As a videographer, I’ve witnessed the far-reaching effects videos can have when it comes to promoting businesses. However, due to cost constraints, many rehab therapists and practice owners feel that hiring a videographer is not within their marketing budget. Still, based on what we heard during the marketing open forum we held at the most recent Ascend conference, they are interested in creating their own videos—but are unsure how to produce high-quality, effective videos.

The good news? You don’t have to be—or hire—a videographer to leverage the power of video in your physical therapy practice. In fact, you can actually create pretty polished marketing videos using nothing more than your smartphone.

Sure, it may take some time, but it’s certainly time well spent. After all, your social media audience may be small, but it’s likely local—and it’s filled with potential patients. Posting videos on your website and social media profiles can help give people a sense of what your clinic is like and the types of results your patients experience—thus making them feel more comfortable about going there. A few examples of videos you could make include:

  • A video tour/introduction of your clinic
  • Exercise tutorials
  • Patient testimonials
  • Overviews of your clinic’s specialties (e.g, dry needling, aquatic therapy, or sports therapy)
  • Overviews of injuries you commonly treat (and how you treat them)
  • A video showcasing your company/employee culture

Now that you have a few ideas in your back pocket, let’s get down to brass tacks. Here’s how to bring your video vision to life:

The PT Patient’s Guide to Understanding Insurance - Regular BannerThe PT Patient’s Guide to Understanding Insurance - Small Banner

1. Decide where your video will live.

Whether you decide to publish your video on Facebook, Instagram, or your website, it’s important to know the advantages and limitations of each platform. Be careful with blanket-posting a video across multiple social media networks, because they won’t necessarily have the same requirements for things like length and aspect ratio (for instance, your two-minute exercise tutorial will be cut off halfway through if you post it to Instagram). Here are some tips for these three platforms:

Facebook

While Facebook accepts all aspect ratios and videos up to 240 minutes long, you should still be conscious of what aspect ratio and length would be best for each individual video. Vertical videos are great for demonstrating full-body exercises, while horizontal or square aspect ratios would be better for a talking head video. When deciding on length, the general rule for social media is the shorter, the better. You only have a couple of seconds to catch someone’s attention before he or she scrolls past your video. And even when you do catch a viewer’s attention, retaining it is just as difficult. I’ve found that 60 seconds or shorter is the sweet spot.

Instagram

Facebook has more users than any other platform by far, but Instagram has a higher engagement rate—so it’s still an important place for you to build an online presence. Instagram also has a younger audience, so it will be a critical place to establish your company, build awareness, and ensure future success. Instagram accepts square and horizontal aspect ratios and limits videos to 60 seconds. (However, Instagram’s new IGTV feature supports vertical video only and allows for videos of up to 10 minutes.)

Embedded Videos on Your Website

I would highly suggest embedding videos on your company's website. While videos posted on social media platforms can produce better engagement and more views, they unfortunately don’t live very long. Facebook and Instagram are designed to ensure users always see fresh content, so if you’ve made a great intro video for your clinic, it will need a more permanent home. Embedded videos also provide great way to build customized video libraries that your patients can easily find and reference (i.e., for exercise videos). When you post a video on social media, invite your viewers to visit your website to see more related content. Getting more eyes on your company's website will result in more patients.

2. Up your production quality without breaking the bank.

A couple inexpensive pieces of gear can improve your production quality significantly. While smartphone cameras have vastly improved and can produce high-quality images, their microphones are still pretty unusable. An external microphone for your smartphone is inexpensive and will improve your video production value more than any other piece of gear.

Here are a few recommendations:

While many folks overlook the need for a tripod because it’s so much faster and easier to simply hold your phone in your hand, a steady shot provides a much better viewing experience than a handheld shot. This also is the best way to film yourself if you’re a one-person crew. And with so many inexpensive options, it’s definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Here are a couple recommendations:

A great way to shorten your videos for social media is to show while you tell. For example, let’s say you’d like to record a voiceover explaining an exercise while another therapist demonstrates it. Combining the voiceover and the demonstration together will require a video editing application. Simple video edits like this can be done right on your smartphone.

Here are a couple smartphone video editing apps that I recommend:

3. Have a clear call to action.

Your top priority is to encourage engagement. Facebook has switched up its algorithm to prioritize displaying posts that have more engagement. So, create a video that would be easy and natural for your audience to interact with.

Every video should have a call to action for your followers. Your video is empty without this because it leaves little chance of a viewer becoming a patient. For example, let’s say you’ve just created a video demonstrating the correct way to lift a heavy box. At the end of the video, invite your followers to check out a back pain-related blog post on your website. Or, if you don’t have relevant content to direct them to, the call to action could be as simple as inviting them to contact your office. Then, be sure to ask new patients how they heard about you, so you can measure the success of your videos.

4. Be yourself.

Videos are a highly effective way to humanize your company. I’ve personally been drawn to companies that are transparent with their audiences. When I see that a company is filled with genuine employees who care about their clients, I feel confident in consuming their products or services.

To that end, use videos to showcase your clinic’s culture. For example, if your company does a team-building activity such as running a marathon together, put together a short vlog (a.k.a. video blog) of the event.

5. Take heed of these lightning-round quick tips.

The last step isn’t really a step. But, there are so many things to learn when you’re first starting out with video that it may seem overwhelming. So rather than provide in-depth advice that may go over your head, I put together the quickest tips I could round up so you jump-start your journey into using video like a pro:

  • Follow the rule of thirds. This is a rule that cinematographers use to compose their shots. In many cases, placing your subject on one of the thirds is more visually interesting than dead center.

  • Use the depth of your clinic as your backdrop instead of a wall.

