“The only thing shorter than a Tweet or a post is a picture.”
La Giaconda, Leonardo da Vinci
People remember (or learn) only a 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see, but 50% of what they hear and see – or so they say. This alone could be a good reason to use videos to spread public health messages. I mean, people will remember so much more than if you give them a leaflet to read, right? Well, maybe.
Apparently these figures are a distortion (Thalheimer, 2015). What’s useful to know, though, is that people from 5 years to working-age adults learn a whole range of subjects better when they’re presented by multi-media, computer-based systems than by the traditional lecture-type lesson (Najjar, 1996).
But you’re not trying to teach a class, you’re trying to change the world. You want to reach people with reliable health messages get them to understand about public health and, maybe, to change. Will multimedia be good for that too?
Why bother using multimedia?
According to the Pew Research Centre, nearly 8 out of 10 online adults visits video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. There will be an audience to hear and see your message.
Also, if you want people to share your message with their friends and families, YouTube offers you the biggest social media platform after Facebook. Heather Mansfield says in her book, Social Media for Social Good, that more than a billion videos are watched on YouTube every day (Mansfield, 2012). It’s great for reaching some groups who’d be unlikely to subscribe to your newsletter too, such as younger adults or black and Hispanic people (Anderson, 2015) in the US. Both YouTube and Vimeo have buttons to make it easy to share videos by email or social media. They also both give you a code to embed in your blog or newsletter that allows readers to play your video directly from your website.
So, when you’re trying to spread health messages and get people to change their behaviour, it’s worth giving multimedia a go, but how?
- Tell A Story
You can share almost anything – some footage of an event, interviews or people talking about health issues, or even a slideshow of some of your work, with a sprinkling of useful statistics in between. Remember, though, that people relate to stories. So, make sure that your video tells a story. That way is likely that people will watch till the end and share it among their network.
Miguel Santana’s video of his holiday in Tokyo has been viewed over 75,000 times and is a masterclass in video story telling.
- Make it purposeful
Don’t just post any footage on your website or sharing sites, like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine. Make sure that what you post tells people something in a way that makes them want to watch. Jarrod Wright writes about using images with purpose, that is, your video needs to show stuff that’s relevant to the story you’re telling and to the people you’re telling it to http://designinstruct.com/web-design/use-images-websites/
In an interview on SocialMediaExaminer.com, Donna Moritz talks about how to create and use images for social marketing via your website. Although her tips are really about using static images, they apply well to videos, too.
Here are her top 5 ways for using imagery for the greatest impact:
- Sharing tips- much like you would in a blog or e-newsletter. These can be easier to follow and have more impact with good visuals.
- A “How to” – think flatpack instructions, but without any pieces missing from the
- Quotes – from experts or well-known people on your topic, or maybe just an inspirational quote that relates to your message
“For he who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”
- Checklists – these are the most ‘liked’ and shared posts on social media, so including these in your videoblog could help spread your message.
- Infographics – these are a good way to present data in visual stories and are often more accessible than the kinds of graphs that statisticians have traditionally produced. The CDC even promotes using infographics – http://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/tools/infographics.html
These are pretty much the same principles you’d use when writing a blog.
Moritz also talks about “the art of the tease” – using your image to get people to click through for further info, e.g. to your blog or website, or alternatively, click to share. With a compelling image you might achieve both. You can include your web address at the end of your video, or make a call to action, as in this video.
It needn’t cost a lot of money
At minimum you need a video recording device and some film editing software. The most expensive thing will probably be your time. You can pick up a pocket camcorder quite cheaply, but you probably already have a mobile phone or tablet, which will do the job just as well. Even professionals are now filming on mobile devices to make whole programmes, as well as videos to upload to their websites. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31747911
- Speak to people’s lives
The success of the “This Girl Can” campaign recently shows how effective a video message can be when people relate to it, at least in terms of gaining an audience and creating a buzz. It has had nearly 13 and half million views, in just over 6 months, and nearly 35,000 YouTube likes. It was based on research about what stops women doing sport and features average women in the film – sweating, wobbling and all the other things that ordinary women do when they move. See it here: http://www.sportengland.org/our-work/national-work/this-girl-can/
Or the short version here, on YouTube:
Using video to spread your message and connect your community can be effective. What do you think might be the downside?
Anderson, M. (2015). 5 facts about online video, for YouTube’s 10th birthday. Facttank – News in Numbers. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/12/5-facts-about-online-video-for-youtubes-10th-birthday/
Mansfield, H. (2012). Social Media for Social Good, A how-to guide for nonprofits. New York: McGraw Hill.
Najjar, L. J. (1996). Multimedia information and learning. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 5(2), 129–150. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.118.1654
Thalheimer, W. (2015). Mythical Retention Data & The Corrupted Cone. Will at Work Learning. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from http://www.willatworklearning.com/2015/01/mythical-retention-data-the-corrupted-cone.html