Building & Managing WeCom Groups in China [Ultimate Guide]
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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.

The Role of WeChat/WeCom Groups in Driving Sales in China

Private traffic management is a key approach in China to enhance customer engagement and boost sales, including managing community groups via WeCom (WeChat Work)

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.

Beyond one-on-one chat for clienteling, WeChat group chats have also evolved into another direct engagement channel between sales representatives and customers, especially for FMCG businesses and beauty retailers.

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:

  • A 33.1% year-on-year (YoY) sales increase in the first half of 2022
  • Over 23 million registered members by June 2022, who made up over 90% of its gross sales
How Pop Mart activates community engagement in China via WeCom (WeChat Work) group chats

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:

  • 100% customer and data ownership
  • Tagging strategy to improve targeting accuracy
  • Systematized transactions with customers
  • Streamlined internal collaboration and group chat management efficiency
  • Enhanced security

For more information on the values WeCom can bring, check out our summary of the key benefits of WeCom.

How to Invite Customers to Join WeCom Group Chats

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.

How The Economist invites readers in China to join WeCom group chats
Invitation to join the WeCom group in the 1-on-1 chat’s Welcome Message: “To enter the live interactive group, please reply: Live interactive group”

Efficient Tools for Effective WeCom Group Management

1. Welcome Message

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.

How IKEA welcomes China fans in WeCom (WeChat Work) group chats
Example: Personalized Welcome Message in an IKEA’s WeCom group chat

WeCom allows full customization of content in the Welcome Journey, including adding personalized touches like addressing customers by name.

Brands can create unique Welcome Messages for different groups or use the same one for batches of groups, utilizing tools like the ITC Clienteling Solution.

Brands can generate different WeCom groups with customized welcome journeys using ITC Clienteling Solution plugged into WeCom
Generate parametric QR code for different sources with a customized Welcome Journey

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.

2. Automatic Customer Profiling

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.

Automatic member tagging upon addition to WeCom groups with ITC Clienteling Solution

3. Auto-Reply

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.

How auto-reply works in WeCom group chats

4. Group Mass Messaging

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 to set up mass messaging on WeCom (WeChat Work) backend

How does this tool help brands to manage group communication and management?

  • Standardize and easily manage marketing strategy from a centralized hub
  • Maximize scalability and content reach while minimizing repeated work
  • Ensure precise segmentation

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.

Brands can set up WeCom communication plan in advance with communication reminders using ITC Clienteling Solution

5. Group Announcement (or Group Notice)

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.

6. Group Template

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.

Example of setting up a WeCom group template to facilitate future group creation

7. Performance Management

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.

WeCom group data dashboard on ITC Clienteling Solution
All group members data analysis on ITC Clienteling Solution Tool’s dashboard

Integration Between WeChat & WeCom and Salesforce

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.

Ultimately, this connection between WeCom and Salesforce for clienteling and CRM in China will enable brands to enhance customer relationships, streamline processes across departments, and drive revenue.

To Wrap Up

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.

Looking to Enhance Customer Engagement in China?