People are very social by nature. Since it has been hardwired into our system, we have an urgent need to be with other people, whether they are family, friends, or strangers with the same interests. We need to share ourselves and we want others to accept us as well.

This universal need is turning some people into billionaires.

With the advent of the internet and advanced mobile devices, the way people communicate has become faster and more interactive. These days, you don’t have to wait for days just to receive a message from your loved ones. With just a stable internet connection, you can send pictures or messages in a snap, and you can even talk to them via video chat. This advancement is now being used by companies to reach their customers. Check out how being sociable and using messaging apps like WeChat can help you with your next marketing strategy.

The Chinese Market

According to research from Credit Suisse, the Middle Class bracket of the Chinese population has grown dramatically from nearly zero in 1995 to 109 million people in 20 years, and has now surpassed that of the USA. These are households with wealth ranging from $50,000 to $500,000. It is estimated that by 2020, the number of millionaires will increase by 74% to 2.3 million, presenting a tremendous opportunity for businesses.

Also, there are currently almost 700 million internet users in the country.

So if you want to enter a market with over half of their population having sufficient purchasing power and almost the same number using the net, what do you do? You set up that account and start engaging.

Note that China restricts its netizens from using top international social networks, namely Facebook and Twitter. For an international business that’s planning to penetrate the Chinese market, this can be a pickle. Thankfully, this makes all the more space for WeChat. Locally known in China as Weixin (“micro message”), it is one of the few of China’s home-grown apps that looks likely to break through into the international community.

What’s WeChat?

WeChat is a free messaging and calling app that allows users to connect with their peers and families wherever they are around the globe. It functions like Viber, Line, and KakaoTalk, although with a noticeably different interface. Not only that, it is also a complete entertainment and social platform with photo sharing features and games.

Around 440 million Chinese netizens use WeChat (By the Numbers: 50+ Amazing WeChat Statistics). That’s more than 60% of their online population!

Why do so many people from the country use WeChat?

1. It’s Free

An app this feature-packed is half-expected to come with an expensive price tag, but all its offerings come with no charge, forever.

2. Microblogging

Users are given the ability to create their own blogs for publishing their content. From daily journals to professional blogs, these are all possible with the app.

3. Photo Editing and Games

This fully-packaged app also has its very own picture editing tool so you can add visual flair to your snapshots before uploading. And if you’re bored taking selfies, you can just play one of the app’s action packed games like Dragon Warrior or Wechat Dash.

4. Sticker Gallery

There are times when an exclamation point isn’t enough to show how enthusiastic you are about what you just heard. You can use featured characters from popular cartoons, or famous internet personas.

5. Group Messaging

Group messaging is a very important function for messaging apps, and if yours feature group messages up to 500 people, that’s sure to be a hit.

6. Video Call and Hold to Talk

Aside from just typing or talking to communicate, you can level it up with real-time video chat. If you just need to send a message, but you’re too busy to type, WeChat also has a handy hold to talk feature where you just say the message out loud and it will be sent as a voice message for your friend to hear.

7. Look Around, Shake, Drift Bottle

With the Look Around feature, you can see friends that are near your location via GPS. The Shake feature allows you to find strangers who are using it too, while the Drift Bottle allows you to send a text or voice message to a random person around the Globe.

8. Web WeChat

You can also download WeChat on your desktop so you can still talk to your friends while your mobile devices are charging.

9. Mobile Wallet

The app gives users the ability to link their bank cards with their account for easier and more seamless transactions with online merchandisers from the v5.0 update.

10. News Reader

When you have already talked to everybody in your 5,000 capped friend list, maybe it’s time to catch up on the latest news with its built in news reader function.

How does it help your brand?

Loyalty Programs

WeChat has a membership functions that allows established brands to give loyal consumers incentives for tuning in to their stream of content. Incentives like virtual VIP cards or e-coupons may be sent to members to retain them or attract new ones, and consumers get freebies for following the profile of a product. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

Subscription and Service Accounts

There are two types of public accounts that are available for use for Weixin brands: Subscription Accounts and Service Accounts.

Subscription accounts allow a daily limit of two messages to subscribers per day, which is great for constant updates for your consumers. However, it’s the more basic account in terms of functionality.

Service Accounts could serve as a mobile web version of a company’s desktop site and could also be tweaked by integrating their internal tools. This means if your Service Account member wants to buy a product from your store, they don’t have to open a different web browser and can access your shop from within WeChat. However, you are only able to send out one message in a month.

Users Actively Participate in Brand Discussions

OgilvyOne released data that shows over 55% of Chinese users engage in brand discussions that give companies an opportunity to understand and study what their target market cares about. People go to WeChat to get a first impression about a brand or to give feedback about a recent purchase.

Single App – Entire Business Strategy

With its great feature set, WeChat has been embraced by the Chinese masses with very high user retention. What’s more, the services offered are constantly evolving to adjust and innovate according to its users’ behaviour.

For ordinary users, it is an excellent instant messaging and calling app that allows them to connect with their families and friends as well as to entertain themselves.

For companies, it serves as an e-commerce tool that allows them to set up their storefront, conduct monetary transactions, and reach out to their audiences all from within the app.