The Communication Method of Choice in China – We Chat

The importance of WeChat in China

WeChat is a social media platform extensively used by almost everyone now in China, young and old Email, phone calls and texting are nows things of the past  Contact and replies through WeChat is invariably immediate

You can connect and communicate with people by text, voice message, videos, pictures and live chat

It can also make all your payments in China, and receive money for you

The Simple guide to getting started

WeChat is very easy to use. Follow these straightforward steps to get set up for using the social media platform which everyone across China is using for all their communication requirements.

Below are the basic simple steps to get you started for using for business and personal use.

HOW TO START
Go to the App store and search for WeChat. Download the WeChat free App to your smartphone, or tablet. A phone will be much more flexible to use.
Where you see the WeChat App press ‘GET’.
Click OPEN. Ignore the request to send you notifications. Simply follow the steps to set up your account.

There is easy to follow videos of how to set up WeChat on You Tube if you need any assistance, although the steps are easy to follow.
The best being:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-_nDjmTQP4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVFlW4SH344

You can go to WeChat on http://www.wechat.com/en/download.html
to find the full details and the various advanced features and ways of using the App.

         

How to use WeChat

After setting up - you will see 4 icons along the bottom of the screen:

Chats - this logs your contact history with all those who you connect with, which you can pick up and continue with at any time by text messaging.

Contacts - this shows all your contacts profiles. Their detail, contact number and offers the options of Text messaging, or Free calling by Video or Voice call.

The top right corner of each contact shows three dots. Tapping gives options of how you wish to fix your settings for the contact.

Discover – this area has ‘Moments’ which can be useful for posting day to day photos to your friends. This is a way to visually post a photo album which will go to all contacts unless you’ve altered what you share for each in their settings – in Contacts.
You can share up to nine photos per post. Make a 6 second video (Sight), Take a Photo or Choose from Photos you have stored.
Just click the camera icon in the upper right corner to start.

There is also a Scan to use when you need to scan new contact QR codes - which is the easy way to add all new contacts.
No need for business cards any longer.  Just zap their code.

Me – this holds all your details, profile and settings, plus logs any posts you have made in Moments. Plus your QR code to let others scan you.

The + button at the top right lets you build a ‘group’ from those who have connected, adds new contacts and scans new contacts when you see a QR code.

            


WeChat – HOW TO USE IT

Extensive information of how to use WeChat and all the many functions and diagrams is on www.wechat.com

When on the site, touch the right icon (the circle with 3 dots across the centre) to enter the site and go to FEATURES in the header bar.


The website gives the huge range of actions that WeChat can perform including a ‘Help Center’ where you can enter questions into the Search bar.


The main functions used by people for social or business activities are these:

CHATS
This holds all your contacts as you add them. It is also known as your ‘timeline’ as the last ‘contact’ goes to the top of the list.

On the top right of the page there is a + which allows you to:
1. Make up a Group of your contacts to ‘chat’ with (send messages to whole group).
(They will see each other in the group). You can send a ‘broadcast’ to a group of selected contacts – see ME (see below
2. Add new contacts
3. Scan a QR code of another person to add them

Touching any contact sets you up for contacting them by text or voice message using the box at the bottom of the page.
Write a text message as normal and then SEND at the bottom of the page, or for a voice message touch the ‘volume’ icon on the left hand side, then press the bar at ‘Hold to Talk’, speak your message and it will send automatically when you let go.
When you receive a ‘voice’ message in, the bar will be blank with the length of message at the side. Tap the message bar to listen.

While in CHATS you can add an ‘emotion icon’, or by touching the + pad to the right of the bottom you can:
1. add a photo from your album
2. Take a new photo (Camera)
3. take a short video (Sight)
4. make a video call (like facetime or skype)
5. make a voice call
6. show your location
7. send a note or image from your ‘favourites’ area
8. send a Contact Card of one of your other connections.

