Laying the Foundation: Best Practices for Creating a Strong Official Account Description, Welcome Message, and Menu
We admit it, this topic may not be nearly as flashy and exciting as say e-commerce mini programs and HTML5 games but trust us - it is extremely important.
Why’s that? Simply put, if your account has...
- A vague description - Then I have no idea why I should follow it.
- No call to action in the welcome message - I may follow your account, but I probably won’t engage with it within that crucial first 48-hour time frame and may become disinterested.
- An unclear menu layout - I have a hard time finding the service I’m looking for and give up.
Simply put, these three basic components of an Official Account have a significant influence over how users interact with your brand on WeChat.
In this article we’ll explain what these elements are, the format requirements, and most importantly, best practices and mistakes to avoid.
Note: While these tips may be useful for all types of WeChat Official Accounts, here we will be referring specifically to Service Accounts.
Character limit: 4 – 120 Characters
What is it?
The account description is located on the account page underneath the profile picture. It also appears along with the profile picture when a user uses the WeChat Search function to search for the account.
The key thing to know about the account description is that users can see it prior to following the account and it plays a role in helping them decide whether they want to follow your account.
The description should clearly state who your brand is and what the user can get from following this account.
The account description is visible in WeChat Search results (left) and on your brand page (right).
Account descriptions should be different depending on how strong your brand reputation is in China.
If you are new to China, then your description needs to be branding-focused. Who are you and what do you do? What's more, it needs to validate your brand. Why should people care about you?
For well-established brands, the account description should be more explanatory, i.e. what can users get from following this account? This is particularly true of larger brands who may have multiple Official Accounts for different verticals or purposes, for example Nike running vs. Nike soccer.
Format: The most common format is text with hyperlinks, but the welcome message can also be an image, audio message, or video.
Character limit: 300 characters
What is it?
The welcome message is automatically sent to a user after they follow your Official Account. While the first line or two can briefly welcome users to the account and introduce the brand, unlike the account description, the welcome message should be primarily functional, with the main purpose of clearly explaining the account’s features and driving new followers to take action.
The welcome message should tell users the functions or services that the Official Account offers and where to find them. You can also let followers know when and where to get the latest news or product information. For example, letting them know that your mini-program store updates every Tuesday morning.
Users typically interact with your account the most during the 24 hours after they follow it, and the first few messages you send them are more likely to get responses or drive conversion.
This means that you are missing a huge opportunity if your welcome message does not include at least one call to action such as a link to loyalty program registration, an event RSVP landing page, or an online store.
Whether you have one call to action or multiple calls to action depends on your brand and the purpose of the account. For example, if you are a food delivery company you may have only one call to action, to drive users to your mini-program where they can order food.
A clothing company, on the other hand, may have users coming to the account for a variety of reasons and will want to include a call to action for each of those personas, for example links to customer service, newest items, nearby store locator, and their online shop.
Just like you can send out template emails that are customized with the recipient’s name, you can program your welcome messages to greet new followers with their WeChat username. This personalized touch is an easy way to increase engagement.
The welcome message is customized with the follower’s WeChat username.
Your welcome message could come in a variety of formats, it doesn’t have to be just text. A top influencer in the financial industry @叶檀财经 (Ye Tan Finance) greets new users with an audio message. The content is very similar to what would typically appear in a text welcome message; however, the delivery is much more personal and makes the account stand out.
Stand out with an audio welcome message.
And did you know you can send additional messages?! During the first 48 hours after a user follows your account you can send them as many messages as you’d like. Not nearly enough brands take advantage of this.
Following the welcome message, send users an article with your newest products, or share your mini-program. Or you could even set up an automated welcome survey, allowing you to learn more about the customer, tag them based on their interests, and immediately send them the information they are looking for.
Following the welcome message NARS sends new users an article about their newest limited-edition lipstick colors.
Format: Text. A maximum of 3 main menus each with a maximum of 5 sub-menus.
Character limits: Main menus can have up to 4 Chinese characters or 8 letters. The sub-menus can have up to 8 Chinese characters or 16 letters.
The menu can have 3 main menus with up to 5 sub-menus
What is it?
A WeChat Official Account has a customized menu that appears at the bottom of the page and is used to navigate the account the same way one would use the menu on a website. However, unlike a website, an official account menu is restricted to three main menu categories with five sub-menus. Because of these restrictions, brands must think very carefully about what they want to include in the menu, and how to organize the menu in a logical and user-friendly way.
Clicking on a menu item will trigger a response which could come in a wide variety of formats from sending the user text, image, audio, video, or image + text messages, or opening into a website, HTML5 page, or mini-program.
The menu is oftentimes the entrance to the brand’s ecommerce site, allowing followers to purchase products without leaving WeChat. *Note that accounts cannot link to Alibaba properties such as Tmall.
It is difficult to provide all-encompassing best practices for menu creation as menu formats vary largely depending on the industry, business type, and account purpose. For example, cosmetics and luxury brands tend to focus on new product information and introducing hero products, the education industry may focus on courses and online booking, while airlines will provide followers a platform to book tickets online and check flight information.
It may seem like common sense, but the most important elements of a good menu are:
- Useful functions that match the purpose of the account
- Logical layout and clear categorization
Don’t overcomplicate your menu! The WeChat Open Course Official Account features only 3 menus linking to a discussion board mini-program, an online courses mini-program, and a list of all their previous broadcast articles. There are no submenus.
As a Service Account, your main purpose is to provide services to your customers, therefore you want to make sure that your key services are easy and intuitive to find. Again, seems like common sense but it is surprising how many accounts fail to do this. Don’t let yours be one of them!