Today’s ‘WeChat Essential Tip’, brought to you by China Channel, is the 2nd of 2 articles focused on groups (1st article here ). Today we will introduce the ‘3 golden rules’ for setting up and managing successful WeChat groups’. We will also go into detail on other key aspects including how to turn your group into an ‘Exclusive Club’ and the number 1 surefire way to annoy your group members.
We’ve boiled it down to the 3 Golden Rules of running really successful WeChat groups:
- Have a Clear Purpose for the Group
- Set Expectations and Follow Through on Them
- Provide Value to Those in the Group
As the group leader, it’s your responsibility to guide the group to fulfill it’s purpose; whether that be sending funny stickers between friends or negotiating a tricky deal between two high level executive teams. Know what you group is meant to achieve and ensure that it remains focused on that. Most of the time it’s obvious what a group is for, other times people can be left feeling ‘Why am I here?’ There are a wide variety of group types, which will have very different dynamics. Common ones include:
- Promote an event
- Bring people together around a topic of mutual interest
- Communicate within a team or organization
- Chat among close friends
Always set a clear and appropriate name for the group. Provide occasional reminders of the group’s purpose as new people are added. If you want to set a group up for serious company communication, where you might possibly be sharing sensitive company information.
You might want to consider a setting up an ‘Enterprise Account’ (see picture above) rather than a group. It takes a bit of time and effort to get it going, but in the long term will probably better suit your needs. Enterprise Accounts were previously only available to those able to register one with a business license, but this restriction has been dropped making them available to less formal teams or groups.
Managing WeChat groups is exactly the same as managing groups of people offline. It requires you to set clear expectations of what is and isn’t acceptable. Failure to do so and the members of the group will decide for themselves.
As group leader you will often have to tread the thin line. Too strict and you will kill the vibe and stifle the conversation. Too lax and your group will be full of members sending spam promotions, taking things off topic or making inappropriate or disrespectful comments.
Our China Channel group has just been event spammed!
We’ve all seen the unfortunate situation where two group members clash and the discussion becomes heated. Excellent group leaders must proactively deal with these situations immediately and nip the dispute in the bud. It’s embarrassing for all when two or more members start making personal comments and throwing insults. The image of the group will be tarnished considerably.
Remember only the group leader can kick people out of the group. Actively removing a member is a fairly strong measure and almost certain to offend the person being ejected. Having said this, it is necessary sometimes.
WeChat Exclusive Members Club
The vast majority of groups set up by non Chinese in WeChat are ‘open groups’ i.e. anyone is free to add new people. An alternative would be a ‘closed group’ which is invite only. The group leader must take the time to clearly communicate to new group members the process and conditions under which someone new can be added to the group. These groups will feel much like an ‘Exclusive Club’, the perception of the group’s value will be higher in the member’s minds. This effect will wear off however if we don’t follow the next rule, which is…
The group must contain something of value to the members. Common examples include:
- access to key information (e.g. where is everyone going tonight?)
- interesting and active discussion
- a supportive community ready to share knowledge and experiences around a common interest
- a forum through which your members can make contacts with others in their industry
Without value, being part of the group becomes meaningless.
A common reason for starting a group is to promote an event or venue. As a promoter, the number 1 way to annoy the members of your group (apart from sending a stream of pornographic stickers) is to sell too hard. If all you want to do is blast people with the flyer for your event then that is what ‘broadcast messages’ are for (check our previous article here). Your event’s group should ideally be more about building a community around a common interest rather than hard selling.
To give a concrete example, if your event was a beer tasting, as group leader you could do the following:
- Search through reddit or other online forums and find interesting videos, articles or info-graphics on beer to post on your group
- Set up a group poll ‘What’s your favorite German beer?’ (there are tools to do this on WeChat, we will cover in an article soon)
- Share pictures of your previous events so people can find themselves
- Provide information and facilitate discussion on the best places to buy quality beer online
Join us tomorrow for our next article from the China Channel ‘WeChat Essential Tips’ series. Follow us on WeChat by scanning the QR code to follow our official account.
This article was based mostly on WeChat Android Version 6.2.4