As healthcare costs steadily increase, consumers are looking for affordable and creative ways to manage their health. With the recent rollout of a host of health and wellness features, social media platforms such as Snapchat are ushering in a new era of preventative healthcare. This is of importance as new research has found that an increased use of social media is often related to more feelings of loneliness and depression.
To help combat this, smartphones have implemented time tracking controls to let users know how many hours are spent on social media apps. And, as another preventative measure, social media platforms are finding innovative ways to give users key information about mental health and wellness. With the late 2019 rollout of Facebook’s new Preventative Health Tool, users were able to receive real-time checkup reminder notifications, connect with local, low-cost medical services. However, Snapchat’s mental health initiative will provide its 186 million users with access to expert mental health resources. This new feature called “Here For You” is integrated into Snapchat’s search bar and is programmed to spot patterns in a user’s search words. When mental health-related keywords such as depression, anxiety, and suicide are entered in and searched for, Snapchat will prioritize and display resources, content, and videos from mental health and wellness experts. For example, if a user searched “anxiety”, the search results may include “Chill Pill”, a show hosted by doctors about ways to effectively manage anxiety.
Snapchat is one of the first platforms to focus on improving the mental health of its users, but it is not the only one to introduce a new healthcare feature. In June 2019, Pinterest launched a similar program geared toward enhancing its users’ emotional wellness by displaying positive or empowering content related to certain keywords. With the growing focus on helping consumers leave healthier lives, other social media platforms are likely to follow suit and create new health features.
What does this mean for health and wellness companies?
As social media has become such an integral part of how consumers connect with each other, the addition of a health feature into the social media experience opens a new door of opportunity. For innovative health and wellness companies, strategically positioning health content on Facebook, Snapchat and/or Pinterest can be a creative way to better attract and engage a wide range of target audiences. The key for health brands will be in how well they are able to design relevant and easily consumable content, with highly-searched health-related keywords, in order to place high on the new social media search pages.
The popularity of Snapchat’s health feature is yet to be determined, however, health and wellness companies that plan ahead for the future will be able to carve out a competitive advantage over the market.