What Does Chewbacca Mom Have to Do With Your Hospital? 4 Tips for Creating Successful Video Content

Are you one of the nearly 150 million people that have viewed the Chewbacca Mom video? Last Thursday, Texas mom Candace Payne went to Kohl’s to return some clothing. She left with a Chewbacca mask and was so delighted that she decided to post to Facebook Live, the livestreaming function launched by Facebook last August. The video went viral and the rest is history.

What was so compelling about the video and what does it have to do with your hospital? Fresh off this week’s Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit (HMPSS) in Chicago, I couldn’t help but start linking some of my new learnings together with lessons from the success of the Chewbacca Mom video. Inspired by these findings, below are my top four tips for hospitals to develop successful video content:

1) Meet an Emotional Need Healthcare is emotional – it’s life and death. People’s lives are transformed. The Chewbacca Mom video wasn’t emotional…or was it? Payne told Good Morning America, “I had one lady message me and tell me that she has an autistic daughter that hadn’t laughed in two months and she said every time she showed her that video she laughed and laughed.” A 2015 study that was published in Scientific American found that more positive and more emotional content is more likely to be widely shared, as is more useful and interesting content.

2)Be Useful During a HMPSS conference session on the Digital Patient Journey, Brendan Jacobson, Strategic Partnerships Manager at Google, Robert Hamiltonrevealed the findings of Google’s 2016 “Path to Treatment” Study. The Google data confirmed the importance of inspiring and emotional content, but also provided insight into what is considered useful with its top reasons for watching online healthcare content, which included:

Jacobson also shared that there has been a 70% increase in searches for “how to” videos over the past year. No, we don’t want people going to Dr. Google to learn how to perform their own procedures, but it is possible to be a resource for healthcare tips that can be used in the home. Jacobson cited “The Hold” video from Pacific Coast Pediatrics, in which Dr. Robert Hamilton demonstrates the proper hold position to calm a crying baby. By teaching parents everywhere how to address one of their biggest issues, Dr. Hamilton won more than 19 million views and some very grateful fans.

3) Find Your Unique Voice The business of healthcare is serious, but that doesn’t mean that your brand should lack a unique and interesting voice. Take New York-Presbyterian’s “Amazing Things” campaign. While it takes a traditional testimonial approach, it’s real, engaging, and sometimes (like this video featuring patient Eugenia Kaye) downright funny.

4)Live in the Moment Professionally-produced pieces can help to elevate a hospital’s brand, but when it comes to telling patient stories or capturing a heartwarming moment like the widely shared video of the octogenarian piano player couple at Mayo Clinic, high production value simply isn’t necessary. In fact, according to Buzzfeed News, what’s hot in social is the “raw, unfiltered window into the lives of others.” Chewbacca Mom used her smartphone in her car in a Kohl’s parking lot. Was the lighting perfect? No. Was the sound quality top notch? Not really. Did it matter? Not one bit. In fact, studies have shown that people are often less nervous and perform better on live video than in a high-pressure studio environment.

But what about HIPAA? Hospitals do have to create a somewhat controlled environment for livestreaming, which can be shot outside of patient care areas. Look to Mayo Clinic’s #AskTheMayoMom feature as a good example.

At the end of the day, creating good content is about meeting your audience where they already are as a resource to address their unique needs – whether it is for a relatable patient story, how-to tips, or just an infectious Wookiee laugh.

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