Posted: December 19, 2017

Healthcare options in America are broader than they have ever been, and consumers searching through their options online can be easily overwhelmed. Who can blame them? With millions of providers, confusing websites, and consumers struggling to find the time to sort through it all, it's no wonder they might give your healthcare provider the proverbial swipe left.

Developing an engaging web strategy is critical both to getting consumers' attention fast and to keeping it. Video, especially mobile video, is one of the best tools healthcare marketers have to create fast, lasting, and valuable impressions on prospective healthcare consumers. The recent report Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends from The Content Marketing Institute found that 79% of B2B marketers in North America incorporate video into their marketing strategies and 81% of B2C marketers do.

If you're struggling to figure out how to make a video strategy work for your organization, or even what's appropriate to video and share, there are a variety of approaches you can take, different channels to try, even different lengths of video. Take a look at three different takes on videos and how you can leverage them for your healthcare organization's content strategy.

Live Streaming
It started with Snap Chat and Vine and has spread to Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and countless competitors. Live streaming short and long videos of everything from your dog to your lunch to your healthcare marketing campaign has become wildly popular — and profitable. According to an article by SEO expert Jayson DeMers on Forbes.com, users love the “in-the-moment" feel that live streamed video can convey. It doesn't matter if it is a 6-second video of smiling volunteers at your hospital's blood drive posted on Instagram Stories or a 6-minute stream of the brand new lobby of a hospital, the Content Marketing Institute says video is remarkably flexible. Consumers rate both short and long videos positively, live streamed videos get even better rankings when users can chime in by submitting questions, and video can be easily shared across social media, the group finds. So go for it: pick up your iPhone and video your healthcare organization's next expert round table and stream it on Facebook Live so current and prospective consumers can ask questions.

Explainer Videos
Speaking of asking questions, healthcare consumers understandably have many of them, and educational or “explainer" videos can be fast and effective tools to clear them up. According to Google's Think Insights, 1 in 8 patients reported watching videos on hospital, health insurance, or health information websites and 64% were looking for information about the hospital or healthcare provider specifically. About 56% were looking for information about complicated procedures and treatments. Consider shooting brief Doc Talk videos where one of your healthcare organization's top medical experts explains a condition or healthcare issue that is currently in the news, like the Zika virus or brain cancer. Or film a “how-to" instructive clip to tell consumers how to do simple healthcare tasks, like taking one's blood pressure at home. Searches for “how to" videos on YouTube increased by 70% from 2015 to 2016, Google's Think Insights found.

Video Games
In 2004, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched one of the most comprehensive studies on how companies, supported by grants from the foundation, could develop video and virtual reality games that could be used for health — either to treat patients, encourage general public health, or train medical professionals. The group found, among other things, that games focused on exercise, nutrition, and health finances encouraged everyone to improve their general health.

Numerous studies have shown that different game-like elements can trigger motivational outcomes, and your organization doesn’t need to conduct a decade of research and fund more than 120 grantees in order to incorporate gamification into your consumer content. Consider using video to “gamify” some simple health quizzes for specific patient sets like expectant mothers or teens with chronic conditions. You could award “badges” or expert status for correct answers, then link to community groups or related events on your website.

There's no use denying the powerful impact video content can have on your healthcare marketing efforts, even if rising to the challenge of a new medium seems daunting. The important thing to remember, as with all new channels and tactics, is that you don't have to do everything at once. Start with one type of video — maybe a how-to — and one channel, like Facebook, and as long as you're testing and measuring your results, you'll know how to expand your efforts into new types and channels.

Want more tips and tactics to succeed in healthcare digital marketing? Download our Healthcare Digital Marketing Toolkit.