Selling 100 cars within 5 minutes- the power of WeChat influencers

Tingyi Chen New WeChat features

100 limited edition MINI Cooper, in value of 30 million RMB, sold on a WeChat influencer account in just 4 minutes.

How did this happen? And what can brands learn from this?

The WeChat Influencer Account

This impressive sale was performed by a fashion focused WeChat Official Account operated by Becky Li (黎贝卡的异想世界). The account has 1.6 million WeChat followers, 90% of them female.

Before this MINI Cooper promotion, Becky already had some successful collaboration with brands, launching products under her name:

  • Rebecca Minkoff, a US accessible-luxury fashion company, worked with Becky to launch a bag last fall.  1,200 limited edition bags were sold within 1 week.

  • Last August, Becky worked with the Forbidden City’s marketing team to design 4 pieces of jewelry, limited to 400 pieces for 600-700 RMB unit price. They were sold out within 20 minutes. Later in November, the Forbidden City worked with Becky again to launch a notebook (66RMB), 10 thousand notebooks were sold out overnight. The publisher later printed another 20 thousand to meet the market demand.

These campaigns built the basis for the Mini Cooper WeChat influencer promotion.

So as a brand, what are some of the techniques you can learn from this campaign?

Before the campaign, build up the excitement

For selling products above 500RMB, you might want to consider to add a preview before the actual launch of the campaign. This way, users can have a chance to do some research before the purchase.

How to build excitement? For this MINI collaboration, the WeChat influencer sent preview messages, twice.

The first message was send around 2 weeks before the actual campaign.

Just a picture of the WeChat influencer and the car to give a sneak peek of the upcoming promotion, and a specific date for followers to get ready. It left readers in suspense, and also encouraged users to write to the Official Account in order to ask for more details.

A week before the promotion, the WeChat influencer sent another post to give more details about the promotion. Users needed to register in order to participate in the final purchase of the car.

Let your customer tell the story

In the second promotion article, the WeChat KOL selected around 10 user comments to “sell” the brand. Comments included the story of a girl who saved money for years to finally buy a MINI Cooper as her first car; a couple took a road trip to Tibet…

Such technique could be used for your own marketing campaign. Telling a story that your customers can really relate to is a great way to market your products. Customers can feel that using the brand is a way to express (and maybe define) their personal value; they can also feel belonging to a certain group.

Selecting comments and including them in your posts will also increase engagement with your account. Users will know that their comments might make them “famous” if they are published

Separate promotion article from review articles

Yes, sneaky native advertising may be the most common way for WeChat influencer to promote products on WeChat (starting with clickbait title, interesting content and smoothly transit into advertising at the end of the article).

However many top WeChat influencers starts to separate promotion content from other articles, and indicate it by writing “advertising” or “group buy” in the article title.

Some review WeChat influencers also disclaim at the end of the article whether the reviews were sponsored (or not) by brands.

How could this help?

For once, a clear segregation between the content and promotion can bring more credibility. Readers know the review posts are not sponsored thus can trust the WeChat influencers’ opinion more. The trust can then convert into intention to purchase when the WeChat influencer does make a recommendation.

Last but not least, be thorough on product description

Less is more, right? Not in China.

One of the major difference between Chinese product descriptions and Western ones is the level of thoroughness. Chinese customers are used to VERY extensive product descriptions. For example, this promotion of the Forbidden City notebook, the WeChat influencer included 28 close-up pictures of the notebook. Such attention to detail is unimaginable for a Western e-commerce description, which usually follows simplicity in its design.

No matter if your selling a notebook or a car, product close-ups are necessary when selling online in China

Want to have a first hand look? Simply take a look at the top-selling products on Tmall in your category.

And for some brands, some Daigou might already be selling your brand on Taobao. Check out how those retailers describe your brand : )

Should you do it?

In the case of Mini Cooper, the brand developed a specific limited edition product for the sole purpose of this campaign. This is a nice marketing coup, but this type of investment is more adapted to large brands.

For most SME companies, you can run a simpler WeChat influencer campaign by promoting one of your new products, or one which hasn’t been promoted yet on the Chinese market.

Keep these metrics in mind:

  • Referral basis: WeChat influencer may charge 25-50% commission for sales on WeChat
  • Ads: a good quality WeChat influencer’s charges can range between 20k – 60k RMB for one campaign.

Conclusion

As often on WeChat, keep in mind that you are using a social network for promotion. It means that the psychological mechanisms driving sales are different from Tmall or JD.com. Building expectations is essential, user engagement is key, as sales are often driven by impulse and scarcity. Sales on WeChat are, more than on any other platform, driven by emotional stimuli.

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