  • White balance your iPhone camera every time you shoot any footage. This will ensure that, for example, your skin tones look like actual skin tones. To do this, place a blank piece of white paper next to your subject before you hit record. Then, hold your finger on the screen until “AE/AF” appears. Once this happens, you’re good to go.
  • Watch out for the Moire effect.
  • Remember that including a current patient in a video without his or her express permission could violate HIPAA. So, be sure to get his or her written consent.

Still have questions about video? Hit me up in the comment section below, and I’ll do my best to find you an answer.

Josh Weathers—a.k.a. Weatherman—is WebPT’s videographer. As a teenager, Josh joined his high school’s video news team in the hopes of one day living up to his nickname. While his on-screen talent fell short, he discovered his love for the other side of the camera. He went on to graduate from BYU with a film degree, and his work has been featured in The New York Times and Slate. When he’s not making video magic at WebPT, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Kara, their newborn baby Luke, and their Corgi, Sunny.

  • 4 Video Ideas to Humanize Your PT Business Image

    articleApr 29, 2019 | 6 min. read

    4 Video Ideas to Humanize Your PT Business

    Video is one of the most—if not the most—engaging types of content on social media. It keeps users’ attention 5 times longer than any other type of post, and it’s also—in my opinion—the best way to humanize your company. After all, it’s in our nature to trust a person over a business . So, if you show your patients (and potential future patients) that your business is filled with genuine people who care about their recovery, they …

  • 6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015 Image

    articleNov 16, 2015 | 10 min. read

    6 Biggest Takeaways from PPS 2015

    Last week, I joined hundreds of amazing physical therapy professionals, students, and vendors (including yours truly, WebPT) at this year's PPS Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Despite the uncomfortable combination of tropical heat and humidity outside—and near-freezing conference rooms inside—everyone was in high spirits. Though I never made it to Disney World, I still felt like I was in the most magical place on Earth, thanks to the inspiring and informative presentations I saw and the thought-provoking …

  • 4 Ways to Involve Your PT Staff in Clinic Marketing Image

    articleDec 18, 2018 | 9 min. read

    4 Ways to Involve Your PT Staff in Clinic Marketing

    Unless you have a complete monopoly (or run an incredibly niche-based practice), word-of-mouth efforts generally won’t keep your clinic’s doors open. Marketing is an essential part of running a healthy PT clinic, and while many clinics keep a dedicated marketing specialist on staff, smaller clinics might not have the budget to do so. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to leverage existing clinical staff to help with marketing efforts—and they’ll get the chance to flex their creative …

  • How Your Patients are Stalking You Online—and Why That’s a Good Thing Image

    articleMar 2, 2015 | 6 min. read

    How Your Patients are Stalking You Online—and Why That’s a Good Thing

    Did you know the average American spends way more time scouring the Internet for medical information than consulting with an actual medical professional? So says Makovsky, a Public Relations firm in NYC, and Kelton, a global research and consultancy firm, in their article titled, “Online Health Research Eclipsing Patient-Doctor Conversations.” These two companies conducted their third annual US survey in July 2013, polling 1,067 Americans ages 18 and older. The results revealed that the average American spends …

  • How to Use Online Networking to Boost Your PT Business Image

    articleFeb 28, 2019 | 12 min. read

    How to Use Online Networking to Boost Your PT Business

    The prospect of building a physical therapy business can feel daunting, but the advent of social media has made certain aspects of the process dramatically easier—namely, networking. While online networking can seem a bit unnatural to many of us at first, pushing past the discomfort can be the one of the best things we’ll ever do for our personal and professional growth. Whether the end goal is to attract patients to a traditional or telehealth practice, forge …

  • Social Networking with Purpose: A Guide for OTs Image

    articleMar 10, 2017 | 4 min. read

    Social Networking with Purpose: A Guide for OTs

    1.86 billion Facebook users and myself agree: online networking platforms represent one of the best technological advances in recent years. If you aren’t leveraging the online sphere to grow your occupational therapy network, you may be missing out. However, we all know by now that the online world can be a rabbit hole of dead ends and misadventures. It is, therefore, critical to approach social networking with purpose.  Here are three steps to help you do just …

  • The Rehab Therapist’s Guide to Facebook Advertising Success Image

    articleSep 22, 2017 | 10 min. read

    The Rehab Therapist’s Guide to Facebook Advertising Success

    A couple of months ago, I explained steps for optimizing your Facebook page . Since then, you’ve (hopefully) steadily improved your page’s performance. You’ve created your page, completely filled out your profile, begun building your reviews, and started posting and engaging on a regular basis. Now, it’s time to take the next step: running Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads provide a cost-effective way for you to reach a super-targeted audience. It might sound complicated, but don't be intimidated. …

  • The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog Image

    articleMar 14, 2019 | 7 min. read

    The Golden Rules of Running a PT Clinic Blog

    If you’ve ever wondered whether blogging is a worthwhile use of your time as a PT clinic owner, the answer is almost certainly “yes.” After all, creating a blog for your PT clinic has countless benefits. In addition to providing valuable information to your current, past, and future patients, a blog helps keep your website fresh and relevant —as opposed to looking like nothing more than a digital brochure for your clinic. Furthermore, blogging allows you to …

  • 7 Steps to Optimize Your Local Facebook Page for Organic and Paid Reach Image

    articleJul 21, 2017 | 7 min. read

    7 Steps to Optimize Your Local Facebook Page for Organic and Paid Reach

    Facebook is (mostly) fun and games—until you own a business, that is. Once you're a business owner, the fun really starts. There are now 2 billion monthly users on Facebook —more than any other social network. With Facebook having so many active monthly users, it’s a powerful tool to stay connected within your community. As a rehab therapy provider, you can use Facebook to bring in new patients as well as continue to build relationships with your …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.