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.
Emoji Outreach: How To Touch A Millennial Employee’s Heart <3
Start texting with a Millennial, and you’ll quickly find your conversation peppered with goofy faces, unicorns, flying pizzas, and even an occasional pile of poo. The visual fusillade is hard to escape.
Emojis have plastered the globe, and that’s a direct result of the digital revolution: More than 85% of Millennials own a smartphone, Nielsen reported in a 2014 study.
Twitter says its users have tweeted some 110 billion emojis since 2014. Some 6 billion emojis are sent per day, Digiday reports. Emojis are the language we speak.
That’s not surprising. Emojis transmit volumes of information in one character space, and add lightness and empathy to an otherwise sterile block of text.
There are right and wrong ways to deploy emojis in your marketing efforts, Entrepreneur magazine noted in February 2017. While you can find plenty of articles online about this topic, I thought I’d take a lighter approach.
Here are 13 ways I “talk” with my Millennial staff, using this vast society of little cartoon people. Feel free to use these as a springboard for ideas of your own, whether you’re coaching young employees or thinking ahead to a holiday marketing campaign.
At CareContent, we’re all about getting creative to reach our clients’ target audience. Contact us to find out how we can help you do just that.
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.
Sign Out of Social Media For One Day—For Your Sanity
This guest post comes from social media maven Jenni Prokopy, founder of ChronicBabe.com. Jenni draws on her experience with fibromyalgia and other conditions to teach women to live incredibly in spite of illness. She shared the following insight with us in the wake of the election earlier this month.
I’m hearing from people throughout our community that they’re really struggling, whether it’s political disagreements, family arguments, anxiety about the upcoming winter holidays, lack of a diagnosis, new symptoms, the darkening days of winter…. There are so many things challenging us at the moment.
I’m right there with them. I’m struggling. I’ve had a few days during the past two weeks when I had to force myself to take a shower (and some days, I didn’t succeed). I heard someone say they were measuring their progress the past week by how much less they cried each day, and it dang near broke my heart. I completely relate.
One thing I’ve realized is that social media is contributing to a lot of my anxiety, depression, and fear. Especially in the past few days, I’ve found myself checking Facebook multiple times each hour and feeling outraged, saddened, and powerless over and over, for many reasons.
But what good does that do? That behavior is detrimental to my physical and emotional wellbeing. I feel like all the world’s struggles have been coming at me and tussling inside my brain. So much of what I was seeing is out of my control, and yet I felt a compulsion to try to fix it all. That is exhausting—and futile.
So I’m taking a mini break—just a few days off of all social media. I’m setting a boundary, and nothing is getting inside until I decide I’m ready. There are many ways of setting boundaries to protect our mental and physical wellbeing; this is just one way. And it’s a-ok. It’s perfectly fine to take a break. Seriously. We need it sometimes.
I’m hoping my mini social media break does a few things:
- Helps calm my anxiety and challenging emotions so I can re-focus my energy on my work, personal relationships, and health
- Gives me some time to think about how I want to use social media strategically moving forward, instead of compulsively check-check-checking all day
- Inspires me to create more meaningful ways to connect with people in person or on other platforms besides Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
- Provides some peace and rest so I can come back online ready to be a stronger advocate for our community than ever before
After just one day, I already feel a lightness and relief to not be checking my phone constantly, so I know this is the right decision. A moderator is watching all ChronicBabe social media accounts to ensure no shenanigans, which lets me rest easy. I’ll be back at you next week, and I look forward to it.
In the meantime, you may want to consider taking a break yourself. You may want to remove social media apps from your phone for a day, or turn off notifications. Maybe you take a break from one of them, most of them, or set a timer so you can only be online for a small amount of time each day. You get to set this boundary any way you want, and you can change it any time. How magical is that? If you decide to take a break, let me know. I’m curious to know how many folks are joining me.
This piece reprinted with permission from ChronicBabe.com. Contact the author directly if you wish to reprint it, as well.
Read/Watch/Listen/Follow: Content We’re Into (August 2016)
As content creators, we’re constantly on the hunt for interesting and inspiring stories from wherever we can find them—the internet, a podcast, television. This enables us not only to keep up with but to lead relevant conversations on the people, events, and discoveries that are impacting our world.
Here’s what we’ve been devouring lately.
