Last updated on: July 22, 2014
Recently I wrote about WeChat and how it is everything from social network to e-commerce platform. I also talked about ways that WeChat is interesting to a marketer. In this blog post I want to follow up on the marketing aspect of WeChat.
Previously I wrote about the two different types of account that a business enterprise could set up on WeChat. In relation to this, I have received lots of questions asking how to set up a public account and then how to verify the account after it has been set up.
Below is a comprehensive analysis of WeChat public accounts and what you need to do to get yours up and running.
WeChat public platform
If you intend to register a WeChat account for a business or organisation (the WeChat public platform) you will have to provide a Chinese business registration number to allow WeChat to verify your organisation.
A Chinese business registration number comes from businesses that are based in Mainland China and not Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Previously it was possible to obtain a Chinese business registration number from a company based in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, but not any longer.
So, what’s the difference between a personal and organisation account? It’s very similar to Facebook’s personal profile and business page – one is for direct communication, while the other allows users to follow the organisation and get updates with the latest news.
The set up process
To set up a public account on WeChat you have to go through a specific process. First you have to visit the WeChat public account set up page.
Follow the steps below to get up and running:
Complete the first part detailing your basic information. This includes a working email address and a password. After you have sent this off you will get an email asking you to confirm the email address is real.
After you have confirmed the email address you’ll have to fill in your account information. This includes:
- Whether you want a personal or business public account
- Type of organisation (government, media, enterprise etc.)
- Business licence registration number
- Business licence location
- Date of establishment
- Operating period
- Business type (food, clothing, sports etc.)
- Scanned copy of the business licence
- Registered capital
- Organisation code
- ID number
- Passport photo
- Mobile phone number
- Once you have provided all of the information above you can select the type of account that you want: service account or subscription account.
- Finally you check that the account information is correct. Once you confirm this you can get started.
There are some things to note about the set up process:
- To set up a public account on WeChat is free of charge. If you want to authenticate the account then there is a fee (see below).
- You can only set up a public account on a desktop computer. It’s not possible to set up a public account on a mobile phone.
- Once a public account is set up, you can control the account (interact with followers) via desktop. To control the account via a mobile phone you must use a phone running Android OS. You can’t use an iOS device to control a WeChat public account.
Verify a WeChat public account
To verify or authenticate your public account you must submit certain documents to WeChat. These documents include: a copy of the official business licence, the organization code certificate and the corporate information card.
Some things to note before you can verify your account: you must have over 500 followers before you can apply to authenticate your public account. The cost to verify the public account is 300rmb (US$50).
Then you must follow the process below:
- From the account dashboard you have to go to the ‘services’ section
- Here, you have to confirm you want to pay the 300rmb fee
- Agree to the terms and conditions of verification
- Enter the detailed business information
- Submit the relevant documents for your business
- Enter your personal information
- Enter the WeChat public account ID which you can find from the account
- Fill in bank account information to pay the fee and apply for official documents
After this is complete there is one last stage to go through to complete verification of the account:
- You have to select an account title and the reason why you have selected this title
- At this stage you can make a name change to the account. This is the only chance to change the name
- Fill in the invoice information
- Make an online payment
- Now the process is complete – wait for confirmation of the audit of documents
- Wait for account to be verified. There will be a big V on the account to show that it has been verified.
- All screenshots for the verification process are taken from Baidu jingyan
If you have any questions about setting up a public account on WeChat then leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.