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When you use popular social messaging apps like Facebook, Messenger or WhatsApp, you probably only do so casually or for work purposes. No one can deny the utter convenience that such platforms have in terms of being able to maintain a constant stream of communication with any of your contacts. For all its popularity, though, it might still come as a bit of a surprise once you find out that these kinds of apps could prove to be invaluable in promoting and enhancing healthcare marketing as well.
Challenges Faced by Healthcare Marketing that Underscore the Need to Innovate
It's already a proven fact that healthcare marketing has been slow to adapt to digital marketing, compared to its other counterparts. The blame shouldn't fall entirely on the leaders or organizations of the said field, though, as healthcare is one of the most regulated industries around the world. When it comes to content marketing for healthcare, there is always the innate challenge of having to produce enough content that will be attractive to people. Most of the time, content marketers simply run out of content that's worth sharing.
Based on statistics, one other apparent common error made by healthcare marketers is that they don't make full use of the capabilities of social media. Interestingly, Youtube is an exception in most cases of healthcare marketing, as it is actually a preferred platform by marketers in the said field. That being said, the mere fact that there are deficiencies also readily mean that there are numerous opportunities for development. This could not be made more apparent by one of the most promising platforms in healthcare marketing: social messaging apps.
The Rise of Social Messaging Apps as a Marketing Platform
Any social platform that gains a substantial amount of regular patrons is only ever bound to serve as a good place for marketing. This is why social messaging apps, which have since become key tools in today's media for communication, have unsurprisingly become the much-talked-about next, big platform for healthcare marketing.
Even now, chatbots are already being utilized to answer patients' common questions or to notify the patients of their scheduled appointments or whether it's already time to restock on their prescriptions. These apps can also be used to provide tips on how the patient can recover optimally from his specific condition. One other invaluable feature of a lot of social messaging apps is that they offer plenty of opportunities for storytelling. Snapchat is one particular app that's worth highlighting in this regard. The platform has its own dedicated BEIStories' section where users would be able to view and subscribe to content that has been curated into story collections. Videos can even be integrated seamlessly into these apps.
In short, social messaging apps can offer more besides their conventional messaging functionality. These qualities are what makes them a versatile platform for marketing, even in a field as diverse as healthcare. Additionally, from these examples alone, it's easy to surmise why social messaging apps have become invaluable tools for marketing; they establish patient-doctor bonds that are unprecedentedly stronger than ever It encourages a certain level of intimacy with healthcare providers that lot of patients and patient communities obviously hold in high regard.
Social Messaging Apps Proven to Enhance Patient-Healthcare Provider Relationship
Perhaps, one of the strongest arguments in favor of the integration of social messaging apps in healthcare is the proven fact that communication through these platforms have been proven to improve the standard doctor-patient correspondence. The benefits range from lesser communication barriers to encouraging online interactions.
How are social messaging apps exactly able to provide these advantages? In terms of communication barriers, it's already a given that not a lot of doctors are able to maintain a constant stream of correspondence with their patients. Most of the time, patients would have to leave messages to his receptionist then wait for his reply. This wall is effectively erased by social media apps because it makes it possible to communicate in real-time, even if not face-to-face.
Social messaging apps also aren't limited to texting alone, as it also practically makes it possible for patients and doctors to interact on a face-to-face basis (via video chats). In fact, these kinds of interactions are already being called 'Virtual video consultations., which are only expected to become the norm in the years to come. This is especially true for millennia's, which would undoubtedly become a major target group for marketing as well.
Exciting Possibilities for Marketing
Now that the vital role that social messaging apps has been emphasized, it wouldn't take long for any savvy marketer to see the numerous opportunities for advertising and marketing that such a setting brings about. Even as of this writing, social messaging apps are already being considered as the next frontier in mobile advertising; what more for marketing?
For instance, one recommended way for social messaging apps to be monetized by healthcare providers is by offering patients with the ability to send questions to any physician or other health personnel and asking them to pay a monthly fee for the service. Additionally, just imagine the plethora of ways that you can increase brand awareness through social messaging apps alone. The prospects are limitless, to say the least.
Fundamental Steps Healthcare Marketers Should Take
We can even go so far as to say that social messaging apps could very well signal the start of the revolution in healthcare marketing that the field has badly needed. In the end, it's up to the healthcare marketer to come up with a plan on how he can capitalize on the said opportunities.
The integral step that every healthcare marketer should take, though, is to start developing a solid presence in the popular social messaging apps that are still rapidly growing. Furthermore, you need to find a way to make the most of the way these apps are able to streamline communication. Experts concur that such an aspect would make drip marketing highly amenable; this allows you to embed in your patients' mind that your services are nothing short of valuable and indispensable.
Sathya Kumar is the Founder & CEO at Techindia Infoway Pvt Ltd., Chennai. Techindia is Asia's largest provider of healthcare management solutions for exceptional remote healthcare diagnostics and patient monitoring, with a proven track of high performance for highly regulated healthcare industries and for the patients globally.