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WECHAT WeChat Developments
DEVELOPMENT Tencent’s “WeChat” – The Rise and Rise of a Private
Tencent’s “WeChat” A Top Tool For O2O
3. Tencent Developments
QQ Circle and Other New Functions of Tencent
QQ Circle Q-Zone Timeline “The same day last year” New Chat Function
Tencent launched the new Q-zone function March 31, “PengYou” launch a new
“Timeline”, allowing users to record their
chat function, which was warmly
“past”, ”present” and ”future” Q-Zones
received. Tencent refute rumors that
lives in a “facebook-esque” timeline.
Clicking on any point of the timeline will let QQ Circle will replace “PengYou” with
you read the stories going on at the time. this function.
March 21, Tencent Experience Center
launch "QQ Circle". The function helps
users group their friends according to
their real life relationships. The number
next to each friend shows how many
mutual friends that you have. Users
can add friends directly, initiate a chat “The same day last year” recently launched
or play session, and view the each in Tencent Weibo. This function tells you
other’s personal information through what you were tweeting about on the
same day last year.
Recently, the launch of “QQ Circle” initiated animated discussion by netizens; a search for “QQ Circle” in Sina Weibo returns 155,878 results. When
talking about the service, QQ Circle users often referred to the functions that help you to group your connections, find people who aren’t in your
immediate circle but know by association. “QQ Circle”, Tencent has also introduced a few other new functions, like Timeline, a new chat function and
a “same day last year” function.
4. WeChat Developments
WeChat Upgrades Attract Over a Million Users in 433 days
WeChat 1.0 WeChat 2.0 WeChat 3.0 WeChat 4.0
Sending and receiving Voice chatting Shake Photo and video exchange
Messages QQ mailing LBS My Album
Between January 2011 and April 2012, Tencent’s WeiXin, or “WeChat” in its English language interface, has undergone frequent upgrades to make
the communication platform more social. From text and voice messaging, to photos and multimedia messaging, to friend finding functions and social
network style profiles, WeChat is rapidly becoming China’s cross-demographic, closed group social network. By “closed” social network, we mean one
that limits profile access to friends and approved contacts. Renren has established itself as the dominant SNS platform in China, following the
Facebook model. However, with a user demographic that’s predominantly drawn from university campuses, the cross-demographic quality of
Facebook has not been effectively replicated in China. WeChat may be the platform to finally achieve this. This is being facilitated by upgrades that
augment natural communication. The “My Album” function for example, allows users to share their personal photos to their friends, rather than
broadcast to Weibo, who can then comment, like the popular smartphone application, “Path”. Central to WeChat though, and hugely significant to
the wider evolution of social media, is that this is a mobile social platform. Psychologically and physically affirming it’s primary function as a
communication aid and after all, isn’t that the defining characteristic of what we consider social?
5. Tencent’s “WeChat” – The Rise and Rise of a Private Social Network
From 0 – 200 Million Users
At the Internet Society of China’s 2012 China Internet Conference, which was held in September, Tencent’s Ma Huateng announced that
WeChat (Weixin 微信) had exceeded 200 million users. Initially launched in January 2011, alongside a host of other instant messaging
clones following in the footsteps of applications like Talkbox, WeChat was a pure mobile messaging application touting the potential to
replace SMS. Through various application upgrades, it’s starting to flex the muscles of its social networking functionality and has evolved
to challenge some of the most popular social networks in China.
10th May 2011 23rd April 2012
2.0 launched, adding 4.0 launched, with Open for brand applications.
voice messaging. upgrades that allow it to
be regarded a legitimate
3rd August 2011 mobile social networking
WeChat 1.0 LBS included. [Link]
WeChat 3.0 tool. [Link] But what’s next for Weixin?
26th January 2011 1st October 2011
WeChat 2.0 – 2.5 WeChat 4.0
Launched for iOS as a
3.0 launched, users can
now shake to meet WeChat 5.0
messaging application. strangers and send random
messages “in a bottle”.
6. Tencent’s “WeChat” – The Rise and Rise of a Private Social Network
The Future and Commercial Application of WeChat
WeChat for 2013 Tencent has lined up more social features for WeChat in 2013. Potentially,
these features can be particularly significant in helping brands to expand WeChat and the Future of
[According to Tencent]
their social awareness through the mobile channel. Commercial Application
• Instant discount information
sent directly to users at
1 specific locations; LBS
marketing at its real-world best.
Multi-media content sharing
• Mobile key opinion leaders;
Blog posts, news articles and have local stars promote your
music shared amongst peers. 2 brand, in the right place, at the
Multi-media content sharing
4 • Fast consumer response unit;
Make these multi-media allowing brands to get
content delivery mechanisms Retweets personal with consumers in
Users can freely share product
more robust. real time, with the support of
information to friends and make
User generated content can push notifications delivering
be retweeted from social content to mobile devices.
circle to social circle.
