories of ways to advertise and promote your store on WeChat.

  1. Paid Advertising – Cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-mille (CPM) advertising
  2. Key Opinion Leader advertising (KOL ads)
  3. Viral Campaigns, competitions and Sale Promotions

Paid Advertising

You can advertise on WeChat using the Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Mile (CPM) meaning you either pay each time someone clicks or each time an ad is shown 1000 times.

Moment ads

“Moments ads” are ads that are displayed in the users Moments (朋友圈) just like the Facebook timeline. You can add content such and images, video and a link to your website or landing page.  Our favourite ad type is the newer format of “Moment Ads” due to their better click through rate and rich media but with a large initial commitment required of about $20,000 USD it is somewhat exclusive.

Subscription account ads

Subscription account ads are displayed at the bottom of Public WeChat subscription accounts with more than 100,000 subscribers.  They are a good initial way to test and get subscribers with a low initial minimum investment of about $300 USD.

Key Opinion Leader Advertising

Key Opinion Leader advertising involves paying a relevant WeChat blogger to promote your brand. You might ask them to distribute an article about your brand, or display a banner linking to your WeChat account on content they post.  The price of. KL can vary a lot from 100 to 50,000 USD but if you are looking try Newrank. cn or where you can find who and what is trending and bid or hire someone.

Buyer Beware – There are a lot of fake KOLs on WeChat.  Make sure you check a few points before handing over your money including:

  • the consistency between the type of content and it’s number of views such as consistent number of view on all articles regardless of type and quality
  • the consistency of quality and type of article.  If the content varies a lot and they are posting on anything it is likely fake

Viral Campaigns, competitions and Sale Promotions

These kinds of campaigns are all about the creative.  So if you’re thinking about driving shares on WeChat as your way of promoting make sure you have a good translator and creative partner unless you are the genius yourself!

Good creative support is essential because WeChat forbids providing an incentive, asking users to share and collecting data without explanation.  If you’re not sure, stick to KOLs and Paid Adverrtising.

Produce WeChat Content

Once you have attracted users to your account it’s time to retain them and keep them engaged.  Great content is what you need.  But what is great in context of WeChat?

Well WeChat isn’t like the West’s go-to social media platforms that all centre around sharing with friends.  WeChat is more than that and their revenue split shows that.  The majority of WeChat revenue is from additional services they provide for people conducting business and completing transactions on the platform and not advertising.

When asked why they followed the accounts they did the overwhelming majority of people said they followed “useful” content.  Not “trendy” or “funny” just useful!  So when you are planning your content strategy, listen to the users and provide consistent quality posts that can be actioned or investigated practically by your subscribers.

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