Live Streaming is a massive opportunity for Veterinary Practices to attract, engage and retain clients. In fact, I think that Live Streaming is one of the best marketing activities a practice could use today. Why livestreaming? Livestreaming gives you access to all of your clients and potential clients like never before, not only that live videos are easy to shoot, they don’t require additional post production work (video editing), and they allow you to segment your clients based on interest so that you can serve up more relevant content.
In this post I’m going to give you all the info that you need to start streaming and how to use them as a tool to grow your practice’s client base. Here’s what this post will cover:
- -Which platforms to use, and what the differences are between each
- -How to stream
- -What to stream
- -How often to stream and how long your stream should be
- -Equipment that you should use and need
- -Advanced Equipment Options
- -What to do once you’ve completed your live stream to get the most out of your content
- -How to promote and re-purpose your content
Where should you livestream?
I think that if there is any one trend has become a massively adopted new form of media for people and businesses it would definitely be live streaming. Live Streaming became available for Facebook pages on May 24th 2016 for most businesses in the US and there have been Meerkat and Persicope available as streaming platforms for some time. Now all sporting events, major political events and important events are being live streamed. In fact, according to Politico, 55 million Americans watched the presidential debates on Facebook Live or Periscope VS 80 million traditional network viewers. That number shows that the way people are consuming information and treating their social networks is dramatically shifting.
Right now there are 2 major choices, although Instagram will be adding a live feature to their stories,which are either Facebook Live or Periscope. Which one you should use really comes down to which platform the majority of your clients are on. There are different streaming platforms that allow you to connect both channels like Wirecast, but that is far beyond the technical needs of even advanced veterinary practices. For most veterinary practices that I’ve encountered Facebook Live is the way to go, and unless you have a really large, active and established twitter following for your practice I believe you should focus on Facebook Live.
Facebook has the best targeting options for distributing your ads after. As of today, there is no way for a veterinary practice to pay for their Periscope recording to get views once they stream. You can also use the videos to create segmented lists of viewers to retarget offers to once you have your video created. Unless something changes in the future, I think the clear choice for veterinary practices is to use Facebook Live.
How To “Go Live On Facebook”
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you have admin access to your practice’s Facebook page. If you don’t have access use this helpful article from facebook: Click Here. Once you have access I highly suggest downloading the pages manager on your mobile device. Livestreaming has to be done from a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android Phone, ipod touch or tablet. There are also specific cameras used specifically for livestreaming which we’ll go over in equipment in just a moment, but going live is done easily in a few simple steps.
1)Open pages manager and choose the practice’s Facebook Page
2) Push the publish button directly below the page’s cover photo
3)Check in to your location: This is really important! Having the location check in increases relevance when you go to boost your post. This allows you to create videos that will get views for less than $.01. I have gotten video views for lower than $.005
4)Hit the Live icon: Once this icon it hit it will connect giving you the option to go live. The Go Live button will illuminate blue once a connection is established.
5)Type the description: Make sure that you call out your intended audience and write something that is interesting or intriguing. You have the best clients and topics to talk about so make something people want to see!
6)Hit the go live button. Once you are live you can flip the camera from self facing to forward facing by hitting the arrow button in the top right hand corner. You can add filters, face masks and draw on the stream by hitting the paintbrush icon in the top corner.
7)End The Video: Once you’ve finished hit the end live video button. Once you’ve finished you can save the video the camera if you would to send it, embed it on other channels or use it for anything else.
Live video works best if you have a strong internet connection. Those are the basics of how to actually launch a live video. Facebook has rolled out a desktop live feature for personal profiles, so I’m sure they’ll be rolling this out to pages in the near future. Now that you know how to get live on Facebook, let’s get into what you should be covering.
What Should You Livestream At Your Veterinary Practice?
One of my favorite things about livestreaming is that you can create content on the go that is really relevant and highly engaging. I think this content type is perfectly suited for veterinary practices because almost every person I talk to has trouble creating content because it is too time consuming. If you use video at your practice you probably have a hard time creating consistent content because once you’ve shot the video, the video production is difficult and time consuming as well.
Live video doesn’t have to be perfect or polished. People know that when they see something live, it can be more “real”. Even news anchors make mistakes on live network news broadcasts and this live element gives you and your practice a more real approach. Of course you want to be as prepared as possible, and in being prepared you’ll need to know what you are going to talk about.
Don’t forget your content should ultimately be doing one of three things: generating awareness, causing evaluation or creating conversion. Generating awareness is moving someone from being a complete stranger to being aware of you or your practice. Causing a person to evaluate you is moving someone who is already aware of your practice into consideration of doing business with you. Finally conversion is bringing current clients or new clients into the practice. Content shouldn’t just be entertaining or educational, it should also be used for growing your business. Don’t worry you can do both and we’ll talk about how.