The big question is how much can brands rely on WeChat to market their
products via mobile, while maintaining consumers’ expected conversion rate?
7. Tencent’s “WeChat” – The Rise and Rise of a Private Social Network
Current Methods of WeChat Marketing
Existing Brand Marketing Examples Via WeChat. WeChat is evolving all the
According to marketing and planning representatives from Tencent, bespoke WeChat marketing products for time, so only time will tell
brands will start to emerge on the market in late fourth quarter this year. Currently, it’s all still at an early stage, of it’s marketing
where brands are left to open official accounts and attempt to engage with users organically. engagement efficacy, but
Some of the more social media savvy brand have already got their feet wet, and here are how they have so far the future looks promising.
promoted themselves through Weixin:
Case 1: Case 2:
Starbucks, Emoticons, Music and QR Codes China Merchants Bank Drift Bottle Messaging
Being a messaging application, WeChat offers a Each time a consumer picks up on of WeChat’s
wide range of emoticons, which are very handy “messages in a bottle” sent out by from China
when a brand want to be more casual and Merchants Bank, the bank makes a donation
personal with their consumers. Naturally to charity.
though, this has to suit the brand.
This is a new case where brands are uplifting
Starbucks encouraged consumers send them
their image through mobile channel,
emoticons expressing their mood at that
highlighting the implications of social media
moment. In return, they received a song that
engagement for corporate social responsibility.
captured that mood.
Whether or not this translated into selling cups In this case the brand is able to react to
of coffee, we don’t know yet. consumer actions in real time.
8. Tencent’s “WeChat” A Top Tool For O2O
WeChat promotes the mobile membership card
How it works…
WeChat’s membership card: Then, follow the And get members’
Customer scan a QR steps to get the discounts while
Offers local discount code while in store. membership card… shopping.
coupons that consumers
can take advantage of
whether shopping in-store
WeChat is connecting
brands with their
customers to form an
like” social network, with
the help of QR codes.
In essence, the traditional membership card rewarded repeat custom with discounts that encouraged shoppers to come back to the store,
feeling they were part of an elite band of preferential consumers. In reality though, a membership card can be inconvenient to remember,
easy to lose and impersonal to use. Your phone though, is always with you and increasingly becoming a personal life tool, set up to serve as
a pocket sized personal assistant. Of course, the mobile phone is an eminently more suitable interface for “Online to Offline” engagement,
or O2O. Not only is it based in real-time experience and real-world impulse, it’s a tool for instant payment and social sharing of
consumption habits that can inspire your peers.
9. Tencent’s “WeChat” A Top Tool For O2O
Advanced, API fuelled functionality
Several companies have already started using the new API ports to power some fairly advanced functionality...
Advanced Shopping Recommendations Location-based personalized services Cross-reference of brand’s CRM system
“Guang”- a public account guide that’s The "Ding Jiudian" ("Book Hotels") account
focused on social shopping, responds to allows users to send their current location Another up and coming example of this
user requests smartly with keyword data to the account through WeChat, for offline to online engagement is being
based text. which they’ll receive a detailed list of explored by Ping An Auto Insurance. It will
nearby hotel recommendations. allow users, those who are current clients
CASE: A user asks for
“Plants for the office”, of Ping An and therefore enrolled in their
so Guang suggests CRM system, to file auto insurance claims
suitable products. If directly through WeChat, incorporating
the user’s not satisfied location based data to record the site of
by this set of the accident, photo and video messaging
to record the details and extent of the
they click “dislike”,
and the system vehicle damage, and contact information
generates alternatives. of all those involved.
WeChat launched small-scale testing of “custom API function calls” for its public platform with a select group of partners.
These new API ports will be used to connect to companies' existing CRM systems, enabling businesses with public-facing accounts
(including media organizations, celebrities, small businesses and app developers) to use these ports to provide their users with an ever
more personalized set of services.
10. Tencent’s “WeChat” A Top Tool For O2O
From Social Marketing to Social CRM
How can brands use WeChat to connect with their target audience?
Brands Target Audience
Suited for service brands
Membership Card Brand Fans
Cross-reference with existing CRM
One-to-one interaction exclusivity and Engagement Potential Customers
real-time communication O2O
& Existing Customers
Location-based services and marketing
Precisely targeted, more efficient marketing Integration
and sales communication
Integrated with existing CRM system to
enhance customer service and loyalty.
WeChat can provide a solution to both the challenge of maintaining a relationship with existing consumers and converting brand
fans to actual customers via a tailored strategy of communication, engagement and integration. Thus, it is not only a marketing
tool but a mechanism that offers improved efficacy in customer service via universal, 020 CRM. The new challenge is tailoring
relevant user experience to provide authentic, effective engagement that augments an existing CRM system.
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