According to Nielsen, the average adult spends more than five hours a day watching video. It’s a captivating medium that lets brands and marketers engage with customers in ways other channels just don’t support. For physicians, dentists, and other healthcare providers, video has become more than just an outlet to market their practice and educate patients. The visual learning aspect is so engaging and effective that surgeons are learning new surgical techniques on YouTube.
A tool once reserved primarily for broadcasters and organizations with massive marketing budgets is now available to virtually anyone. That includes independent healthcare practices and even solo practitioners.
Thanks to the proliferation of free and widely accessible platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, it doesn’t take much for physician practices to start producing some powerful video content. Once you have a few basic pieces of equipment, an engaging physician or provider, and an interesting topic, you’ll be ready to roll (the camera, that is).
Video is an incredibly powerful medium for sharing medical information and stories. It allows any provider or practice to connect with current and prospective patients in personal ways. It empowers every patient to see and hear from healthcare experts, on the topics that mean most to them.
In the world of social media, nearly every channel or platform reports higher engagement, and greater reach, for posts that incorporate video content. According to Social Media Today, video marketing “remains the best performing digital content type, driving more views, more engagement and more response than any other social posting option.”
With video, viewers can feel like they’re getting to know your practice. They can see your office, hear from your clinicians, and maybe even get a peek “behind the scenes,” all from the comfort of home. You can answer patients’ frequently asked health-related questions in interesting ways. You can supplement your more common types of office visits by sharing important education and information (which can also be a time-saver for busy providers.) Video also allows you to utilize visuals that just won’t translate well into website copy or a blog post.
Most important, the use of digital video gives you another opportunity, and another communication channel, to reach out to your patients in between visits. Feature your videos on social media posts (we highly recommend doing this on Facebook). Include links to your videos within patient emails. Embed a practice welcome video or one with vital, timely information, right on your website homepage. By using video to expand and extend your connection to patients, you’re gradually strengthening the patient-provider relationship. In the long term, you’re building up your brand and supporting an overall patient retention strategy.
For those not yet video savvy, we recently shared an in-depth blog post on how video can help expand the reach of your practice’s brand and message. In that post, we cover some powerful stats (did you know YouTube reaches more US adults than all the cable networks combined?!), and the types of video content that work best for healthcare practices.
If you’re starting to produce videos, or are ready to begin, here are some expert tips to help you get rolling.
1. Use the right tools.
No one wants to watch a shaky video with poor image quality and a lack of proper lighting. Whether you use a video camera or a phone, be sure to capture as great an image and sound quality as possible. To accomplish this, you’ll need a tripod, some basic lighting, a shotgun or boom mic, and the editing software of your choice. For videos that demand a little extra creative attention, you can always choose to work with one of the many talented video producers out there. Just search on LinkedIn for freelance video producers in your area, and you’re sure to find some great professionals.
2. Make it interesting for your audience.
When determining the content for your videos, think like a patient. Try to address the questions and concerns you hear most from them, or that they’re likely to have. Speak to the camera in easy-to-understand language. Offer helpful anecdotes and insert your personality. If you have the tools, use graphics and onscreen text for better visual appeal and recall.
3. Stay short and to the point.
While there are plenty of hours-long videos out there, remember that the majority of Americans have a short attention span. If your video topic requires a lengthy explanation, that’s okay — just remember to follow tip #2 to keep patients watching.
The length of your video should also depend on where you plan to post the final product. For example, research confirms that videos make for social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram should stay under 30 seconds, with optimal length varying. On LinkedIn, longer viewing times are expected. YouTube video lengths are all over the place, from a 1-minute healthcare tips video to a 20-minute patient encounter. What’s most important is for viewers to watch your video all the way through, so do your best to be as succinct as possible for the highest completion rates.
4. Close with a call to action.
Producing videos can be time-consuming. It’s important to remember to bring the effort back to the business. Conclude your videos with a reminder to schedule an appointment that relates to your content. In some cases, you may just want to encourage viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel, blog or email list. Either way, you’re keeping patients engaged and educated — both of which are good for long-term practice growth.
With YouTube the second largest search engine behind Google, it’s important to establish a dedicated channel on the platform, so patients searching for the topics you’re covering can discover and watch your videos. This can be particularly helpful for providers or surgeons who offer highly specialized services or procedures. It can also help connect your practice with patients from across your region — and the world — seeking the niche services you provide or your unique insights and expertise.
To increase the impact and impressions for each of your videos, be sure to post them to your practice website and social media channels, and include them in email marketing or patient engagement campaigns. This will help you maximize the time and effort spent to put the videos together, and will broaden the reach of your message. Happy filming!
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