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There are also additional features within WeChat if you are a mainland Chinese user or own a registered business. Note that there are also some companies online who offer to help with activating these features for foreign companies – however, they charge significant fees and we are unable to provide any specific recommendations as we have not used them ourselves (since our ESL program already partners with a registered Chinese company). We are including some basic information on how we use these tools in case you do decide to pursue these options or they open up to foreigners in the future.

WeChat video channels

WeChat video channels is a TikTok style system within the WeChat app. Compared to posting videos on your WeChat moments it has a number of advantages:

  • Videos are shared publicly and show comments, likes, shares, etc to all viewers, not just mutual friends.
  • If someone likes a video, it is then shared in the “friends liked” section of their friends’ video feed, thus giving you more organic reach.
  • Users can directly share videos from video channels to their moments or in groups.
  • Users can follow WeChat channel authors without needing to add you directly as a contact – creating the potential for individuals to become influencers and for businesses to gather followers.
  • Users cannot directly download videos from video channels, so you have more control over how they are shared.
  • You can add links to WeChat official account articles under your videos, and also embed video channel videos into your WeChat official account blog posts.

On your video channel, you could post content such as class clips, top English learning tips, videos on international culture, tutor intro videos, short explanations of grammar points or featured vocabulary, etc. Keep videos short and focused, without extended intros etc, as viewers tend to flick through videos relatively quickly and you need to catch their attention.

WeChat official accounts

Businesses (including internationally registered businesses) can create WeChat official accounts in order to have a more professional presence on WeChat. Note that there are application and renewal fees associated with having an official account.

WeChat official accounts essentially allow you to upload blog posts within WeChat, which followers will view within their messages list or “following” section. These blog posts are usually text based but can also include images, videos (embedded from your video channel account), quizzes or polls, simple carousels/ sliders to flick through images, etc.

Similar to video channels, likes and comments are publicly shared at the end of each post and users can also share official account posts on their WeChat moments, in groups or in individual messages to friends. This gives you much more potential to expand your organic reach.

As a small ESL business, your WeChat official account is a great way to share more extended content and add extra value to your followers. Examples of posts our business has had success with include:

  • Articles explaining a key grammar point, including example sentences, a video and a simple multiple choice quiz.
  • Articles working through an example class, based on your curriculum materials and including screenshots of slides and testimonials from your students.
  • “Top five” articles recommending your top five books/ free English learning websites/ Douyin accounts for English learning (keeping relevant to your niche/ target audience).
  • Student of the month articles including a written interview with the parent, pictures of the student in class or studying English, a short video clip from one of their recent lessons or a video from the student, etc. (we awarded students a fun prize such as a free English book and a certificate for being featured in these articles).
  • Speaking competition posts, including a small number of embedded video channel videos from students entering the competition (e.g. we ran a reading challenge where students needed to record a video of themselves reading a short story) and a poll for readers to vote on their favourite (this was a particularly great way of encouraging parents to share the article in order that their child could get more votes).

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