You may be missing an opportunity to tell the hospital brand story by not leveraging digital stories.
|Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay|
In “Time spent per day with digital media vs. traditional media in the U.S. 2011—2020”, June 17, 2020, Statista found that individuals spend, on average, 7.5 hours per day looking at digital media. That is a lot of time per day spent looking at a screen- be it a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. Facebook revealed that over 1 billion users per day use stories. On Instagram, users spend between 24- and 32-minutes watching stories. Marketing Land found from brands using stories, that between 15 to 25 percent of Instagram story viewers will swipe up when links are provided.
I realize that these stats are related to CPG brands. My intent here isn’t to say that the hospital needs to market like a consumer-oriented company but to point out the opportunity of digital vs. traditional media.
The hospital has an engagement problem.
When you consider the amount of time a patient spends on viewing digital media, it will make sense to shift a large percentage of resources from traditional marketing activities. The digital engagement opportunity is to tell the story of the hospital to the patient or potential patient on their terms on their digital platform of choice. You can’t promote the hospital story as well with traditional media.
Additionally, the need is critical for the hospital to lead the community out of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with credible, accurate information to dispel the dangerous and misleading COVID-19 information in the community.
What is a story?
Stories are the storytelling of the hospital brand on social media. You can use video, photos, text, emoticons, and tags to create both long-form and short-form content. They are uploaded from a mobile device, only visible on mobile devices, recorded in vertical format, and usually expire in 24-hours. Though, YouTube stories will last for seven days. The stories themselves are a series of slides. Think PowerPoint but without the overloaded text and content on each slide. The story section of a social media app is in the prime position at the top of the screen, with a circular image displayed in line with a colored circle surrounding the story.
A word of caution. Each app will have its story features such as Geo-filters, GIFs, and time limits. One size does not fit all, so you need to understand the pros and cons of each social media platform. If not already, you may want to consider marketing automation tools for stories that you can use for creating and posting.
The stories will shift automatically from one vertical screen to another when viewing the story and then, at the conclusion, move to the next story to be displayed. The user can, at any time, swipe left to leave the story and move on to the next. Between stories, one usually finds brand advertising with instructions for viewers to swipe up to learn more.
What social media platforms should the hospital use?
|Image by PixelKult from Pixabay|
To get started, if you are not already, I would recommend the most popular story features on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and WhatsApp. Bonus, since Facebook owns Instagram, the story you create on Instagram can be shared to Facebook and Messenger.
Eight best practices to make your stories stand out.
1. Keep it upright. A vertical orientation is a key to an engaging story. Look at the real estate of the window you have to work with and go from there.
2. Start and end with your brand messaging. You can use your logo, brand-relevant hashtags, slogans, and other relevant hashtags. If you are going to have a call to action, place that in the second to last slide.
3. Use high-quality creative elements. How your story looks and feels will make or break it—no clip art. Use images, video, typography, placement, and messaging with thoughtfulness. Remember, you’re telling a story, it needs to be interesting.
4. Create a contrast between your slides. Breaking up the narrative can hold your audience’s attention and keep them engaged—the easiest way to create contrast between sides.
5. Build and Maintain Momentum. Stories are immersive, interactive, and quick. Snappy visual content keeps people engaged. The key here is speed to meet the user’s expectations, not yours.
6. Don’t spam with stickers. It is easy to get carried away, adding stickers thinking it will liven the slides up. Stickers can drive engagement and interest, especially if they are interactive. Use too many stickers, and the user will move along.
7. Create a strong call to action. Don’t be shy about driving further engagement with a strong call to action. The propose here is interaction to drive engagement with the hospital brand. Provide a link for the viewer to engage further.
8. Test and test some more. There is no perfect formula for creating stories. It would be best if you generate ideas, create updates, test them, analyze the data, and improve.
At the end of the day, that random direct mail postcard I just received from a hospital was traditional and quaint, but have little, if any, engagement value. I, like others, are digital natives. It is time the hospital became a digital native as well.