PHOTOGRAPHY || Using Shadows to Your Advantage

When the sun is shining bright, you usually hear photographers say that it's not optimal lighting, because they feel the sunlight is too harsh, leading to overexposed photos. However, if you are able to learn how to work with light and shadow, you can create some great photos showcasing great contrast. 

For example, take a look at the photo below we took for Pendulum Magazine, it was high hour for sunshine, and outdoors the sunlight would have been much harder to work with, but in this open-air hotel corridor, sunlight worked with the shadows, creating sharp lines that add to the moody feel of the photo. 

Shadows help to create sharp lines and silhouettes against the wall.

Another example would be the photo below, also from The Kinney Hotel in Los Angeles, where the shadows add texture and depth to the photo, enriching the composition. If the sun had been shining from behind our camera lens, the photo would just show white walls, resulting in a much flatter composition.

Shadows add depth to a photo.

So the next time you feel like the lighting is too harsh, try to find opportunities with a combination of indoor and outdoor settings, using shadows to your advantage.

WeChat Brochures for Real Estate Project Marketing

Reality check. Most WeChat users don't like to leave the app, so asking them to click a link that redirects to another browser is the same as committing 'conversion suicide'. 

So what are some innovative ways for real estate developers and marketers to get through to the desired audience to see if they are interested enough to engage in additional 'clicks'?

On the WeChat platform, QR codes are king, so that's the first thing you need to wrap your head around. So how can you use QR codes to track the additional layer of engagement beyond just reading your WeChat advertorial on the platform? 

Choose an action! Do you want them to:

  1. Scan a QR code to add your salesperson on WeChat for sales inquiries?
  2. Scan a QR code to visit your website? Which may be in English and not Chinese? Understand that if you are advertising on a Chinese-only platform, your landing page should be in Chinese. 
  3. Scan a QR code to view a WeChat brochure? We're going to expand on this one. 

WeChat Brochure - Why Real Estate?

Avalon 3 by Wesgroup Properties - WeChat Brochure.

Realtors often make up the majority of the people who attend the project previews and grand openings, taking photos on their phone and the showrooms and distributing these photos to their sales prospects via WeChat. Most realtors are good at selling, and aren't photographers, so the photos wouldn't have the optimal lighting, composition, etc. that you, the developer or the project marketer would have in mind. 

Beautiful lead in pages and mobile optimized, legible writing.

The WeChat Brochure is one of the methods for you to gain back control of your brand on WeChat. 

With a WeChat Brochure, it functions within the WeChat platform, isn't a PDF brochure where readers have to zoom in and out to see the details, and most importantly, allows you to provide WeChat-friendly materials for distribution on the platform.

Legible floor plans with easy-to-read descriptions.

Visitors to your sales events and/or sales centre can scan the QR code to get the WeChat Brochure, and they can then forward this to their clients, friends, colleagues via WeChat message or on their personal newsfeed. 

An efficient and elegant solution for real estate developers to market presale projects and retain control over the brand on WeChat - the #1 Chinese social media platform. 

How It Works

To see how a WeChat Brochure looks, simply scan either one of the QR codes below using the built-in QR code scanner in the WeChat mobile app to view brochures for Avalon 3 by Wesgroup and Polaris by Transca Development.

Readers can then share this brochure on WeChat in private chat groups, messages, and on their personal newsfeed to help promote your brand on WeChat.

What to Include in Your WeChat Brochure

So what should be included in a WeChat Brochure? We recommend the following elements for a WeChat brochure.

  • Company / Developer background - brief paragraph
  • Architect Bio
  • Interior Design Firm - brief paragraph
  • Feature floor plans - Chinese investors like to see one bedroom, one bedroom + den, and at most 2 bedrooms because beyond that it's harder for them to rent out. 
  • Starting prices - the numbers
  • Ways to contact your sales team - insert the QR code for your Chinese sales personnel so they can scan and get in touch.

Beautiful integration of showroom photos and renderings, making the most of your visual assets.

Understanding How The Chinese Use WeChat

"I want to drive them to our landing page so they can register for our project updates."

This is one of the most common marketing objectives we have to clients achieve, and on the WeChat platform, the ecosystem is built differently, and how users use the platform doesn't necessarily align with the goals we are familiar with in western online and social media marketing. 

Catalyst Agents - Vancouver WeChat Agency - Understanding How the Chinese Use WeChat


WeChat users like to stay in the app, and the stats show it. Of the over 1.6 billion registered accounts for WeChat, 902 are daily active users, 34.6% of users spend a whopping 4+ hours on the app every day! This has increased significantly from the previous year's 17.2% of people spending 4+ hours on the app, meaning WeChat has built a successful ecosystem where the user is reliant on it for news, online messaging, and even daily errands such as banking and movie tickets purchases. 


The good news is YES you can track conversions from WeChat by inserting URL links using QR codes so users can scan to visit your website, You can also insert a url address into the WeChat article's "read more" link to take them to your landing page or website. 

The bad news is NO, most of the readers are highly unlikely to leave the WeChat app. Phones make it easy enough for them to tap on the last app they used on the top left to take them back to the app while your page is loading. It is also unlikely for them to fill in a registration form if they do end up loading your website. The reason is because most of the communications for the Chinese take place of WeChat or other messenger apps like QQ - rarely do they use email as a form of communication. 


The process we have seen for WeChat users is that they will read your article, and if they find it interesting they will share the article on their personal newsfeed, much like how Facebook users share on their newsfeed, or they will send it to specific friends in their contact list via a private chat. If you get lucky, they may share it in a private chat group, which can sometimes house up to 300+ members. 

For the over 50 real estate presale projects we have marketed on WeChat, the user will read the article on WeChat, and if they want more information, they will send a message to their realtor, asking them to provide information. Most Chinese investors, if they are active in the market, will have a representing realtor, collecting information on the latest presale projects on their behalf. The exchange of information, from floor plans, to starting prices and photos of the brochure the realtor picks up from your sales centre, will be sent through WeChat, where the investor evaluates their interest. 

The key learning and takeaway is that WeChat users operate differently from users on western social media, who are used to clicking "Learn More" on an ad and being taken to a registration page where they enter in their email and receive more information via that channel. 

A more tailored information distribution process is needed for WeChat, and our team has the answers. As your cultural advisor, let us help you navigate the WeChat platform to bring success to your new product, service or brand. 

Online Marketing Campaign Follow Up ran a marketing campaign. Now what?

Clients tend to get supremely excited about a campaign idea, with their minds set on generating more followers because those numbers matter. Engagement, while an easy concept to understand once explained, is still not a focus because it's not as blatantly advertised on their profiles as follower numbers. 

Catalyst Agents - Online Marketing Campaign Follow Up

So what happens is the marketing campaign will achieve new followers on the select platform, without much thought into the follow up content. Basically, how do we keep these new followers engaged? How do we stay interesting beyond running a giveaway campaign?

These questions are not receiving as much attention as they should be, because building a loyal and engaged following on social media requires that you STAY INTERESTING. If the only time you are interesting is when you are giving away free stuff, then your brand is in trouble.

Here are a few of MANY options you can explore to follow up with new followers, subscribers, etc. 

  1. If you ran a campaign to get more email subscribers, segment these subscribers out into a new list and design a dedicated 'welcome newsletter' to them. It's important to make new followers feel special. You can also take this opportunity to update your existing mailing list on the growth of your subscriber community. People like to know they are part of a growing group - it shows they've chosen to be a part of a 'cool' community.
  2. If you ran an Instagram campaign to get more followers, and if you hit your growth goal, craft a post to share the joy with your community. "10K Followers! Thank you for your continued support!" 
  3. Plan your follow up content ahead of time. If you run a giveaway on Instagram and it's to give out 3 Instax Minis, then you might want to do a week of Instax photo posts for the week after to celebrate the successful collaboration. Again, make the follow up content interesting and relevant to your target audience from the campaign. You gave them a reason to click 'follow', now you need to work to keep them engaged.

