• Teitur Jónasson

Why using WeChat to attract Chinese tourists is a no brainer!

It is estimated that tourists from China will reach 100.000 in Iceland and 330.000 in Denmark in 2019. That is a whopping 90% increase from 2018 in Denmark and a solid 20% growth in Iceland. This is the result of more direct flights and increased interest in these two countries in China. Most companies have a Facebook Page, an Instagram and Twitter accounts, use Google SEO and create content for their own websites to reach customers. All of these methods don’t work in China and a lack of understanding and language barriers keeps Icelandic and Danish brands from having a presence on Chinese social media. They are leaving money on the table. Bīng Bàng is here to help.

WeChat is the Key

WeChat is the number one social media platform in China with almost 1.1 Billion monthly users at the end of 2018. The platform has often been described as the Facebook of China but that does not come close to describe its capabilities. It is more like the Swiss army knife of social media and an ecosystem in its own right. You don’t need to leave the app to be able to do anything and everything you do online. Notable features besides the obvious chat and calls include moments (feed from friends), official accounts for content marketing and news as well as a search function but the platform also allows you to pay for almost anything in China, including your bills, book a taxi, order food and groceries and even manage your money in a fund. And yeah it is also a gaming platform!

You will need an Official account

In 2018 Tencent, the owner of WeChat, made it possible for foreign brands to open an Official account for the first time. This gives Icelandic, Danish and other European brands a unique opportunity to connect to Chinese tourists. The official brand accounts are to some extent similar to Facebook Pages. Anybody can follow them and receive push notifications. The Official account really works like a mini website and you can do everything there that you otherwise would use your website for. That means that there is little need for a Chinese version of your website which is a good thing because websites hosted outside of China work poorly and it is a hassle to host one inside China. Most Chinese prefer WeChat to websites anyway. Your goal is to create content that drives readers/viewers to your account and makes them followers. By growing your WeChat audience your Chinese possibilities open up for real.

WeChat Pay and O2O marketing

China is by far the leader in mobile payments. They are effectively moving towards a not only cashless society but a card free society. WeChat Pay is the biggest offline payment solution while AilPay is the biggest online. And the Chinese use QR codes for all offline purchases and other stuff as well. They are QR code crazy. Like Europeans the Chinese expect to be able to use their own payment methods when they travel. You expect your Visa or Mastercard to work anywhere abroad and this will also be the future for Chinese mobile payments. That means that there is a competitive advantage to be gained now by accepting WeChat Pay (and AliPay) in your store. The statistics tell us that 90% of Chinese tourists prefer to use Chinese mobile payment and 59% of stores in Europe that offer these solutions increase their sales. Your presence on WeChat will allow you to reach potential customers before travel, use geolocation and offline 2 online (O2O) marketing during stay and engage in customer retention once the tourist is back in China.

Content marketing is a necessity

Content marketing is at the center of succeeding in WeChat. You will need valuable and relevant content that connects with your target audience. China is not a single market. It is many different markets with different needs. Think of Europe, a good winter coat will sell better in Denmark than in Spain and so one. You need to define your target audience as well as your target location. Well defined customer personas for the Chinese market are important as well. After that, everything depends on creating quality content that is relevant for your persona. Content marketing in China does not have to rely on your existing marketing material. The same content you create for your home market is probably not going to work as it is in China. You need to adjust or create new content for that purpose. It is also important to be careful to use your WeChat account for outright advertising because it can lead to resentment from your readers and even a ban from the platform. The picture is from our very successful Blámar Seafood WeChat account. With weekly posting of interesting, useful and entertaining content Blamar is reaching new audiences everyday.

Not to worry

This may all seem daunting and insurmountable but it really isn’t. With a little effort and help from a good agency like us at Bīng Bàng, WeChat marketing will become as easy as Facebook or Instagram marketing is today. We help with everything from setting up the account, repurposing and creating content in Chinese. We work with partners that can help you become up and running with Chinese mobile payments in no time. The opportunity to reach those Chinese tourists is now.

Scan our WeChat QR code to follow Bīng Bàng on WeChat and scan my QR code to become my personal WeChat friend :-)

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