In this article, we will dive into how to effectively build and manage WeCom (WeChat Work) groups, one of the key direct communication channels with customers in the China market.
According to Statista, by the end of Q3 2023, WeChat has garnered 1.3 billion monthly active users, predominantly in China. As the super-app continuously expands, blurring the lines between social interactions and eCommerce, it becomes a key channel for brands to directly connect with customers, fostering private traffic, direct data capture, and sales.
For instance, Pop Mart, a Chinese toy company specializing in collectible character-based designer toys, manages over 800 official groups with over 100,000 users, according to the China Social Commerce Report 2023.
Brands use WeChat groups to market, provide excellent customer service, and build community engagement. This fosters a sense of community, making group members more inclined to make a purchase upon exposure to the promotions, the community’s discussions, and a sense of exclusivity.
They, in turn, may become ambassadors themselves and recommend to others in their circle of friends, effectively extending the network of influence.
In Pop Mart’s case, group chats helped contribute to its glowing success in the China market, which saw:
With WeCom (WeChat Work) deployed, Sales Associates no longer create WeChat groups with their personal WeChat accounts, which give brands zero visibility. Instead, the brand or Sales Associates can add WeChat customers to group chats created with WeCom – WeCom group chats, which enable:
One simple way would be for the admin or the Sales Associate to manually (bulk or individually) select and add customers that they manage to the new or existing WeCom group chats.
Many companies also promote group entry via sharing WeCom Moments and leverage group fission marketing. By encouraging customers and leads to become advocates and share posters containing the WeCom Group entry QR code for incentives (e.g., discounts, vouchers) on their WeChat Moments, companies can build brand awareness and effectively expand their community for unified engagement.
Other WeCom group entry points include a 1-on-1 chat between the Sales Associate’s WeCom account and the WeChat customer.
For example, The Economist allows adding a brand representative's WeCom contact on its WeChat Official Account. Upon adding, customers receive a Welcome Message inviting them to join the brand’s WeCom discussion group. This fosters a sense of community among The Economist readers as they are given a platform for networking, discussing current events, and staying informed about economic trends and policy issues.
Similar to the Welcome Message in 1-on-1 chats, Welcome Messages in group chats are crucial for shaping the initial perception of the brand as well as the community. Moreover, this interaction might be the first with the brand for some individuals.
WeCom allows full customization of content in the Welcome Journey, including adding personalized touches like addressing customers by name.
In addition, as the group grows with more members over time, an excess of Welcome Messages at a time can appear spammy or irritating. By adjusting the frequency of Welcome Messages based on how often customers join, the system can smartly send messages with intervals in between to avoid disturbing other users.
Another option is to leverage the Group Notice or Group Announcement feature, which we'll dive into later.
With the ITC Clienteling Solution plugged into WeCom (WeChat Work), administrators can automatically profile customers when they join a group. This includes automatically adding certain remarks, descriptions, and relevant tags to streamline customer segmentation.
Auto-reply can help boost response efficiency by handling frequently asked questions (FAQs) from group members and guiding customers in group fission marketing activities.
Pre-configured rules ensure that when a customer mentions @Assistant and a trigger keyword, the predefined replies are automatically sent.
Brands can use the broadcast tool to send mass messages to any customer segments, including WeCom group chats. Admins can plan content in advance and schedule notifications to the employees for timely pushes.
How does this tool help brands to manage group communication and management?
This is particularly useful for mass updating customers on the newest promotions, product launches, events, anniversaries, etc.
Moreover, by utilizing third-party tools like ITC Clienteling Solution to support WeCom, brands can build a community communication plan for WeCom groups.
Similar to WeChat, WeCom has a group announcement feature. This ensures that important messages are prominently displayed in the Group Notice section, preventing them from getting lost among regular messages.
This allows both new and existing members easy access to critical information, such as the purpose of the group or instructions for the latest activity.
Another function that helps enhance group management efficiency is by creating and leveraging WeCom group templates. This simplifies the group creation process by retaining standard features while allowing detailed customization for different customer segments and interest groups.
Admins and managers can access group member data on WeCom's backend and more detailed reporting and analysis on the ITC Clienteling Solution’s dashboards. This helps brands evaluate the engagement level of group members to adjust future engagement strategies.
Looking ahead, the collaboration between Salesforce and Alibaba Cloud, set to launch new products in December 2023, promises innovative solutions for CRM, including Salesforce Platform and Service Cloud.
By connecting WeChat and WeCom clienteling and other touchpoint (e.g., retail) management tools with Salesforce as a Customer Relationship Management system in China, brands can centralize all prospect, customer, and partner data into one location. From here, businesses can build holistic customer profiles and generate data-driven insights for future customer-centric engagement strategies.
Overall, by emphasizing personalized engagement and efficient group management, brands can create vibrant WeCom communities for customers on WeChat, as seen in success stories such as Pop Mart.
The use of tools such as the ITC Clienteling Solution can further enhance these efforts, helping brands navigate the evolving dynamics of group chats in China for improved customer engagement and increased sales conversions.
At IT Consultis (ITC), this year alone, we have trained more than 2,500 Sales Associates across numerous brands to utilize WeCom, earning us the title of the Gold Winner of the Greater China Specialist Agency of the Year 2023.