Send in the Clowns: Viral Videos in Healthcare Innovation

by Pooja Majumdar and Alex Fair

Some of our favorite healthcare videos have only dozens of views and they just don’t have the “forward me” attraction of cats wearing silly hats or Borat (Sacha Cohen) here being perpetually weird.  I mean, who really wants to be known as the person who sent around that video about cryogenic treatment of hemorrhoids?  On the other hand, if it is funny and engaging, it will go viral.

On MedStartr and for any mainstream campaign online videos are critical conversation starters.  To help our MedStartrs, here are some tips for getting your project to go viral with a great video:

How to Make Viral Marketing Videos:

  • Be Engaging – Whether it is funny or evocative, you need to move people and get them to love your topic, solution or idea  We don’t share mediocre or merely factual stuff, do we?  Great Example: Tampostat
  • Keep it short – For YouTube this means 1-2 minutes at most.  For something like MedStartr we recommend 5 but people have had good success going as long as 11.
  • Hook them Early and Often – You have 2-7 seconds before people click away and then every 11 seconds you need to not lose their attention.  People don’t have time to hear your life story and won’t care until after you have gotten them interested in your solution to their problem.  Make them laugh out or even annoy them and they are more likely to keep watching and send it on. The Refresh Cards project did this quite well and were well rewarded with a Term sheet four days after going live on MedStartr.
  • Give Viewers Clickable Moments – Identify triggers that will make the targeted audience click on your links, your rewards, and that all important “like” button.  Here is one we really like.
  • Be Sincere – Have a true/believable story as the backdrop. Even a whiff of BS is enough for people to leave your video to play alone and get no traction.  So sad.  Be real. Great Example: Dave Chase’s Avado
  • Don’t be a Wuss – Answer the tough questions head-on and have a clear strategy for your videos.  These questions will occur to people and you should answer them for them.
  • Social Media is a Team Sport – Social media technologies do not make a brand go viral, people make a brand go viral. Reach out to your people, those that use your product and care about it, and ask them to Share Freely for your success. Regina does this beautifully here.
  • Recruit the Stars – Target the SoMe (Social Media) heros you look up to that have great online social media presence. Ask them to try/test drive your product, if they like it they will be the mouthpiece for your product for free.  Fred Trotter got Tim O’Rielly to do this spreading the word to millions of his followers.
  • Be Everywhere – Search your keywords and make sure you are part of every conversation in your area.  Forums, blogs, social media websites such as MySpace and Facebook should be used extensively to get maximum views for the video.
  • Create anticipation by storytelling – Just like a magicians have their “reveal”, you can create anticipation by holding back key information.  Want to learn more about this?  Read on!
  • Be Embedable – Finally in order for the video to be truly viral, make it portable. Allow easy embeds, downloads comments and URL shorteners (e.g. to create twitter-friendly links (this is built in on every MedStartr project, just below the video.)

In our experience, great videos that engage audiences lead to funded projects, sales, and occasionally million dollar buy-outs.  Just ask Regina, Dave, Sarah, Matt, Jason, Kristin Kara, Dave, Mikhail, Erin, Tarenah, and many more finding success on MedStartr.

Your audience craves great content and to be engaged, so have fun with the medium, your customers will thank you with their sharing, purchases and thumbs up.

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