Benefits of Facebook Live for Hospitals and Health Systems

By The SHSMD Team posted 5 days ago

Facebook Live
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health in Richmond is successfully using Facebook Live to stream interviews, behind-the-scenes tours and other events.

"According to Smart Insights, live streaming generates three times the number of viewers,” said Keith Kaufelt, VCU social media specialist, who also added that it results in 10 times the amount of engagement as pre-recorded video.

Cynthia Schmidt, marketing chief at VCU said the benefits of the platform include:

  1. Improved visibility. Facebook Live is prioritized on the platform, providing an organic method of getting your brand into follower feeds.
  2. Shared content. The marketing team provides the videos to the medical school recruiting office, which uses them as a recruiting tool, as well as to the public relations office. "We've had success multiple times in getting our content either directly placed into earned channels or using it as a means to gain interest from a reporter to follow up on a story," Schmidt said.
  3. Flexibility and speed. With the need to quickly produce content relative to current events, Facebook Live offers an excellent alternative when an edited and polished piece would be prohibitive, Kaufelt said.
  4. Physician training. One hidden benefit of Facebook Live is its use as a tool for gauging the on-camera abilities of clinical experts. For burgeoning physicians, Schmidt said, it is the perfect training ground to help them get used to speaking on camera.
  5. Low barrier to entry. Little equipment or upfront cost is required to produce high-quality Facebook Live content: just a smartphone with the ability to record high definition video and a tripod.

Starting with the Basics
VCU's first live streams were clinician interviews. But rather than the classic "talking head" format, the marketing team filmed doctors in their offices, asking them to keep their offices as is, even if they looked "messy and lived in." This, Kaufelt said, helps "humanize" the expert. Topics built off the news, such as interviewing an infectious disease specialist during the Zika virus outbreak or a traumatic brain injury expert in the fall when football and other sports began.

Today, the staff goes beyond the interview format. For instance, after noticing how viewers engaged with food content, they started streaming cooking videos with nutritionists. The university didn't have a studio kitchen, so they reached out to the local science museum and partnered on content, cross-pollinating audiences.

The marketing team also goes behind the scenes to highlight the hospital's technology, such as a tour of its newly renovated electrophysiology lab and its Center for Human Simulation and Medical Safety. "It's a great way to capitalize on audience curiosity," Kaufelt said.

What's next? "We're watching all the newest developments happening with Facebook Live," Kaufelt said, including live polling to add another opportunity for engagement.

To learn more...

SHSMD members, read the article “Lights, Camera, Action! Going Live with Facebook” published in a recent issue of Spectrum, SHSMD’s newsletter, with monthly articles on hospital marketing, strategy, communications and business development.

Nonmembers, for more content like this, join SHSMD!

This blog features interviews with:

Keith Kaufelt
Social Media Specialist
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Cynthia Schmidt
Chief of Marketing
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia