What is WeChat?
WeChat is one form of Chinese social media. According to Intern China,WeChat is the biggest social media platform in China with over 963 million users each month. In my experience, it is used as a cross between Facebook messenger and Twitter.
- Moments: People on WeChat have “Moments” that are publicly posted. They can be pictures, written updates, or videos that are less than 15 seconds.
- Chats: People on WeChat can send private messages, or chats, to others in their address books.
- Other Features: It can also be used to follow businesses, identify people nearby, place calls, or even send money. I don’t personally use it for these features, but they are available.
How do you download WeChat?
WeChat is available in the app store for iPhones or in the Google Play store for Android.
How do you use WeChat?
- Once you have downloaded the app, open it and click “sign up.”
- Select a name. (Some teachers suggest not to use your last name.)
- Choose what region you live in.
- Type your phone number into the field.
- Set a password, and click “sign up.”
How do you find and add contacts?
If you are interested in communicating with your students and their parents, there are two ways that most people let parents know they are on WeChat.
- Feedback: I have a signature that I copy and paste when I send feedback to my regulars or send feedback to a learning partner.
- Screenshot: We know not all parents read our feedback, so another option is to hold your QR code up during class. Please note, VIPKid discourages the use of WeChat, so I prefer not using class time to do this.
If you are interested in communicating with other teachers, I would recommend finding other WeChat users in the Facebook group VIPKid: Using Chinese Social Media.
How do you add a contact in WeChat?
There are two ways you can add a contact.
- Username/Phone Number: From the contacts screen, click the plus sign in the upper right hand corner. Then type in the user’s WeChat ID in the search bar at the top. Please note, this may not be the teacher’s name as it’s displayed! For example, mine is AmeliaBarker (with no space) but it’s displayed as “Amelia Barker.”
- QR Code: From the contacts screen, click the plus sign in the corner. Then choose “Scan QR Code. Scan and then add!
How can you use WeChat to grow your business?
I’ll be honest, I haven’t really tried to use it this way, so I’d love to hear your ideas! Normally, because I’m communicating with existing students, there is less opportunity for this. However, here are two examples that I recently posted that could result in additional business.
Trial Classes: Maybe your regular students are sharing VIPKid with their friends. I recently posted that I was certified in the new Trial 3.0 Plus classes, so they could recommend me to their friends!
Supplementary Classes: If you have new or unique certifications for supplementary classes, let your students know! Maybe that will be the encouragement they need to try them out!
How can you use WeChat to enrich your relationships with your students or their families?
This is where I personally find the most value in WeChat. I only give my ID to regular students. I trust them, and I trust their parents. I have one student who is a very mature 11-year old that I have also added. (She was my very first student.) I have used WeChat to:
- Send additional praise or homework for a student.
- Remind parents to have their student bring their UA homework to class.
- Ask a student or their parents if they are coming to a student no-show. (Even if they say no, you still have to stay until the fireman marks the class as finished.)
- See more about the student’s interests to help choose rewards.
- Find ice breaker questions. (Do you have a cat? — yes because I saw its picture!)
- Share custom rewards or pictures (My favorite!) Check out an example of what I did this last week in this blog post!
I hope you found this overview helpful. If you have suggestions, tips or questions, let me know in the comments. If you would like to see all of the content I’ve posted on WeChat, you can check it out on Pinterest.