This post is the third post of “WeChat Is Maturing”. In the previous post, we explained how WeChat is maturing and gave examples on to drive conversion from other social networks. In this post, we will explain how two foreign founded companies use Chinese social networks to grow their business. 

“Overseas startups often think that when they offer to provide something to Chinese users, they will easily gain traction. There is a Chinese word, jiediqi (接地气). For us this means we should step on the same ground as the Chinese users to better understand Chinese users,” Emmy Teo, CEO of Fashory tells TechNode. “Fashion is elegance, and it’s not about just waiting for users until they come.”

Emmy Teo, CEO of Fashory

The key message Emmy throws for her growth hacking is:

Understand The Context And The Target Audience

“On Weibo, you see the list of hot topics. You know it’s hot because people talk about it. Now a Korean drama called Legend of the Blue Sea starring Jun Ji-hyun and Lee Minho is the hottest topic on Weibo. As for singers, everybody is talking about EXO and Big bang, for example,” Emmy says.

That’s where the opportunity is: people start talking about not just the topic, but also where to buy the things they see. Not only that but brands themselves are eager to point out which of their products was featured by a celebrity or TV show.

Using the pull strategy, Emmy was able to increase traffic and conversions exponentially. Rather than pushing advertisements to an audience she thought may be interested, she waited until they were ready to be pulled by the product or brand.

According to her, there are two kinds of customers: the one who buys on impulse and the other that is driven by demand. Using the pull strategy, retailers can lead demand driven consumers to their WeChat account. Using the push strategy, the managers directly post and recommend their outfit inside the community.

Figure Out How To Best Leverage A Social Network 

“See where you devote your time the most on a social platform, is it personal messages, or public discussion? Then think about where the majority of conversation happens on that platform,” Emmy says. “Then we play with few functions on the platform, to learn which function allows us the most exposure of our brand.”

For example, one might spend more time looking at their private message on Facebook and spend more time looking at the conversation around a topic on Twitter. By comparing the one versus mass exposure and its effectiveness, Emmy found the best fit for her company.

“You need to understand how Chinese use a certain app. Dating apps are not all the same. One app is for hook up, one for same sex hook up, and the other is for a marriage partner hook up. Also, think about women of different stages in their life, what do they want?”

Use Videos To Attract Followers 

Yoli on Huajiao Zhibo

Yoli, an online platform for English learning, uses video materials to get attention from English learners on the Chinese live streaming platforms. Team Yoli posts their daily English live content on Huajiao Zhibo (花椒直播) and Yizhibo (一直播). Yoli’s content creators from New York, London, and Prague stream their life outside of China, telling their stories in English, and answering questions as they go. They get 3,000 to 4,000 views with 17,000 views at its peak. Some of the viewers convert to their customers by registering one on one class with a native speaker on Yoli’s WeChat account.

Yoli on Weibo

“Weibo is filling the top of the funnel for us,” Drew Kirchhoff, co-founder of Yoli told TechNode.

On Weibo (微博) a Chinese microblogging website, team Yoli posts videos that are not necessarily educational, but amusing or insightful enough to be shared on Weibo and WeChat. Yoli plans to connect their TMall store to Weibo in the future so that users can make direct purchases on their premium video class packages. Yoli said that they were profitable from day one. With 200 native English teachers and 1,000 students on their WeChat public account, the Beijing-based company is now going through an angel round.

Image Credit: TechNode

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at