In the past 5 years, WeChat has developed from a communication tool to an all-in-one platform that connects people, services and business, almost every aspect of life in China.
WeChat has influenced life greatly. According to the WeChat Impact Report by Tencent Research, it now has 700 million monthly active users, with 94% of users logging in daily. 55% use WeChat more than 1 hour per day; 32% for longer than 2 hours.
In addition to its social media functions, WeChat has played an increasingly important role for companies in providing information and interacting with users, clients, media, employees, and candidates. There are 2 specific account types catering to this faction:
Official accounts are a public account system for developers, merchants, celebrities, organizations, etc. Registering as an official account enables these users to push feeds to, interact with, and provide services to subscribers through text, images, voice, videos, and rich-media messages. WeChat now has 10 million official accounts, 72% of which are registered through a business entity.
Enterprise Accounts are a mobile service for businesses to establish connections among enterprises and staff, upstream and downstream supply chains, and enterprise IT systems. They are designated for companies, government agencies, schools, hospitals, non-government organizations and other institutions. 70% of enterprise account users use WeChat to increase efficiency for internal management.
WeChat provides pharma companies a cost-effective, user-friendly platform to deploy mobile applications and engage the public, HCPs and employees through combined or separate official accounts and enterprise accounts.
By creating and running a company official WeChat account, pharma companies can basically include all the contents of their traditional website — such as company introduction, history, mission and values, news, product information, etc. — on a mobile app. The menu tabs can be customized. Followers can receive articles or news posted by the official account in their WeChat reading list regularly.
Another function which is popular with pharma companies is recruitment. Some accounts have a recruitment tab in their official WeChat account menu, while some have a separate account for recruitment only – similar to some of the most popular employment websites. Functions vary but commonly include interview management, resume management, open position searching and reviewing, internal referral, campus recruitment, and social recruitment. Candidates can check recruitment information and job opportunities and can send their resume through the app. Recruiters can also contact candidates regarding the status of their interview.
Some companies’ WeChat accounts are specially designed for their products. For example, users can scan the bar code on a products’ box, and add it to their “digital medicine box.” The user can then check information about the product, and even set a reminder to take their medicine. These WeChat accounts often include be relevant product information as well, such as causes of the disease, dos and don’ts, tips on healthy eating, etc. Some accounts have the ability to communicate with users via online chatting or messaging.
Many pharma companies in China opened their WeChat accounts to target HCPs with rich unbranded and branded content. Topics such as what’s new in the therapeutic area and what new medical tools can be applied to help HCPs. for Pharma companies also use WeChat to organize conferences and meetings with HCPs. The app can schedule a meeting, and have HCPs scan a QR code to access the online meeting. Post-meeting surveys and follow-up reports can also be conducted.
Some pharmaceutical companies have opened a WeChat account for their sales representatives. Functions of this type include visit sign-in, visit information recording, order management, client and product information researching, follow-up check, and summary and reporting.
Another type of WeChat account targeting employees is focused on training and assessment. This is very useful for remote employees. Functions include daily online training, assessment, information communication, information center, etc.
WeChat enables pharma companies to extend their employee support to a new and mobile channel. Employees can handle their HR and IT related issues right on their mobile phones. They can communicate with the help desk more easily and flexibly with WeChat’s text messaging, voicing information, video, and photos.