Cross App Messaging for your Medical Business: The Pros and Cons
Gone are the days of scrolling through notifications just to realize you spent two hours responding to comments and not direct messages.
After a few months of trials in select cities and years of confusing users by requiring three standalone apps just to communicate between platforms owned by the same company, Facebook is finally making good on its promise to make cross-platform communication easier.
A rough 2020 for the social media giant is seeing them bounce back by officially rolling out huge updates that will let companies communicate between Instagram and Facebook using one single app: Messenger.
Cue a collective sigh of relief to everyone that is sick and tired of having to track down dozens of notifications at the end of a busy day.
On Facebook’s family of apps alone, people send more than 100 billion messages to their friends and family each day. It’s a big deal for businesses because adding messaging to Instagram will create a 3.3 billion user mega-network that accounts for roughly 43% of the world’s population on one messaging platform.
That’s great and all, but how is this going to help make your practice more efficient and allow you to capitalize on opportunities you may have been missing.
Before we start, here’s a quick list of the new features that are available in the new Instagram Messenger app update:
- Communicate Across Apps: Seamlessly connect with friends and family across Instagram and Messenger by using either app to send messages and join video calls.
- Watch Together: Enjoy watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels (coming soon!), TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call.
- Vanish Mode: Choose a mode where seen messages disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.
- Selfie Stickers: Create a series of boomerang stickers with your selfie to use in conversation.
- Chat Colors: Personalize your chats with fun color gradients.
- Custom Emoji Reactions: Create a shortcut of your favorite emojis to react quickly to messages from friends.
- Forwarding: Easily share great content with up to five friends or groups.
- Replies: Respond directly to a specific message in your chat and keep the conversation flowing.
- Animated Message Effects: Add visual flair to your message with animated send effects.
- Message Controls: Decide who can message you directly, and who can’t message you at all.
- Enhanced Reporting and Blocking Updates: Now you can report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram, and receive proactive blocking suggestions across Instagram and Messenger when you add your accounts in the new Accounts Center.
While there are a slew of new features that enhance Messenger, we’re only focused on the ones (mainly cross-app communication) that matter to your practice.
Let’s take a look at some of the Pros.
CAPTURE LEADS AND FOLLOW-UP IN REAL TIME
Your digital marketing efforts are most likely your patient’s first impression of your business. As our relationship with social platforms has deepened over the years messages, comments, and reviews have become paramount to your digital reputation and ultimately your practice’s success.
Why would a potential patient spend their time and money on a business they know little about when there are hundreds of similar businesses making concerted efforts to show people that they have something unique to offer.
With the new addition of Messenger to Instagram, you can follow up with any questions about your business or products in one space rather than jump from app to app.
As a medical professional there is only so much time that you can dedicate to sitting down at the end of a workday to sort and respond to notifications. So now when Nancy C. in Nebraska wants to know the benefits of your rejuvenating micro-peel and leaves a comment under your Instagram post, you can see it and respond in Messenger. This is a game changer!
Messenger can now provide the in-store experience of speaking to a salesperson with the convenience of shopping online. Respond to inquiries and recommend relevant products and services to build trust in your practice and drive more sales.
This may seem like a repeat of the first Pro, but it can’t be stressed enough: people aren’t looking to be sold, they’re looking to build trust in your company and products.
When a potential patient reaches out to your business that’s a hint that they’re likely further down in the sales funnel than a casual follower. Being able to answer questions quickly, accurately and in a human way can help close sales fast, keeping revenue flowing and customer satisfaction (i.e. trust) at a high level.
DRIVE AWARENESS THROUGH CONVERSATION
Building an experience on Messenger can help get your practice, line of aluminum-free deodorant, or plastic surgery services in front of more people. Whether you’re launching a new device, procedure or skin care product, or driving awareness, conversation creates a meaningful connection with your business.
Not every first conversation will be enough to close a sale with a consumer. A select product or procedure may not be what the patient is looking for, but a positive experience with your brand is always the goal.
It may take months for a customer to come around to buying something from you, but you want to make sure that each step along the way is
SHOW CUSTOMERS THAT YOU CARE
Integrating Messenger into a customer service strategy allows customers to communicate with your business on their terms. No more waiting on hold or keeping website windows open. And the conversation stays in Messenger, an easily accessible spot for questions and re-engagement.
DEEPER AD TARGETING AND NEW AD FORMATS
Nearly every move Facebook makes is with advertisers in mind. The good news? Straight from Facebook:
“Messenger ads work just like ads across other Facebook platforms—we’ll automatically deliver ads to the placement that’s most likely to drive campaign results at the lowest possible cost. The best part? You can use the same creative for Messenger that you’re already using for Facebook and Instagram.”
More users equals more opportunities to capture attention especially when it comes to starting meaningful conversations or retargeting ads. It will also help to cut down time on the creative side by allowing you to use the same creative on both platforms.
OK, these are just a few of the Pros to the new Messenger announcement, now let’s take a look at the Cons.
It’s no secret anymore that Facebook collects huge amounts of data from users with every interaction that they have with the company or any of its many platforms including Instagram and WhatsApp.
People remain wary of Facebook and its interaction capabilities because of these concerns and that’s not going away any time soon.
Plus, after years of facing privacy concerns, Facebook is now firmly in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission, who alleges that the social giant has enjoyed years of unlawful conduct which have lined its pockets.
DON’T FORGET HIPAA
For those practices in the US, you have to make sure that communications, even in Messenger, are private. Only necessary employees should have access to this area of communication and you should definitely remind patients not to share personal information over this or any other platform. When it gets to the point where their private information needs to be shared, they need to be in a secure, encrypted or private setting.
MOST OF THE UPDATES DON’T APPLY TO YOUR BUSINESS
This update across Facebook and Instagram is a powerful, yet subtle change, so much so that you’re only really going to see the advantage if you make the most of it. Selfie Stickers, Watch Together, and Group Chats? Yeah, your office probably isn’t going to mess with that.
You could make an argument for deeper brand integration with Personalized Chat Colors or Custom Emoji Reactions, but most of these just aren’t applicable.
TL;DR. The update to Messenger is a big deal for offices that are looking to stay at the forefront of communication with potential customers about their brand or services. It can shave time on customer service questions and concerns but is such a subtle change that many businesses and clients won’t even notice the difference in how they can interact with companies. For those practices that like to stay ahead of the curve though, this is a huge opportunity to build deeper relationships and hard-earned trust.
If you have any questions or need to discuss Messenger and how it can help your practice further, please reach out. We understand that every website and every practice is unique. Our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or click below to schedule a one-on-one.