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.
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
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.
Social Media For Healthcare Marketing: Snaps, Pins, And Shares, Oh My!
If you are one of the millions of adults in the US who use Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably followed—or at least seen—a company’s account on one of these social networks. Many businesses create Facebook profiles (called pages) or Twitter accounts (called handles) in order to further their brand recognition and boost their marketing efforts.
But Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only networks to consider. As more social media platforms sprout up, businesses are taking advantage of marketing opportunities across platforms.
So, how are companies using social media for healthcare? Here’s a look at three of the more popular platforms: Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
How It’s Used In Marketing
Businesses can create their own Snapchat accounts. Snaps are used to create a tone for the company or organization, promote specials, and give followers a behind-the-scenes look at the business.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
There are two major players in the healthcare scene on Snapchat: Plastic surgeons and children’s hospitals.
Several plastic surgeons have garnered Snapchat fame by posting snaps from surgical procedures (with the patient’s consent, of course). These snaps serve many purposes, including:
- Marketing the providers and their organizations—and establishing themselves as experts
- Providing opportunities for medical students to learn about surgeries and explore the field of plastic surgery
- Giving prospective patients a chance to see what a specific surgery entails, and if it’s something they might want to pursue
Snapchat is also becoming a popular marketing tool for children’s hospitals. It makes sense—the target demographic for these hospitals is Gen Zers (between the ages of 10 and 22), and Generation Z accounts for more than 50% of Snapchat users.
Like plastic surgeons, children’s hospitals don’t use Snapchat solely for marketing. They also use it to engage their patients, promote fundraising opportunities, raise awareness about various health issues, and improve the overall patient experience.
Healthcare may be a growing presence in the world of Snapchat, but not everyone is on board.
One of the most vocal critics is Dan Mills, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Dr. Mills questions the ethics of using Snapchat during surgeries.
With the operating room staff occasionally cracking jokes, and breaking out the costumes and hats, and the front-of-office staff occasionally treating the Snapchat account as a way to perform a soap opera for viewers, Mills says that some offices are acting unprofessionally and with no integrity. He also raises concerns about patient safety and infection control issues.
How It’s Used In Marketing
Similar to Snapchat, Pinterest can be used to solidify a company’s image and tone. It’s also a way for businesses to establish themselves, so they can gain followers or customers.
The more a pin is repinned by other users, the more visibility the company receives. And if companies can get a good grasp on creating content that makes for shareable pins, they’re on the right track toward major visibility—pins on Pinterest are considered 100 times more shareable than tweets.
This may be partially due to the fact that most adults respond better to images and visuals more than text—and you would be hard-pressed to find a pin without an image.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
Hospitals large and small, from academic medical centers to community healthcare systems, have jumped onto the Pinterest bandwagon.
Each hospital has its own way of grouping pins, but most tend to have a few in each of these categories:
- General well-being: These are boards with titles like “Healthy Recipes,” “Mindfulness Techniques,” and “Exercise Tips.” Children’s hospitals also tend to have boards with parenting tips and basic information about children’s’ health and well-being.
- Medicine and health conditions: These boards have information about specific medical topics, like cancer, diabetes, or cardiac care.
- Patient stories and testimonials: These boards have links to personal narratives about dealing with a specific disease, and testimonials about the healthcare organization.
- Research: These boards feature the latest in medical research and technological advancements.
- About us: These boards include general information about the organization. They may highlight specific services or areas of interest—like therapy dogs, virtual tours of the facilities, a history of the organization, or suggestions for what else to do when you’re in the area.
There aren’t many downsides to Pinterest. Fortunately, Pinterest hasn’t been the subject of arguments about ethics. Since it’s generally run by hospital administrators, there isn’t a big concern about providers being distracted by it.
The only downside—if you can call it that—is that there are several rules governing business Pinterest accounts. In addition to the Acceptable Use Policy and Pin Etiquette Policy that all users must follow, businesses also need to stick to Pinterest’s business guidelines.
How It’s Used In Marketing
When LinkedIn was first created, it was mostly thought of us a place for businesses to post job openings and professionals to look for work. LinkedIn is still used for recruiting future employees, but its purpose has expanded.
As with other social media platforms, LinkedIn is a great way for businesses to gain exposure and build their brand. By creating an engaging profile, posting articles about the latest trends, and sharing informed opinions about those trends, a business can establish itself as a thought leader in the industry.
How It’s Used In Healthcare
Healthcare organizations are mainly using LinkedIn for one of its original purposes: recruitment.
For instance, WellStar Health System in Georgia uses LinkedIn to boast about its benefits packages, workplace culture, and provider resources. Reading Health System in Pennsylvania uses LinkedIn to highlight employee testimonials. At Florida Hospital, LinkedIn is used specifically to target potential nurses.
In addition to recruitment, healthcare organizations are taking advantage of the opportunity to build their brand and reputation. These organizations post several types of content, including:
- Humble (but proud) brags: If the hospital has a world-renowned cardiac care center, or was the birthplace of a current standard of care, they aren’t afraid to promote their accomplishments.
- Medical, health, and wellness articles: Readers can find information on breastfeeding or healthy eating, or learn about cutting-edge research. Companies can open up the comments section, inviting readers to engage with their brand.
- Hospital happenings: Organizations post promos for upcoming events or fundraisers, new hires, and information about what’s going on at the hospital.
- Current events: Many organizations tie their content into current events. For example, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago posted a story about the upcoming solar eclipse and eye health.
- Patient testimonials: Whether the stories are about why patients chose the hospital, or about the quality of care they received, these testimonials can be an excellent way to bring in patients.
Businesses probably won’t run into many hurdles when using LinkedIn. As with Pinterest, there is little room for ethical ambiguity, and it typically does not distract providers from doing their job.
However, LinkedIn does come with its share of frustrations. Of the main social media platforms, LinkedIn has one of the lowest engagement rates—a measurement of how readers are interacting with the content (e.g., likes, shares, comments, etc.).
And, while the number of LinkedIn users is growing, membership is still significantly lagging compared to other platforms like Facebook.
That doesn’t mean that businesses should not use LinkedIn—they just need to stay on top of their other social networks as well.
Now that you’ve learned about Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, you may be tempted to set up accounts on all three. That’s fine for some companies—but other companies benefit from quality over quantity when it comes to social media.
Bottom line: Choose your social media platforms wisely. Look for the platforms your target audience uses, and focus on creating quality content, rather than content on every single platform.
Want to learn more about using social media for healthcare marketing? Let the team at CareContent help.