patient holding phone loading TikTok

How Healthcare Organizations Can Leverage TikTok

As a mid-90s baby, I sit at the intersection of Millennial and Gen Z. We had a landline at home, and I had a couple of Razr flip phones before the widespread adoption of the smartphone. I’m a digital native, but I still took a typing class in school. I learned cursive and slipped out of public education just before Common Core. I remember Vine.

I’m a part of what experts call a “Cusp Generation” or a “Cusper” (being born within a few years of the end of a generation), and I tend to feel a bit nomadic — not-quite-belonging to either generation. And this is only exacerbated by the massive digital boom that happened alongside my own coming-of-age.

Despite not fitting perfectly into either category, I have a few years left of being the resident young person — meaning I get to write about the thing that almost 30% of teens say is their favorite social media platform: TikTok.

TikTok icon

A Good Reason To Invest In TikTok

In 2019, the average session length for a user on TikTok was 10.85 minutes — more than double the amount of time compared to an average session on:

  • Pinterest: 5.06 minutes
  • Facebook: 4.82 minutes
  • Twitter: 3.53 minutes
  • Instagram: 2.95 minutes

Source: Statista

Producing content on TikTok means learning a new language, a new set of references, and new rules. Trends catch on fast and land in a digital graveyard just as quickly. For a seemingly simple video platform, there can be a bit of a learning curve.

But TikTok can also be a digital land of opportunity.

Here are 4 ways your healthcare organization can leverage TikTok to meet your business goals.

1. Reach A Wider — And Younger — Audience

TikTok boasts having over 1 billion users globally. In 2020, approximately 65.9 million of those users were American, a figure that is expected to increase by 22% each year.

This is a huge, and potentially untapped, market — especially when  47% of US TikTok users are under 30 years old.

By expanding your content strategy efforts to include TikTok, you can reach younger audiences. TikTok users in the Cusp Generation like myself are just about to or have just turned 26. We’re navigating the healthcare system in a different way, thinking about our medical and financial futures, and we are some of the newest consumers on the market.

With the challenges this period of life presents, trust me — I would LOVE a TikTok to walk me through the difference between a premium and a deductible. By jumping into the healthcare TikTok scene, you can make a younger market aware of key information — and your brand identity.

2. Share Important Health Information In A Bitesize Package

Health information can be complicated, and sometimes the language of the medical industry leaves the everyday person drowning in jargon.

TikTok’s short videos can have a big impact on your content strategy. Sometimes, you just need a new angle — or a new platform — to help you think about your content in a different way.

TikTok videos can help you focus on:

  • Accessibility: Easily add captions to videos so anyone can view your content.
  • Creativity: Share health information in a dynamic way — you’ll have to think outside the box.
  • Search and Scrollability: Use hashtags to show up in relevant searches — more people will see your content.

Note: In 2021, TikTok expanded its video length limit from 60 seconds to 3 minutes.

3. Create A More Personal Digital Persona

TikTok is driven by people, individual users, content creators, and influencers. It’s not only about the content, but the personalities behind the content. If you’re looking for ways to humanize your digital presence, TikTok might be the answer.

TikTok can give a face to your healthcare organization. A short video could include a provider reminding users to wear a mask or get vaccinated. Or your system’s dietician could discuss the dangerous nature of fad diets. With a face to your brand, you can boost your online reputation and personalize your image.

But, while making TikToks with your team can be a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that it also opens up the door to liability and scrutiny.

As a healthcare organization, your TikToks should be created with the same care and attention as the rest of your content. You might want to include a provider as the face of your TikTok, but it may not be the best idea to let them run wild — especially when just starting out.

Take some time to watch TikToks like the ones you want to create to help you avoid pitfalls that can be misinterpreted. Checking out the comments on a video can also help you know what users respond positively and negatively to in different videos.

4. Understand Current Trends And Issues

Even if TikTok isn’t the right platform to add to your content strategy, you can still utilize the video app as a listening tool.

One way to use TikTok without even making a video is to search for a common disease or specialty at your healthcare organization. Watching videos where people talk about their lived experiences can give you a new perspective on a specific chronic illness, for example.

TikTok can also provide insight into different forms of disinformation. This can direct future campaigns, whether on TikTok or your other content channels. Knowing what’s out there — and the beliefs or assumptions your patients may be coming in with — can help you provide accurate and compassionate information to the people who may need it most.

TikTok As A Part Of Your Content Strategy

There are just as many reasons to be on TikTok as there are reasons not to be. As the token young person writing a blog about TikTok, even I feel conflicted about what goes on there.

As an individual user, I’m wary of the way my friends lose hours scrolling through a never-ending content rabbit hole. But as a content writer who believes in the power of digital media as a tool to connect important information with young people, I’m captivated by its social value.

As the social media landscape evolves and different platforms mature, TikTok will continue to be one to watch — and invest time, energy, and creativity into.

Need help with your content strategy? From creating video content to expanding into new social media channels, we can help. Contact us today.