WeChat Design Guidelines – Create Engaging Posts & Articles

WeChat Design Guidelines

WeChat design guidelines are sought-after to maximize the impact of a business brand on China’s super-app for everything! Social marketing is a great way to increase your reach organically. 

The China experts at China Gravy take you through a complete tour – from content creation to publication and distribution.

WeChat – A Quick Recap

With more than 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide, WeChat is by far the largest and most popular Chinese social media app. WeChat users value its all-in-one functionality to search, chat, connect, buy, book, order, pay, and more.

The WeChat ecosystem currently looks as follows

  • Instant Messaging
  • WeChat Moments: social feed
  • WeChat News
  • WeChat Search: from official accounts to stickers, and more
  • WeChat Channel: short-videos
  • WeChat Pay
  • Enterprise WeChat: separating work and spare-time activities on WeChat
  • WeChat Mini Programmes: built-in third-party apps providing access to additional brand features used by more than 400 million users every day; mini programs keep users in the WeChat ecosystem including payment; they are sleeker than apps

Take a deep dive into which WeChat account is right for you, depending on which WeChat advertising (banner ads, moments ads, influencer ads) or marketing strategies you are implementing. However, an official WeChat account is required if you plan to promote your brand actively and regularly on the app.

WeChat Design Guidelines

Depending on your brand, target audience, and objective (increase following, advertise a promotion, convert to an offline store, etc.) your creative content may vary. But in general, users in China favor content created with these WeChat design guidelines in mind.

  • Less is more: focus on the essence of your message
  • Use images, but don’t put text ON images
  • Assume people are not reading, but rather scrolling: repeat information, make it obvious, use emojis, highlight text
  • Share your posts in WeChat groups
  • Use QR codes linking to your own WeChat account

Characteristics of the Perfect Post

Generally speaking, an ideal post hits five marks

  1. Interesting/relevant: trending hashtags
  2. Eye-catching
  3. Provocative 
  4. Personalized 
  5. Shareable: QR codes or link to your WeChat account pages in the article (and have a link to your own website/shop in the menu of your WeChat account)

So, what does this mean in practice?

Practical Tips for Reaching a Chinese Audience on WeChat

Now that we’ve explored the general WeChat design guidelines, let us take a look at the most common pitfalls and things to keep in mind when designing content for WeChat, based on several years of our own experience!

  • Focus on excellent user experience: keep it user-centered, easy to understand and navigate
  • Don’t overwhelm users with design
  • Minimize user input
  • Make sure everything works – from the QR code to links and more
  • Design with mobile-first in mind

As you are largely targeting a Chinese audience, keep in mind to create culturally appropriate engaging content. Simply translating English ads likely won’t work very well in the Chinese market. Besides, follow the Chinese calendar and special holidays. Festivities like Singles Day are a huge shopping phenomenon in the Middle Kingdom.

How to Design a Post/Article for WeChat

In order to create and publish posts (articles) on WeChat, you need a WeChat business account. These are then further divided into subscription accounts (engagement focus), service accounts (standard account for foreign companies; otherwise shopping focus), and enterprise accounts (corporate customers, only for Chinese companies). Click here to find out which WeChat account is right for you, and how to register a WeChat business account.

Once you have your WeChat business account, you can get started with creating a post:

The menu on the left offers the following options:

  • Content and interactive
    • Content: graphics, media library, article
    • Interactive: messages, likes, user management, videos
    • Content tool: automatic response, custom menu, hashtag, vote, search
  • Data
  • Advertising
  • Setup and Development

At the top left there’s the messages counter (0), the new followers counter (27), and the total number of followers/users counter (17,191).

In the middle, there is the “new creation” menu with the following options (left to right): graphic message, text message, video message, audio message, image message, and share.

At the bottom, you will find the recent edits.

WeChat design guidelines
Source: WeChat post design

When you click on “create new post”, the interface will look like this and you can basically create an article and format it just like you would format a Word document or WordPress page. It’s pretty straightforward, but the design options are limited.

design guidelines for WeChat
Source: WeChat post design

You may ask yourself now if there is an easier way to create WeChat posts. Let’s take a look!

Using Xiumi to Design WeChat Articles

Alternatively, and to save yourself a lot of headaches, there are a number of third-party design tools like Xiumi to help design a highly appealing WeChat post. These are easy-to-use online tools with lots of templates geared towards the WeChat audience. 

Basically, you can design your own version of HTML + CSS articles on WeChat. Since this is quite technical, apps like Xiumi offer the same functions without having to write code. Besides, WeChat itself only offers very limited formatting and design options. So, for articles that look visually appealing, apps like Xiumi are basically a must if you can’t or don’t code every article layout individually through WeChat.

Xiumi to help design articles and posts for WeChat
Source: https://xiumi.us

At present, Xiumi is only available in Chinese language. The top menu from left to right reads 我的秀米 (my account), 秀米会员 (Xiumi members), 教程培训 (tutorial), 手机版 (mobile version), 企业团队 (business), and 登录 (login).

How to use Xiumi

To get started, first create a new Xiumi account, where you connect your WeChat business account details. You only need an email address, but no Chinese phone number or business registration.

Next, to create a new post, click on 我的秀米. This process is pretty straightforward. Choose from one of many design templates. Then, select an image, and title, and write your copy.

WeChat articles can be considered the equivalent of a blog post on a website. They are not ads per se and have an informative and/or entertaining character. However, WeChat posts will increase your reach, foster community engagement, and boost your SEO.

That’s because the search engine Sogou, Baidu’s largest competitor, which is recently gaining influence, indexes these posts. This makes it easier for your brand to rank higher organically and to get more exposure naturally. Besides, your article will be ranked in WeChat itself.

Source: https://xiumi.us

Next, let’s look at specific methodologies to get more user engagement on WeChat.

Specific Tools & Methods to get more Attention on WeChat

Based on years of our own experience and observing the market and popular brands, these are best-practice methods to grab the attention of Chinese users – who are bombarded with an abundance of ads and input every moment of their lives. So, standing out from the crowd and having that little extra “oomph” will get you the engagement you are looking for:

  • Informative and knowledge-sharing content
  • (Interactive) quizzes are a great way to engage users and encourage sharing 
  • Gamification of content taps into users’ playfulness, e.g. through WeChat Mini Apps, as you can post in HTML, many functions are available that can be integrated into the article for gamification
  • QR codes, an all-time classic, linking to your own WeChat account where you can increase your followers and direct them to your own shop or website
  • Collaborating with influencers
  • Authentic and touching storytelling
  • Share posts in relevant WeChat groups with your personal profile
  • Ask questions to your community, e.g. which product they would like to buy from your brand
  • Keep it fun, light, and entertaining
  • Analyze your own and competitors content on tools like Newrank
  • Cross-promote your content on the most relevant Chinese social media platforms like Weibo

That doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? It’s not, but putting it into practice while hitting all the design marks can be more challenging than it may seem.

The Takeaway

These WeChat design guidelines are helpful if you are promoting your brand in China and on the Middle Kingdom’s favorite app of all times – WeChat. 

Keep in mind five key aspects for designing appealing WeChat articles. Make sure that your post focuses on the essential message, uses images (but no text on the images), and appeals to an audience who scrolls rather than reads (repeat, use emojis, highlight text). Besides, use QR codes linking to your own WeChat account, and share your posts in WeChat groups with your personal profile.

You don’t know how to get started with promoting your brand on WeChat and would like a helping hand? The China experts at China Gravy are here for you. Get your FREE consultation!

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