Short Video Marketing for Health Systems: Tips of the Trade

Health systems face marketing challenges, like fractured audiences, that make it difficult to connect with potential patients. Implementing short-form videos in your healthcare marketing strategy can help you increase brand awareness, stay relevant, and build trust and connections with your audiences.

According to HubSpot, almost 40% of marketers say short-form videos offer the biggest ROI in video marketing, and almost 60% of marketers say video marketing is effective at achieving their company’s goals. The majority also say they’re planning to increase their video marketing budgets this year, with most of that going toward short videos.

So why are short videos so effective, and how do you incorporate them in your marketing strategy?


Short videos are typically less than two minutes long and can be posted on multiple social media platforms. Popular examples include TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts. Even Facebook and Twitter “Stories” embrace the allure of short videos. Short-form videos can be effective marketing tools that offer your health system several benefits.

1. Reach a Diverse Range of Age Groups.

Targeting an expansive and fractured audience is one major challenge of healthcare marketing. Using multiple platforms for short video marketing can help you connect with virtually all age groups, reaching a wider audience population.

TikTok videos, for instance, can vastly increase your reach with younger generations. Facebook users tend to be a little older, with most falling between 25 and 34 years of age. Instagram reaches a broad audience, with most users ranging from late teens to early 40s. YouTube reaches the widest audience of all, with users ranging from teens up to people 65 years and older. Publishing short videos across these platforms can help you reach more of your target audiences.

2. Establish Your Health System’s Authority.

Short videos allow you to distill content down to what’s important. They’re often an effective way to combat viral misinformation, caution against dangerous challenges, and discuss important or interesting medical facts. In this way, your health system can have a direct impact on health-centered conversations, and informative but engaging videos can help establish your health system’s authority in the industry.

3. Connect Better and Broaden Reach.

Short video platforms encourage creativity and humor. Healthcare marketing is frequently formal and serious, which can fail to connect with younger and less traditional audiences. Platforms like TikTok give you more freedom to create content that breaks the healthcare marketing mold and connects more effectively with audiences. Videos that are humorous and creative are also more likely to be shared and shown to others, which can help broaden your reach.

4. Humanize Your Physicians, Staff, and Health System.

Using humor and creativity in your short videos also presents an opportunity to humanize your physicians, staff, and health system, making your health system’s presence more relatable – and a little less scary for patients with anxiety. Several healthcare professionals are already successfully using short-form videos to entertain, inform, and connect with large audiences, including @natalieavni, @dr.kojosarfo, @nurse.johnn, and @seethemedlife on TikTok.

Spotlight some friendly doctors and nurses and ask them their favorite jokes. Offer behind-the-scenes footage of how tests are run or how equipment works to dispel some of the mystery. Showcase real moments of exceptional care or relatable humor. In general, creating a more diverse, authentic, and friendly presence for your health system can help patients feel more comfortable and be more likely to choose your health system over competitors.

5. Build Connections and Stay Relevant.

When users engage with your content, you can respond to their comments or posts through one-on-one interactions. The less formal tone of platforms like Instagram Reels can be carried over to these interactions, helping you build trust and rapport with users. Short videos also let you engage in current industry trends – such as staff participating in (safe and appropriate) TikTok challenges or weighing in on current viral health topics – to stay relevant and trending.

Leveraging the marketing power of short videos works well with an omnichannel marketing strategy. Using short-form video can help you influence perspectives and conversations related to healthcare and create a more authentic, refreshing image of your health system. Plus, you can advertise on these platforms, where users who recognize your facility from its creative content may be more likely to click through your marketing funnel.


When developing content ideas, it’s useful to obtain data on what content and topics are currently driving the most traffic to your health system’s website or services, so you know what performs well. Also consider what patients may want to know regarding their health, their bodies, medical practices, or your specific healthcare system. Above all, remember that users of short-form video platforms want to be entertained. Your videos should be fascinating, amusing, and/or unexpected. Even informational content should be presented in a way that’s unique and attention-grabbing.

If you’re stuck for topics, consider doing some of these:

  • Respond to harmful or inaccurate trends and viral videos that affect health.
  • Provide tips for taking better care of yourself.
  • Invent a new fitness or healthy lifestyle challenge.
  • Discuss weird, interesting, or funny facts about the body or medicine.
  • Have staff from different departments answer the same question (such as, “What’s something you wish more of your patients knew?” or “What’s your favorite joke?”).
  • Develop short, fun bios for a variety of personnel at your system, including physicians, nurses, social workers, receptionists, and even higher-level executives (where possible).
  • Create content that users are likely to share (like tips for feeling better with the common cold during fall/winter, a video on common habits that are actually really unhealthy, or a silly rendition of a “Get Well Soon” song performed by staff).
  • Make videos that break down taboos, stigma, and discomfort around sensitive topics, such as sexual health or mental health.


Following these best practice guidelines can help you make the most effective and engaging short videos possible.

  • Use Each Second Wisely: Your videos should grab viewers’ attention within the first five seconds and hold their attention for each second after. Focus on the meat of what you’re conveying and present it in the most engaging way possible. Try to avoid diving into unnecessary complexities or dragging out a skit, which could cause viewers to lose interest.
  • Be Consistent: Try to post a minimum of two videos each month. Creating a steady stream of content will keep people engaged and boost the odds that one or two of your videos will go viral, generating increased interactions, brand recognition, and connections.
  • Be Timely: According to HubSpot, the majority of marketers say videos related to cultural moments (like trends) and news stories earn the most viewer engagement. However, trends, challenges, big stories, and viral videos move quickly in the world of social media. If you want to capitalize on a trend or viral content, try to do so within 24 to 48 hours. After that time, check whether the content or topic is still generating significant traffic before spending time and resources on a video for it.
  • Make Videos Accessible: Your videos should be enjoyable for all audiences. Accessibility can be especially important for health systems. At least, make sure to use closed captioning for them.
  • Take Advantage of Creative Features and Tools: Some video platforms have tools and features that allow you to change, edit, or enhance your videos. For instance, TikTok videos can use transition effects for scene changes, sounds, voiceover clips, text, and effects and filters like green screen, which lets you change your video background.
  • Harness the Power of Hashtags: Using trending and relevant hashtags can help ensure more users see your content – and that it reaches audiences who are likely to engage with it. For each platform, see what hashtags are most commonly used by healthcare professionals and interested viewers, then use those when you upload your videos. For TikTok videos, you can use hashtags like #fyp or current sponsored tags to get your videos on users’ For You Page, which shows random videos based on the users’ interests and what’s trending.
  • Remember to Have Fun and Be Creative: Use genuine humor and goofiness wherever possible (and appropriate), which makes content more likely to go viral. You’ll build a brand that’s more recognizable, friendly, and authentic by doing so, as well as broaden your reach.
  • Stick to HIPAA Guidelines: It’s also vital for health systems using short video marketing to not violate HIPAA regulations. Never film patients or expose patient identifying information in any video. The only exception is if the patient wants to participate in a video to spotlight excellent care and signs the appropriate waivers and releases.

The biggest barriers to using short-form videos as a healthcare marketing tool are often lack of time and budget, as well as inexperience in developing a successful video strategy. Many marketers combat these challenges by using an outside agency to help with their video marketing strategies and content, and over 40% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot said this resulted in better, more effective videos. Interested to learn more about how short-form video marketing could benefit your health system? Ready to develop a more effective video marketing strategy that builds your healthcare brand and image? Contact LIGHTSTREAM today.