When you select a contact in CHAT, there is a ‘head’ icon in the top right hand corner.
Touching it allows you to retain them at the top of your chat timeline instead of moving down (called Sticky on top) and Mute their messages if you don’t’ wish to hear each time they send a message. This is normally for a large group you may have formed.
It also allows you to check or carry out other functions.

CONTACTS
This is the list of your contacts which you use for connecting to by tapping to bring it up.

At the top is an orange box for new friends that are requesting to join you
The green box holds your groups if you have ‘saved’ them from your ‘chats’ once they are formed.
Tags – you can add the name or another recognition name to one of your contacts who uses a symbol or Chinese name.
On the top right there is a ‘head’ icon.

Your WeChat name and QR code will be shown here to use when another wishes to connect to you. Either show your code by touching the small code to enlarge it or give your name. You can search for them by putting in their WeChat name or you can scan them – using the button ‘Scan QR code’ further down the page.

QR code scanning – when you scan the code of a colleague their contact details will automatically be added to your phone. They will come up instantly on your phone and you need to tap ‘follow’ to add them to your list.

Next you can:
1. Invite friends to WeChat – lets you send a message about joing WeChat and its details to your contacts you have on email, Facebook, Twitter etc.
2. Friend Radar – this is a useful tool – not for adding random friends wherever you are – but using at such as a conference, or when doing a presentation to an audience. It lets you find people nearby using real-time location sharing to add many people in a room at the same time.
3. Join Private Group – start or join a private group.

You can also add contacts you have on your mobile phone contact list. This will bring up all those you have on mobile that have a WeChat account.

DISCOVER
This is more of a ‘social’ area of WeChat, not a business function.

‘Moments’ lets you share a ‘moment’ in your day with all your contacts.
Simply touch the ‘camera icon at the top right of the screen to take a photo, a video or choose from your photo album and post instantly.

ME
This shows your own profile and details at the top. Click through to get your name, QR code and other details you set up such as location.

‘My Posts’ is the list of your posts you have sent out.

‘Favorites’ is the list of items you have saved, which you can add to by touching the + at the top. You can re-use each one by touching the top right 3 dots icon on the page and sending, or delete it.

‘Coupons’ lets you store electronic tickets from retailers that offer WeChat coupons. (China)

‘Sticker Gallery’ is for personal social use to interact with others.

‘Settings’ is the whole set up area for you to manage the account.

You can send a message to a group you form of your contacts (known as broadcasting) and they will not be able to see each other, which you do if you send to a group in CHATS. Follow these steps:

1. Log in to ME – Settings – General – Features – Broadcast Messages
2. Tap ‘Send Now’ and then ‘New Broadcast’ at the bottom
3. Select contacts from your list, tap ‘Next’ and write the message you wish to send

You can send as many broadcast messages as you wish but each message must be no more than 5000 characters.

      

KEY POINTS OF HOW TO SPREAD YOUR NETWORK

The Chinese put complete faith of trust in what is termed ‘word of mouth’. In other words, passing information to colleagues by either talking to them directly or passing them some news by personal connection on mobile/social media where their connection is protected, and is not in the public domain.

There are TWO areas in which to start developing your network of followers, which as long as you send out interesting and exciting posts will continue to grow:
1. Make connection with the Chinese that you want to by requesting their WeChat ‘name’ or even easier by scanning their QR code. Keep building your own ‘group’ by adding to it at all opportunities.
2. Send your notices through those with groups of the type of contacts you wish to get into. These are built by certain individuals starting a topic which attracts others to it as they wish to hear about the topic the group is set up for.

The reason why WeChat is so popular with Chinese is because it allows users to have full control of whom they connect with, hence your message receivers are all interested listeners. This is far more comfortable for them than a random email or letter promotion.

It is the ultimate ‘social media’ platform for connecting with Chinese and now, all the Chinese population is using it.

Senior executives at companies throughout China use WeChat for all their communication needs including holding 'virtual' meetings, where they wouldn't even consider going on a computer. It gives you the ability to tap into networks and it will get your information passed round.

In China nothing is stronger than the ‘spoken word’ from people who are trusted by their colleagues, which is accepted as correct and sincere information.