Yes, WeChat is Important for Recruitment in China. But How Do I Start?
The Chinese Ministry of Education reports that more than half a million Chinese students (523,700 to be precise) went to a foreign country to study in 2015. The desire to study abroad is strong, but that doesn’t mean a school or institution can successfully get Chinese students without active effort. Although travelling to China or working with a Chinese agency can be a good way to drive applications, those methods alone are insufficient on their own. If you are working in international education, especially in recruitment, it is necessary to use a comprehensive approach.
Similarly to how having a Facebook page in the US is necessary although not sufficient, social media presence in China is essential. It is important to have a targeted approach to avoid wasted effort or failing to reach the intended audience. Because using Facebook is out of the picture, (due to obvious reasons) WeChat takes its place as the essential social media tool. As the most popular App and social media platform in China, WeChat is your gateway to building an interactive Chinese student community.
What is WeChat and Why WeChat?
WeChat is a cross-platform instant messaging app for mobile devices. Its function and logo might mislead international recruiters to think it’s just another messaging app like WhatsApp, but it’s so much more.
As of May 2016, WeChat has 700 million active users, among which 20% are students. What WeChat has done right is that it has integrated messaging, social sharing, file transfers, online gaming, shopping, and even paying your water bill. Bloomberg brilliantly summed up this WeChat phenomenon in one word – STICKY. This means, if you really want to “stick” to someone, a junior at Beijing No.4 High School for instance, you'd better add him or her on WeChat; if you really want to make an impact among Chinese students, create an official account; just like a Facebook page.
Like Facebook, WeChat also has a “wall” function, called WeChat Moments. Moments is the social sharing platform where you can see posts of your friends and pages you are following. You can also post status, pictures, blogs and videos.
This is a key feature for it allows you to speak directly to your audience. Got some great pictures of international student orientation? Share them on WeChat and wait for “like”s and comments from prospective students to flood in. Want to introduce a new summer program to Chinese kids? Write a post and link a interest form in it. Because WeChat is so “sticky”, all your target students will see your updates.
To actually make this happen, you will need at least a personal WeChat account or even better, an official account for your institution. Here are the concrete steps you can take to get your WeChat journey started.
Side note: mastering the “QR” code will definitely impress Chinese students.
The above steps are for you to master your own WeChat account. If you want to reach to a wider audience, which you should, make sure you open an official account for your institution.
WeChat is just an app, but once mastered can become a powerful marketing and community outreach tool. Setting up an official account can be challenging, mainly because the setup website is all in Chinese. However, there are social media marketing services where you can get everything done without hiring a translator for your marketing department.
vFor More tips and details regarding Wechat account management services, contact Summer Tan at Sunrise by email(firstname.lastname@example.org).