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English>>China Society

Social media helps photographer to keep tabs on clients

(China Daily)    09:19, May 25, 2015

(File Photo)

Ou Mingyu, a 26-year-old wedding photographer from Britain, was constantly gazing at her mobile phone during dinner with friends. She was maintaining contact with clients across the world via WeChat.

New media, including WeChat, one of the most popular instant messaging tools, as well as micro-blogging services, have become Ou's main channels for attracting British customers.

Online appointments have boomed since 2013, when Loverstorage, Ou's employer in London, launched its WeChat account. It received more than 150 orders on the platform last year, she said.

Of these, Chinese clients comprised 70 percent and their numbers are rising.

"Chinese, especially young couples and lovebirds, are more interested in social networks, and the micro blog and WeChat are their only access to contact us," she said.

Bao Wenchao, 27, another Chinese photographer in London, said virtually every Chinese graduate who intends to start a business in the UK has learned to use social media for promotion.

"Like me, some young Chinese jewelry designers I know in London also make use of social media to keep customers in touch and run their business. They are good ways for us to know accurately what our target customers in China demand," Bao said.

"Those of use who work in art-related jobs and create beauty for others need to clarify what products our clients want us to provide and come to agreements on the photography," she said. "In this way, these online platforms are our key bridge and have made a contribution to long-distance communication."

Ou conceded that not all Chinese graduates in the UK use WeChat or micro-blogging services to do business.

"Those opening restaurants in the UK, for example, prefer to promote their business off the network, since they care more about local residents," Ou said.

"But for us, every case is different. Everyone has their own ideas in design and photography, which requires us to make certain of our customers' thinking and ensure they understand us before we make a deal," she said.

As opposed to Chinese clients who mostly make contact and talk via micro blogs and WeChat, British customers regard social media as supplementary and do not rely heavily on them, she said.

"Sometimes, British people don't choose us to take photos, even though they have followed our WeChat and micro blog public account for a long time," she said. "They care more about recommendations from their friends, which to some extent is why Chinese online orders increase quickly."

Life disrupted

To attract more clients overseas, Ou's company advertised on Google and invited photographers who are popular in Britain to forward their photos and social media contacts.

Ou now talks to at least 30 clients on WeChat every day, answering questions and making sure clients' orders are fulfilled.

Unfortunately, she said, this disrupts her life.

"Chinese clients always send WeChat messages as I am sleeping, but to ensure our service quality and to retain more clients, I get up to answer. Although I've made some basic information introducing the company into automatic replies, the phone still rings," she said.

She tries not to give dull responses. "I am improving my writing ability now and trying not to make online posts boring."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Huang Jin)

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