So now that you know what your content should be doing, what should you be streaming? You’re only limited by your creativity. You could live stream FAQs, you could show how easy certain procedures are, you could tour your boarding facilities, you could show the process that takes place when a procedure is done. Going live gives your clients and potential clients a behind the scenes look at how things work. Most clients have no idea what goes into procedures, how many people it takes to run a practice and what you have to work with. Showing your work helps your clients have a greater appreciation and place a higher value on the work that you do.
You should definitely consider what you’re trying to achieve with your posts so here are some ideas broken down for each of the steps Awareness, Evaluation and Conversion. Important note: you need to have permission to film clients and clients pets. In the US people who have a reasonable expectation of privacy need to be notified they are being filmed.
- -Livestream puppies or kittens in the practice that are available for adoption
- -Livestream puppies or kittens who are in for their first exams, explain what goes into the exam
- -Show special equipment or procedures you have that no one else has
- -Interview your doctors or staff about FAQ
- -Stream the practice cat, interesting clients or anything interesting happening in the practice
Awareness streams should be interesting and not highly working on conversion. You are going for engagement and views here so that you can retarget these viewers with offers. You want to get the page like here and you’re going for permission to get their attention.
- -Stream specials that you are having
- -Show streams talking about events that you are having, in person(open houses) or online (webinars)
- -Show before and after of dental work, or during a dental procedure
- -Show clients receiving treatment
- -Live stream client testimonials of your favorite clients
- -Evaluation is where people are going to consider doing business with you and your practice.
Make them feel comfortable, answer questions they might have and remove objection barriers. Maybe if your clients saw how dental work was going on they would understand why their pets need to be sedated. In evaluation you can ask for someone to take action, so make sure that you know what the call to action is going to be and be prepared with it.
- -Talk about deals that you have, think dental month, treatment specials etc
- -When you have low wait times do a quick livestream of the lobby and offer a limited incentive and welcome walk ins within the next period of time.
- -Outline packages, memberships or other prepaid services that your practice has
- -If you have boarding and have vacancy offer specials for pet owners and stream the tour with limited offers with respect to the video
Conversion is where you can really affect the bottom line of your practice. Conversions streams should be mixed in with evaluation and awareness posts that get high engagement. Make sure you have a clear call to action when you have an offer. Be prepared with if you want them to call in, comment on the video or email you. Make every instruction explicit so that it is as easy as possible for the client to complete the offer and you’ll have a higher conversion.
How often and how long should your livestreams be?
There are a few ways to think about this. I would first start off with testing several different live several different topics and objectives to see what works best for your practice and client base. If you find that something works great I would suggest making it a regular scheduled item at your practice. Livestreams work the best when your clients are able to watch, so play around with the times and days of the week that you stream. My guess is that evenings and weekends will have the highest amount of live viewers and engagement.
The length of your stream should be dictated by what you have to say. Don’t shoot for an arbitrary length. Be interesting and if you go for too long you’ll be boring. I will say the longer the stream you have the more viewers you’ll get on the live video. Most people aren’t sitting around waiting for you to go live, so if you can make it past the 5 to 7 minute mark you’ll likely have a lot more live viewers.
You can also set up streams with devices like nest that show streams all the time. This would work great as a pinned post, especially if you have new puppies or kittens or pets available for adoption. Here are some examples of companies who set up livestreams all the time. So once you’re ready to get live you’ll need to know what to use to make the stream as successful as possible, and for that you’ll need a bit of equipment.
Equipment For Your Veterinary Practice’s Livestream
The minimum equipment that you need that will work to start live streaming is an iPhone or an android phone with the Facebook app or Pages Manager app installed. This is definitely enough to get started but I would highly suggest 2 additional items to provide a better quality of livestream. There are 2 components that your live streams provide, audio and video, so to enhance those I would suggest a directional mic, a tripod and a wide angle lense.
Most veterinary practices have small exam rooms usually. If you have ever tried to shoot a video in your practice you’ve probably run into the problem of not being able to fit everything into the shot. That’s where the wide angle lenses come into play. Wide angle lenses for you devices can be bought on amazon, or at your local target or Walmart for as little as $10. If you want something a little nicer that always clips into place I would suggest something like an Olloclip. Tripods for cell phones are also available for great prices at Amazon, Target or Walmart.