Running a campaign and not having a follow up plan in mind is a huge waste of money and sadly, it happens much more often than you'd think. 

Need help planning an integrated marketing campaign? Strategists on our team are able to help. Send us a note using our contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours. 

Segmenting Customer Follow Up Efforts for Marketing Success

Let's say you are the developer for a presale condo high rise out in Burnaby. Would it make sense for you to send the same email to your investors and to your first time home buyers? 

These two groups are purchasing for different reasons, namely one is to see a return and the other is to have a roof over their heads before they upsize to the next home as their move on to the next phase in life (addition of new family members etc.). 

How can you use this information, which is supposedly gathered when interested buyers register on your website, to plan for long term marketing efforts? 

Segmenting Customer follow Up Efforts for Marketing Success

For Investors

Past the basic project announcement to state the product you are offering, ie. "1-3 bedroom homes in the heart of Vancouver", you need to split out your investor segment and target them with relevant emails. Investors are likely to look at one-bedroom homes they can purchase and rent out to young professionals for passive rental income, or to sell upon completion of the project. So what would be interesting emailer topics for this group? 

  1. Feature floor plans for 1 bedroom homes
  2. Market appreciation statistics for the surrounding area and planned city developments for the next 3 years (leading up to the project's completion date) that will bump up the value of their property. 

For First Time Home Buyers

We would also do a cross-section of the marital status data to see which of the first time home buyers are single or married. If they are single at the time they purchase their property, you can reach out to this group for upcoming projects with messaging tailored for upsizers. Your featured floor plans in the emailers would be 2 bedrooms and up. This would be relevant to the majority of this target audience segment, translating into more quality leads for your sales team to convert into sales. 

Currently, it seems the real estate market follows a retail business model where they view their online communications as a hook to bring people into the sales centre. However, with the amount of online white noise right now and over 20 projects in the market offering pretty much the same thing, how do you provide value-add outreach with your online communication efforts? Segmenting your interested buyers and tailoring the marketing message to them will help them make the next step to get in touch. 

Looking for help to create a tailored and segmented campaign to drive prospects to take action? Send us a message using our contact form to see how we can help promote your brand!

WeChat's 'Top Stories' Function - What Articles Make The List?

Many of us who are familiar with the various functions on english social media know that 'discovery' within an app is a huge factor in keeping users within the app - the more interesting things they can find to do within the app, the longer time they are going to spend there and the better the numbers look for the company.

Catalyst Agents WeChat Top Stories Function

WeChat on the other hand, has managed to integrate in daily NEEDS into the app, such as paying for bills, buying train tickets, splitting dinner bills with friends, banking, to ensure their users spend the majority of their time on the app. In fact, with all the practical functionalities within WeChat, users don't really need any other apps. 

Now, WeChat has added a function (for overseas users this is a recent addition), called 'Top Stories', where you can view the latest hit stories on WeChat. There are several categories of articles that make it into this feed: Stories your friends are reading, stories from WeChat accounts you subscribe to that are popular, and other popular WeChat articles that you may not be following but is popular in the WeChat sphere. 

So, in order for you to get your WeChat account's article to show on the Top Stories newsfeed, the article can be:

1/ popular amongst your friends on WeChat - WeChat assumes you want to read what your friends are reading

2/ popular on WeChat subscription accounts that you already follow - WeChat assumes if you follow the account you are interested in what's popular on those channels

3/ popular on the general public WeChat network - WeChat assumes you want to know what's trending overall on the WeChat platform, much like how Twitter will show you a list of hashtags that are trending

If you have your own WeChat account, make sure to encourage your friends and colleagues to read the articles you post to boost it in the Top Stories Feed!