WeChat Search can be used in so many ways, but surprisingly few people bother. Imagine trying to use the internet without Google? WeChat Search is Google for your personal life. Saving you time and allowing you to search for restaurants, hotels or bars for deals based on your current location. For a sales or business development professional search is simply essential. We’ll start from the simplest techniques and get progressively more advanced. We’re going to cover:
- Searching for Official Accounts
- Searching Moments and Group Chats
- Searching We Chat ‘Nearby Places’ or ‘Local Services’ and Getting Deals
- Related Feed Search
Searching for Official Accounts
The current trend to add WeChat accounts is to scan an offline QR code. However, you can also add official accounts by searching for key words or names. Go to ‘contacts’ then select ‘Official Accounts’ and then tap the “+” on the top right of the screen.
If you search for famous company name, will likely bring up several results. The yellow check logo means that this account has been verified by WeChat. The little green shield ‘R’ logo on the right side means that this account has logged their trademark with Tencent also. These are indications that the account is legitimate as sometimes it’s not always clear which account is the right one to follow.
If you search for a really famous global brand such as ‘Nike’ (see screenshot below). You might be thinking why don’t they have any English language account on WeChat. Chances are for big brands that they do, only you can’t see it unless you are using an international version of WeChat i.e. one that is registered using a non (+86) Chinese phone number. Chinese WeChat users cannot see international WeChat accounts (international users can see Chinese ones though). The reasons for this we will delve into in a later post, some of you might be able to work it out for yourselves.
Often the long list of accounts under the same name will contain accounts for regional distributors or sometimes vaguely related businesses trading off the name of the brand. The message ‘1 friends have followed’ is a good sign that this is the account that you want to be following.
Searching Moments and Group Chats
Similar to the Facebook feed, WeChat users spend a lot of time on their Moment’s feed. For WeChat users with large numbers of contacts (we’re looking at you BD and sales people) trying to view all of your moments could easily take up a lot of time. WeChat search allows us to search for key words in our moments. First type a word in the search bar at the top and then scroll down to ‘Moments’. We Chat will give you three of your contact’s most recent moments featuring the key word. Select ‘More Moments’
You can now search through your entire Moments history for that key word. This can be incredibly useful in the following ways:
- Quickly check who has been mentioning your business or brand name.
- Type the name of a bar or restaurant you want to try out to see which of your contacts have been there before. Comment on their post or message them directly to see if it lives up to the hype.
- Type key words related to your industry. If you get any matches, comment on them to generate interest from potential business leads.
This same technique works even better for Group Chats, as let’s face it, absolutely nobody has time to keep up with all their groups. The exact same principles and methods apply, type the terms you want to search for, go to ‘Chat History’
It will give you a clear list of times the search terms have appeared in both personal chats and group chats and selecting them will bring you straight to the appropriate part of the group or personal chat.
Searching We Chat “Nearby Places” or “Local Services” and Getting Deals
This one is big! Tencent invested 20% in Dianping (the Yelp of China) in 2014, allowing for We Chat to take advantage of Dianping’s huge database of small businesses in China. We Chat incorporates Dianping’s database with its “Nearby Places” function (“Local Services” on iOS), located within the Search. Common search terms could be services (massage, restaurant, coffee) or the names of businesses (Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks). From the Contacts’ search, if we search for Subway in Chinese, we can find a subway listing in Nearby Places.
N.B. Searching incorrectly for 赛百威 and not 赛百味 still brings up the appropriate results
Selecting one of the Subway branches reveals all their info and the deals they are offered through Dianping’s Group Buy.
We can directly buy a discount price meal deal from the Subway right now by selecting ‘Coupon’
Hit the big red button to buy! It’s that simple. We can also see what the store looks like.
We can see it’s location
We can even get them to deliver sandwiches to us, again purchasing directly through WeChat
Dianping integration with WeChat search is super convenient for customers and can potentially be a huge sales channel for restaurants. It’s so important to this industry that we plan to address this topic in more detail in a later article.
Searching for a term will also often bring up ‘Related Feeds’. This is the search results from relevant articles posted by WeChat Official Accounts. The amount of information produced by the ecosystem of WeChat Official accounts has been growing exponentially in recent times. Searching this content can be extremely useful is something that we will leave to another post.
WeChat search is an incredibly powerful way for you to filter your entire social life and cut through all the noise to find the key information you need fast. Used well it can seriously improve the productivity of those using WeChat for business (soon to be, if not already, the majority in China). The more you use it, the more you’ll find it indispensable, so get started now.
Join us tomorrow for our next article in the WeChat Essential Tips series where we will be giving away more free info on WeChat. You will be able to show off to your Chinese colleagues and friends using your new expert knowledge of how to use the number 1 app in China. Follow us on WeChat by scanning the QR code to follow our official account.
This article is based mostly on WeChat Android Version 6.2.4