Within six days of creating a WeChat presence to target Mainland Chinese visitors, the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) has accumulated more than 500 subscribers to qualify as an official account.
While the barriers to opening a corporate account are low, acquiring enough fans so that WeChat’s more than 300 million users could use keyword search within the app would be difficult if a company has not been verified as “official” from the mobile messaging app, Carrie Law, managing director at Ignite Media Group, points out.
The destination marketing firm, which owns travel portal Macau.com as well as travel and lifestyle publications Destination Macau and Tasting Kitchen, was appointed by MGTO to develop a social media campaign targeting young working adults.
Because the tourism board is not on Weibo and having one would require additional resources to engage fans and monitor sentiment on the social network, it chose WeChat to share the latest Macau dining, entertainment, and heritage information targeting visitors during the recent Labour Day (May 1) vacation.
An example of a message sent out to subscribers of the MGTOWX account on the sky jump at Macau Tower.
Typically, companies that are already on Weibo would be able to add a QR code to their brand page for fans to subscribe directly to their WeChat accounts, or those with an in-store presence would be able to do so through posters to acquire more followers.
For Macau Tourism’s acquisition strategy to qualify as an official WeChat account in less than a week, it leveraged Ignite Media’s e-newsletter database and postcards that were mailed to its 150,000 subscriber base.
Ignite also used Facebook to get its close to 184, 500 fans on Macau.com to follow MGTO’s WeChat account.
“If you don’t have a significant amount of followers, you cannot get your message communicated effectively,” Law notes.
She did not disclose the number of WeChat subscribers MGTO currently has except to say that email produces the most sign-up rates and Facebook also drove highly targeted conversions.
While the initial campaign was targeted at Greater China such as Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, its subscribers also came from mobile users in Central China, Singapore, Malaysia, and even France.
The mobile social app has now provided Macau Tourism a platform to find out the type of information its followers are seeking before they travel to the destination, such as their interests in one-day itinerary, food and dining options, and baby products.
The next goal for MGTO is to explore more creative communication messages to earn more intelligence and grow its WeChat community, Law adds.
If brands are considering opening a WeChat account, Law shares the following tips:
- Once you’ve decided on and registered a corporate account name, it can’t be changed.
- Unlike Sina Weibo, WeChat allows simple data mining to acquire more intelligence if your company has a sophisticated IT team.
- Geographic tracking is limited to what users input when they registered their accounts (meaning location-based targeting ability is not available on the mobile app yet).