This week, my patient requested a specific procedure. We agreed it should be done, and to demonstrate what would happen to him, I fired up my iPad in the office and showed him a two-minute video of the procedure I created and uploaded to YouTube using free software on my computer.
He was crystal clear on the procedure and prepared for what will happen in a few weeks.
Do you think it builds trust to see a video of the exact procedure you’re about to have while you’re sitting in the exam room with your surgeon? Definitely.
YouTube sends my practice website a large percentage of my best monthly traffic. Last month, the visitors from my YouTube channel stayed on my website longer than most people, and viewed more pages than average.
This makes sense: A person who watches one of my videos is already interested in my information and wants to know more — before they arrive on my website.
If you want to be found by patients, you need to be on YouTube before your local competition figures this out. A YouTube channel is like a mini-website on YouTube where visitors can see all your videos. You can see my Hand and Arm Health channel here.
Here are six components of a successful YouTube channel for your practice.
1. Your own website
Whether you use your practice’s website or a personal site, each video you produce should link back to that location. You can connect videos to your website in many ways:
• In the description section of each video
• On the Channel page, where visitors can pick from all your videos
• In the introduction and throughout the video itself
• By embedding your videos on your own website
2. A profile picture
A professional-looking profile image is reassuring to visitors that the channel is maintained and created by a real person. Most people are suspicious of a doctor who claims to be an expert but doesn’t show what he or she looks like.
Even most iPhone and smartphone cameras take high-resolution pictures. You can spend as much or as little as you want to do this.
I recommend physicians use the same picture across all online media: Facebook, Twitter, website, YouTube, etc.
Most search engine experts believe this may have implications for how Google ranks your pages. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Google can recognize a profile picture across your "web properties." More consistency likely leads to higher rankings.
3. Link to similar YouTube channels
Spend some time using YouTube as a search engine.
Look for YouTube channels with videos on subjects your patients will be interested in. You’ll get ideas for future videos and can subscribe to these channels for updates when new videos are posted.
If you need ideas for what to post on your practice blog or your Facebook page, try posting a simple link to one of these videos and make some comments about it. Agree, disagree, or use it as a springboard to educate your patients on another related topic. You can do this even if you haven’t made any videos yourself.
4. Link to your other social media accounts
It’s easy to connect your YouTube channel videos to your Facebook account, Twitter account, and other social media sites.
For example, if you follow a few dozen colleagues or peers within your specialty on Twitter (which I highly recommend), you can share your posted videos with them automatically by linking YouTube and Twitter together.
Every time you create a video, a Tweet is automatically posted, announcing your video’s existence. Your video then reaches hundreds or thousands of peers and/or potential patients if your colleagues share your video with their followers.
5. Tell your viewers what you want them to do
In advertising, this is called a "call to action," or CTA. Never create a video without a message at the end telling your viewer what action to take.
This could be as simple as, "For more information about topic X, visit our website at..."
For a more sophisticated technique, you can tell potential patients to download a free guide on a clinical topic on a certain website. If you have this set up correctly, you can follow up with them over e-mail with even more detailed information.
6. Track your results
YouTube offers free tracking and analytics features built right into your account.
Statistics like viewers per month, number of subscribers to your channel, and where viewers looked at your videos (desktop versus mobile), are calculated for you.
It’s important to track visitor traffic on your website as well. If your most complete educational information is on your own practice website, you’ll want to get people to visit the site after they watch your video.
Google Analytics is a free product that tracks visitors to your website, and can tell you how many visitors came to your website from a site like YouTube.
Use this information to guide future video and article creation.
Since my most popular video is on ganglion cysts, I should probably create more web pages and videos on similar subjects. I wouldn’t know this without the data Google provides.
The best place to get started today
In a previous article I gave you some suggestions for easy video creation methods for your practice.
To start getting comfortable with YouTube, set up a free YouTube account and start searching for and subscribing to channels relevant to your clinical interest.
One thing you’ll quickly realize is that most users are creating mediocre videos with marginally good information. Some or most of these videos have poor quality audio, sloppy video, and are too long.
I found it inspiring to snoop around looking at videos in my specialty. It gave me confidence that I could create some quality educational information without much effort.
Have you tried creating videos for your practice? What barriers have you run into?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Find out more about C. Noel Henley and our other Practice Notes bloggers.