What are the biggest challenges running a WeChat Official Account?
Getting more followers — is the first thing I hear people say.
Why do we want WeChat followers in the first place?
WeChat Official Accounts give brands the opportunity to not only push content to followers to promote products, advertise events, announce updates, but Official WeChat Accounts are a kind of ‘service hub’ where customers & potential customers can access important information and interact with a customer service rep or account manager.
As a business, you want active followers — people who are engaging with your content, utilizing your WeChat menu, and contacting you through your account.
So how do you get more of these active followers?
Here are six steps to take (plus a bonus at the end!)
#1. Don’t focus on getting more followers
Seems a little counterintuitive, I know, but stick with me.
Focus on proving value.
Content must be driven by purpose — when we produce content the number one purpose should first be to provide the most value that you can to your reader.
Imagine that you are playing a game of charades, and you are unable to ask someone to follow you, but through your content, you should be providing such targeted, useful and interesting information that the person reading it is moved to follow you.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
WeChat Service Accounts are allowed four push posts per month, while Subscription Accounts are allowed a push post daily — just because you are allowed to (for lack of a better term) ‘slide into people’s DM’s’ four time’s per month, or even every day, doesn’t mean that you should.
Don’t post if you;
Struggled to come up with your article content
Didn’t do any validation — meaning, you had an idea of what to write, but you didn’t check if your topic revolves around a question or keywords that are being searched online
Aren’t providing something shareable — whether this is in the form of photos, quizzes, new trends, stats, how-to tips
*Example of a question I received during a workshop — event recaps, do or don't post?
DO: if you are providing quality photos of the event attendees that can be shared (ideally with your logo on them)
So, get over your FOMO of not pushing out content all the time just to stay top of mind, and focus on providing value first. If you only post 2 times per month instead of four, but you’re providing a much higher level of quality, DO IT.
#2. Know your audience
You won’t get more followers unless you understand what your audience is looking for, what they are interested in, and what problems you can solve.
How can you do this with WeChat?
There are amazing CRM softwares out there that allow you to pull much more information from your followers than you are normally able to with the WeChat backend, however if you cannot afford this…. Here’s a hack;
When someone first follows you’re account you have the ability to send an automatic message — PLEASE do not let it be this;
Instead, use this opportunity to see what your followers are interested in AND provide a little something extra to new followers.
Set up your auto-response message to include a short welcome and a question — ask new followers what they are interested in, or what they hope to get from your account. Users can respond with a simple letter or number, and from here you can send them another piece of content or a message to pull them further into your funnel, while also being able to view this information on the backend.
Depending on your resources and how many new followers you get each day, you can then add a tag to your new followers based on their response, or get a general overview of the types of things your followers are interested in, or looking for.
This will help you produce much more targeted, and useful content.
How does this help you get more followers?
When you are able to produce quality content for current followers, chances are this content will also be highly attractive to the rest of your target audience, and a lá tip #1 — valuable content moves people (the RIGHT) people to follow you.
#3. Give people a reason to ‘stay tuned’
“Flash sale items announced every Wednesday at Noon”
“Lucky draw announced every Monday”
“New product review every Friday”
Setting expectations is a great way to encourage readers to commit to following your account, and look forward to your posts. It doesn’t have to be related to a contest or giveaway, you can publish a certain type of content — reports, the answer to a quiz, announcing new products — every week at a specific time.
#4. Weekly Giveaways for followers
Similar to #3 — give the people a little something extra. Announce that you’ll be doing weekly giveaways for followers, or even new followers. Keep track in the backend of who is following your account (you’ll be able to see this in chronological order) — set aside a small budget for coupons, discounts, products and choose a new follower each week (or month, depending on your resources & how often you post) as the winner. Announce winners at the bottom of a regular post so that people know where they can find the winner each time.
*This doesn’t have to be a big investment! If there’s one thing we know, people love shout-outs and free stuff. Give winners a free bagel, 10% off of their next purchase, a poster, a handmade card from your CEO — get creative!
#5. Don’t make things difficult — add a call to action in your post
Make it obvious and simple for people to follow your account. ALWAYS include your QR code at the end of an article, or point it out at the top.
Here are some great examples:
#6. If you have a physical shop or event - give people a little something extra if they are following you
Ask people to show your cashier that they are following your account for a little something extra such as a 10% discount, the chance to be entered into a lucky draw, even a small token. Like I said, don’t underestimate how much people like free stuff.
Bonus (because #5 might not work for everyone) Group Chats:
I know I’ve mentioned group chats before, but they are a GREAT way to build community and get your content in front of more eyeballs.
Group chats are often much more personal than following an account, as you must be invited in by a friend or owner of the group chat.
Within the group, you can：
Share your content when it goes live — but don’t overdo it! Group chats are not a place to push your content - they are a place to engage with customers directly and provide value, even if it isn’t your content.
Reiterate announcements and perks for those following your account
Build engagement around relevant topics and questions — then use this to develop even more targeted content
Check out this article for more tips on how to use group chats.
In the end, getting more followers (for any type of channel) depends on one simple thing — providing value to your target audience over everything else.