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The beauty of WeChat is that it is social and promotional in one. Brands can send out weekly broadcasts (similar to email campaigns), but they appear as chats in users' feeds alongside their other friends and contacts. Once users open a broadcast message from a brand, it's not static like an email but allows tons of avenues for interaction.
Some of the most basic are the ability for users to swipe between pictures and for tap-to-transform or reveal designs. Posts can even seem to be responsive, giving users multiple-choice questions to answer. And of course, posts can link their readers to Mini Programs and Channels. If you’re not familiar with these features yet, check out our WeChat 101 article on best practices for WeChat content here
However, the best campaigns take WeChat's capabilities even further and find exciting ways to engage their users. Some of our examples, like AI programs and VR try-on features, rely on an investment in technology, while other activities, like comments-based competitions and surprises, are just pure creativity. Read on to get ideas for your brand's next campaign!
We’ll look at the following engagement activities:
- Comments-based competitions
- Gamification of a brand story
- In-WeChat livestreams
- Customer chat groups
- Reward sharing
- AR/VR try-on
- Digital giveaways
- Personalized “elves” or avatars
- Customizable digital gifts
- AI consultations
- Recommendations sections
- Video contents
01. Comments-based competitions
By far one of the most popular engagement activities, asking readers to reply to a prompt in the comments gets people thinking more deeply about your brand and interacting with other users as they vote by liking others' comments.
In the below example from Chopard, the topic reads, "Leave a message and share with us your mood for welcoming 520. You have a chance to win a Chopard exquisite gift.” The top-liked comment said, "In 2014, I bought a Happy Diamond for my wife. It's been 7 years. As we grow older, companionship is the sweetest thing. In the next 7 years, it will still be you." This is an excellent example of how these competitions help users develop emotional connections with a brand.
02. Gamification of a brand story
Who doesn’t want their brand to be associated with fun and rewarding experiences? Gamification of your brand story inspires return interactions and more time spent with the brand. Plus, digital gifts (and a few big giveaways) add great user value.
To promote a live show, Hermès created a Mini Program with three games based on their clothing designs. Users could see how their game performance measured up and share results. More focused on brand story, Tag Heuer’s board game had users answer questions about the brand’s watches to earn points and “collect” watches in the game. Top-scorers won more chances for lucky draw prizes.
03. In-WeChat livestreams
Hosting livestreams on your WeChat platform means you can:
- easily connect to the livestream from your weekly broadcast or Mini Program.
- send reminder messages in WeChat.
- seamlessly integrate with your WeChat e-commerce.
Estée Lauder has done this well. Leading up to a livestream event, a floating gift box on their Mini Program home screen connected users to the livestream/waiting room. From there, users could sign up for a reminder alert in WeChat before the start of the show.
04. Customer chat groups
Beauty brands often take advantage of this tool offered by WeCom, with a sales associate hosting groups of several hundred. Users can ask questions about current promotions and livestreams directly in the group and build a sense of community.
For the same promotion mentioned above, Estée Lauder also connected users in their Mini Program to a WeCom QR code that entered them into a group chat. The group chat was moderated by a sales associate, so users could ask questions about the current promotion as well as enjoy the social aspect often associated with in-store shopping while online.
05. Reward sharing
Brands often reward users with points for sharing the game or event with their WeChat contacts. This is a fantastic way for users who aren't yet committed to making a purchase (which is often required to earn points) to stay engaged with the campaign and gain new users at the same time.
Leading up to their livestream, Estée Lauder gave users several ways to earn “bonus points” to receive discounts. From the Mini Program homepage, users could connect to these “tasks,” one of which was to share the event with their WeChat contacts.
06. AR/VR try-on
Not only is digitally trying on jewelry or shoes fun, but it’s also highly sharable and encourages more time in your WeChat e-commerce store.
Gucci’s Mini Program generates a sharable card with a QR code after users try on sneakers. Pomellato makes it easy to see which items have the AR/VR feature; users can try on preset combinations, and a share button is always accessible.
07. Digital giveaways
Holiday or campaign-themed stickers, red envelope covers, and wallpapers are fantastic ways to add value to your user experience and make lasting emotional connections.
Below are 520 stickers from Chow Sang Sang, an Earth Day wallpaper from Ralph Lauren, and a red envelope cover given away by Burberry during Chinese New Year (it was part of a series designed by up-and-coming artists).
08. Personalized “elves” or avatars
Burberry did a fantastic job with their Bobo deer/sheep/ox over CNY. Users could earn Burberry clothes for their "elf" and level them up to different animals (the top being an ox for the Year of the Ox) through on- and offline interactions. Rimowa created an avatar Mini Program where users could select their background, avatar, and branded accessories. They received a highly sharable and personalized digital card at the end.
Tiffany & Co. used their weekly WeChat broadcast to present four mystery voices "confessing" their 520 love. Readers had to wait till the next week to find out who the celebrities were, which generated engagement on both posts as readers took guesses and reacted to seeing their favorite stars.
10. Customizable digital gifts
From digital cards to paragraphs-long letters, brands use customization to create the ultimate sharable piece. Coach helped their users make personalized new year's posts to ring in 2021, while Pandora encouraged their WeChat followers to express their feelings to their loved ones: in Kenzo's account, followers could create voice-recorded greetings, and Moschino let users customize their greeting card from a selection of images and phrases.
These digital gifts capitalize on the social nature of WeChat, where people naturally go to wish others happy holidays or share their new favorite thing. Plus, Chinese consumers are eager for unique forms of expression, so personalized images and greetings are especially appealing.
11. AI consultations
Some brands have used AI to provide fun and informative consultations in WeChat Mini Programs. Chow Sang Sang’s Promessa Mini Program chats with a user about their personal and relationship styles, then recommends engagement rings. Dior's AI Skin I.D. program uses a photo and just a few questions to create a beautiful, data-visualized report on the user's skin condition. The Mini Program then recommends products based on the results, with links to purchase or request samples.
12. Recommendations sections
Brands can use their Mini Programs to host user-generated recommendation sections. These have RED (i.e. lifestyle app, Xiaohongshu)-type vibes, yet are still brand-controlled. Content from users and bloggers gives shoppers more reason to spend time in the brand's space and interact with others.
Innisfree’s e-commerce Mini Program has a Recommendations tab with content from both influencers and the brand. Articles link to the discussed products, and users can like or favorite. Swatch allows users to create content (via an always-accessible floating bubble) and post it in their Mini Program. People can interact by leaving likes and comments on posts.
13. Video contests
Dyson asked their readers to post a video of themselves using the brand’s hair styling tools with someone they love. While Dyson’s own two videos for the event got under 500 hundred likes and shares, user-created videos generated over 2,000. Like the recommendations sections and comments-based competitions, these video contests create a space for a "two-way conversation" between the brand and its users. Chinese consumers are eager for these kinds of interactions. Plus, video contests capitalize on the popularity of user-generated content.