Here are the Lenses:
Here are some tripods:
Microphones are something that I absolutely love and nerd out over being a podcaster. As crazy as it sounds, most people don’t watch videos with the sound on. In fact, only about 30-50% will listen to the video if you’re lucky, so mics aren’t the most important thing, but they can really cut down on echo and noisy dogs barking in the background. My favorite directional mic for a great price, $31 is the iRig Cast Mic for smartphones. It is directional so it will cut out extra noises and for the money is great!
Here are some mic options:
That is it for the basics! Don’t use the equipment as an excuse to not get started. The nicer equipment makes great videos look better, but start where you are today. If you have no budget, starting out with a phone all by itself works just fine!
Advanced Livestream Equipment For Your Veterinary Practice
I am a big time equipment nerd, so I love this stuff. This isn’t necessary but it can make you stand out if you’re going to do a consistent volume of streaming. Here are some extra really cool items that can add a huge amount of production value to your live streaming.
Switcher Pro App: You can use this to connect multiple cameras and devices that are on your wifi network. You can also add banners, logos, watermarks and calls to action to your streams. You need a tablet to run this with multiple devices. This essentially works as a control panel to produce professional looking streams. This works good if you have a strong wifi connection.
Wirecast: Desktop software that allows you to control multiple devices, cameras, calls to actions and banners. This lets you enterprise level live video through multiple livestream channels.
DJI Osmo: This is a 4K camera that shoots at 60 FPS and has a stabilization gimbal built into it. The lense is super wide angle so videos shot on this look really clear and professional. Make sure you use an external mic if you use this.
DJI Drone: You can live stream through your DJI Go app. This would work especially well for large animal practices. My friend Cody Creelman is the first person I’ve ever seen livestream a drone and he uses it to tell his practice’s story.
OBS Software: This is a free open source software that allows you to publish desktop videos, or RSS feeds into your Facebook page. This is VERY DIFFICULT TO USE, but it is free.
What To Do Once You’ve Finished Your Video
Once you’ve completed your video you need to get the most out of your content. Once you hit stop live video button it will give you the option to download the footage to your camera roll. I highly suggest that you use this video on your other channels as well like Youtube or certain clips of the video for instagram.
Whenever you can repurpose your content on other platforms so that you’ll be able to get the most benefit out of what you’ve created. You can embed live videos as well. To embed the live video, click the downward arrow in the top left hand corner of the video, hit the more options button and click the word embed. Copy and paste the iFrame into your blog post and you’ve got a video that you can now use. This would work especially well with FAQ type videos, video tours and other content that is built around a specific topic.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Videos
I mentioned above that your clients aren’t sitting around waiting and hoping that you’ll publish your next piece of content, so it is extremely important that you go and actually pay for distribution of your content. The good news is, live video is the cheapest content to distribute on Facebook right now. Make sure that you’re tagging the Geo Location in your video so that you get the benefit of promoting local content to your local market. This added local relevance will give you increase in your relevance score and decrease the cost of video views.
The targeting of the videos depends a lot on what your goal is with your video. Having the goal of awareness, evaluation or conversion will tell you what you should do with your video on targeting. Here is a quick targeting overview for each of the goals.
Awareness: Target solely based on geographic reach. You are trying to cast as wide a net as possible. You want to let everyone have the chance to watch, and you’ll segment based on viewers later. With awareness videos I just use a 5,10 or 15 mile radius depending on density and open it to adults 18+.
Evaluation: Depending on what your video is you can use the above awareness targeting, but if it is more offer centric target your Facebook page audience, a custom audience or a retargeting list of people who have watched certain videos.
Conversion: Use custom audiences, retargeting lists, lookalike audiences or list of video viewers.
One of my favorite things about Live video is the retargeting ability. Once your video has views, you’ll be able to segment and create retargeting lists of single videos or as many videos as you choose. To create retargeting lists go to your ads manager, click on audiences, create audience, custom audience, Engagement on Facebook, Video and from there you’ll be able to choose the level of engagement and the videos to include. Name the audience and the hit create audience.
You can choose people who have watched as little as 3 seconds of the video to as much as 95% of your videos. So obviously people who watch more of the video will likely be more interested in what you talk about. For example, let’s say you create a video about things you need to know for your new puppy. A person who watches anything more that 10% of the video will likely be a good person to market a puppy package offer to.
Once you’ve created custom audiences, you can also use Facebook’s long reaching big data arm to go and scour the data about your video viewers and figure out what they have in common. Create a lookalike audience based on video viewers and you will have a pretty awesome list to market to.
You’re ready to go
Go out and stream content. The more you do it the better you’ll like it and don’t worry, if it doesn’t work out stop the video and delete it! If you have any questions or need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on Facebook.