How WeChat can make you a better Facebook marketer

Thomas Graziani New WeChat features

WeChat marketing is essential for any brand that operates in China. But marketing on Facebook Messenger is just starting to become a hot topic. More and more marketers are seeing Messenger as a better communication channel than email marketing. Some marketers reports impressive results with Messenger marketing: open rates above 90% and click through rates above 50%.

If you are targeting users outside China, how can you apply the knowledge you acquired from WeChat to Facebook?

Messenger Bots: just like WeChat accounts?

The first thing to notice between Messenger bots and WeChat Official Accounts is that they look the same. They all:

  • Appear in the “Chat” feed
  • Leverage a traditional chat interface
  • Have a bottom-menu to access web pages or automated answers

In terms of messaging rights, Messenger bots are a mix of Subscription and Service accounts:

  • Like service accounts, they appear in the main chat feed
  • Like subscription accounts, they can send only 1 push notification per day
  • They also get a 48 hours window after the user follows/interacts with the account during which they can send a unlimited number of promotional messages
  • Outside this window, push notifications can be only information, not promotion

There are also similarities in the way users are engaged through Messenger and WeChat.

A maturing marketing ecosystem

It’s no surprise that as Chat Bots appeared, marketing solutions also emerged.

Facebook chat bots have less limitations than WeChat accounts in terms of broadcast messaging. So more complex marketing tools emerged quickly which are already doing more than most WeChat CRM.

The most advanced tool on the market so far, ManyChat, enables already:

  • Automated answers
  • Complex answer decision trees (adapt next question based on previous answer)
  • Drip sequences (sending a sequence of N messages every day after a user starts following your bot)
  • Live chat
  • Targeted and scheduled broadcast messages
  • Menu management, etc.

By using such tools, you can easily engage your followers as soon as they follow your bot, and quickly qualify them are relevant leads.

This is to a large extent similar to the early-days automated answers and push notifications on WeChat, with additional super-powers as the Messenger notifications can be customized down to the user level (just like emails).

That is however where similarities end. Because the key of marketing is acquisition of followers, and acquisition strategies for Messenger are completely different from WeChat.

No QR codes here

For WeChat accounts, there’s a simple way to add accounts: QR codes. No matter if they’re on a business card, on your products or long-pressed inside another WeChat article, it’s incredibly easy to know how users can add your account.

Outside China, QR codes are non existent. Just last April, during Facebook annual developer conference (F8), parametric codes were heavily promoted (Facebook gave away gift to every single developer who scanned a test code…). But a realistic assessment of users habits makes it hard to believe QR codes are going to gain much traction outside China

So, if QR codes aren’t an option, what are the ways to grow your Messenger following?

How to gain Messenger followers

#1. Buttons & popups

The most simple way to ask users to opt-in is to use the “Plugins” offered by Facebook. These are simple buttons such as “Send message to messenger” or checkboxes giving permission to message users.

You can integrate these tools directly from the Facebook API, or use some embeddable call to action from third parties (ManyChat for instance offers “growth tools” enabling to display these popups)

#2. Advertising

Facebook enables to generate new Messenger followers by advertising. Adding an opt-in “Send a message” button inside the ad enables to gain a new follower.

Note that this is a 2-clicks opt-in. After clicking the “Send a message” button, users will have to click a “Get started” bottom-menu inside the Messenger bot in order to give full messaging permissions

#3. Facebook comments

User comments on an ad or Facebook post can enable the Facebook page to gain the right to message the user. This is an especially useful method as it enables you to gain additional traction from your existing marketing actions (you might already display ads or publish updates on which users comment, therefore generating more Messenger followers)

Below is a test we did on our Facebook page. It received much more comments than our other posts. And because of the higher engagement, Facebook will push it to more viewers.


With extremely high open and click-through rates, Messenger marketing is a golden opportunity today. But it may not last. Marketers familiar with the mechanics of WeChat will easily understand the platform and make the most of this low-hanging fruit.

Want a first consultation about Social Marketing in China? Contact us.