When crafting an effective social media marketing strategy for any brand courting a Chinese audience, the front runner is clear - WeChat.
The numbers associated with the platform are staggering (in Q1 2022, WeChat had 1.26 billion active users), but its significance lies less in its impressive user volume and more in the specific market it has cornered. WeChat accounts for 34% of China's total data traffic - a remarkable monopoly that accounts for daily recreational and professional usage.
Beyond access to a well-defined and comprehensive Chinese audience, WeChat also offers a wide range of functionality and features to help brands and businesses interact with prospective and existing customers. While many companies default to a WeChat Official Account, there can often be confusion around the difference between this and using a WeChat Mini Program.
In this article, we will explore the key differences and benefits of these handy social WeChat tools when unlocking the Chinese market.
WeChat Official Account Vs. WeChat Mini Program – What's The Difference?
Let's explore what each resource offers and examine how they differ so that you can get the most out of your WeChat social media marketing strategies.
WeChat Official Account Explained
A WeChat Official Account is the first port of call for most businesses seeking to establish a presence on the platform. Sometimes also referred to as a WeChat public account, an Official Account is comparable to a Facebook page.
The exact functionality of your WeChat Official Account will vary depending on the type of account your business has selected. Still, all enable the opportunity to establish an authentic presence on the platform.
Three main types of Official Accounts:
These are more service/ function orientated & enable vendors to serve content up to four times a month (with up to eight articles per push.) Push notifications are enabled, and content is visible in the chat feed. All menu functions and advanced functionality options (API and JS-SDK are available for custom development.)
These accounts are content-focused: vendors' can serve content daily (up to eight articles per push.) There are no push notifications, and content lands in the subscription folder. Limited menu functions and API or JS-SDK access are available.
Enterprise Accounts (WeChat Work)
These accounts are for internal business purposes – specifically, communication or organisation – instead of an external marketing capacity.
WeChat Mini Program Explained
The WeChat Mini Program function acts as an "app within an app" within the WeChat platform. It places a strong focus on delivering a curated customer experience, benefiting vendors through additional functionality and more control over the expression of the brand and design.
WeChat Mini Programs are designed to engage and simplify user experiences by enabling tangible actions (for example, completing inquiry forms or eCommerce purchases) and sharing and efficiently managing content.
Additionally, their compatibility with other external integrations (such as CRM platforms) can be hugely beneficial from a data and customer relations standpoint while logistically streamlining in-house sales strategies.
WeChat Mini Programs are popular and influential – generating $123 billion in 2019, with average daily transaction volume doubling year-on-year.
The Differences - WeChat Official Account Vs. WeChat Mini Program
While Official Accounts have different degrees of functionality (based on their type), the significant differences between Official Accounts & Mini Programs include the following:
Attraction vs. Conversion
Official Accounts enable your content marketing, while Mini Programs, on the other hand, take on a more practical role, functioning as lead generation as well as your sales conversion funnel.
Mini Programs enable you more opportunities to create interaction and data capture with your audience - i.e., complete an eCommerce purchase or submit an inquiry. While Service type Official Accounts are sometimes used to fulfil this function, Mini Programs offer much more in brand control, customisations & user experience.
By deploying a Mini Program, you can easily keep control of your users' experience by enabling them to perform actions on WeChat via a lightweight Mini Program that delivers a fast, convenient, consistent user experience.
Ease Of Discovery
Although WeChat is constantly evolving its search functionality, Official Accounts can be hard to find. This is because very precise search terms are often needed to locate them – if the user doesn’t input the exact name of the account, a result may not be returned.
Mini Programs are typically easier to locate; they can be discovered quickly through WeChat's Mini Program section, located in the Discovery tab. This helps to ensure that users who are showing high levels of interest and intent are able to find and engage with your brand.
Varied Style of Communication & Content Requirements
While Official Accounts push content more suited to maintaining brand awareness, Mini Programs encourage interaction and conversion, meaning the requirement for content creation is typically much lower for Mini Programs. In contrast, a more regular publishing strategy is required for Official Accounts to create the best optimal engagement.
What's The Best Choice For Your WeChat Social Media Marketing?
Official Accounts and Mini Programs have advantages and limitations – and in many cases, the most effective strategies will leverage both tools in tandem, playing to their complementary strengths to build effective and impactful marketing funnels.
To make the best decisions for your WeChat social media marketing strategy, focus on desired outcomes –– are you (primarily) looking to build a following or generate sales?? Ultimately the most effective approach is the one you wield the most control over.
To this end, VIVA CITY can provide an easy-to-manage Mini Program solution that combines the intelligent leverage of data and brand control.
The unique VIVA CITY advantage is that your Mini Program will be able to marry content and funnel together, serving as a sales and conversion tool -delivering the most compelling experiences and encouraging maximum engagement. At the same time, the resultant data is collected and leveraged most effectively via powerful integrations.
Perfect Your WeChat Social Media Marketing
A well-considered presence on the WeChat platform is an essential component of any social media strategy that seeks to win a Chinese audience and shows no signs of slowing down regarding its stratospheric popularity within China and overseas.
Mini Programs can bolster your brand's WeChat conversion capabilities and, as a result, provide significant opportunities when building effective sales funnels on the platform. As a result, when implementing a versatile WeChat marketing approach, it is best to use an Official Account in tandem with Mini Programs.
This strategy will streamline your funnel and increase conversion, as you can provide better cross-platform functionality.