Reading: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Mark Weissbluth. His tips for getting a newborn to sleep through the night were total lifesavers with our first child. So, I am reviewing his advice for our new baby, Kelis, who was born in May.
Watching: Lots of Sesame Street. My son, Josiah, is turning 2. They have about 50 remixes of the alphabet song—not more than 1 hour of screen time, though. We try to follow American Academy of Pediatric Guidelines.
Listening to: Audio Bible. Faith is very important to me, but I don’t have time to sit and read. So Audio Bible has been great.
Following: Our competitors, for obvious reasons.
Jennifer, Content Director
Reading: Einstein’s Dreams, a series of short stories about how time might behave in different universes. For example, in one story, time stands still and people cannot move beyond their past. Each story is an allegory for human thought.
Watching: Reruns of Star Trek: Voyager (1995). Believe it or not, there’s a healthcare angle here. Hit by an energy wave, a starship is stranded in a distant sector of space, its crew facing a 75-year journey home. The ship’s physician is killed in the accident. An emergency medical hologram (EMH) is activated to take his place. This “e-doctor” soon finds himself overwhelmed, understaffed, and barely able to keep up with the crew’s medical care. Sound familiar? Star Trek always was ahead of its time. Anyway, the hologram must “go beyond his programming” and get inventive with his practice. Pretty much the theme of this century’s medicine, too.
Listening to: Affiniti, a classical-crossover group from Ireland.
Following: Selah Freedom, a Florida-based nonprofit with a residential center for women who have escaped sex trafficking. They’re working to open a second center in Chicago.
Ros, Web Content Specialist
Reading: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (for the 298347th time), just because I felt like it.
Watching: So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation, which pairs young dancers between the ages of 8 and 13 with all-star contestants from past seasons as they perform routines across different styles, from quickstep to hip hop. I watch SYTYCD every summer, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.
Listening to: “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake, a catchy, upbeat song from the soundtrack for the upcoming DreamWorks movie Trolls. But if I’m being honest, I’m really listening to it because it’s JT, and he can do no wrong in my eyes.
Following: BuzzFeed’s coverage of Pokemon Go because the way this game has taken off in such a short amount of time (and gotten people moving and socializing in new ways) is blowing my mind.
Sammi, Web Content Specialist
Reading: “Five Days at Memorial,” an account of the days at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans, right after Hurricane Katrina. It raises very interesting ethical questions about euthanasia, following medical protocols during emergencies, and being prepared for disasters.
Watching: Mr. Robot, a drama series about an internet hacking group.
Listening to: “Next to Normal,” a Broadway musical about a woman suffering from mental illness, and how depression and illness can affect the whole family.
Following: Anyone who doesn’t play Pokemon Go.
Nicole, Multimedia Content Designer
Reading: “Pregnant Zika Victim Alerted Officials to Florida Outbreak,“ an article from The Wall Street Journal highlights the challenges US health officials face in identifying and combating a budding outbreak.
Watching: Escape to the Country, a BBC series following homebuyers on their journey to purchase a tranquil piece of the British countryside (think House Hunters for idyllic cottages).
Listening to: “Federal Emergency Declaration Issued Over Flint’s Water To End Soon.” NPR talks with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver about how state officials plan to move forward without the federal designation.
Following: Dave Pell on Twitter. He’s one of those true bloggers from back in the day (one of the first to have ever been invited to a political party’s convention in 2004), and his NextDraft newsletter highlighting current events in plain speak is awesome.
LaToya, Content Design Specialist
Reading: How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Chicago Youth, a book from DePaul’s creative writing students. They fanned out all over the city to interview people whose lives have been changed by the bloodshed in Chicago.
Watching: Power, which features Omari Hardwick, a wealthy New York night club owner who has it all but lives a double life as a drug kingpin.
Listening to: “The Color Purple” (2015 Broadway Cast Recording). The music is a great blend of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, and it chronicles main character Celie’s journey into adulthood, where she discovers the power of love and life.
Following: mentalhealthdaily on Instagram, inspirational quotes and relatable emotions about mental health and the stigma behind it.
Katie, Engagement and Analytics
Reading: “Needles in the Cornfields,” a Chicago Health Magazine story that gives a face to the heroin epidemic in Illinois and breaks down what the state is (or isn’t) doing about it.
Watching: Stranger Things, an eerie, supernatural Netflix drama reminiscent of some of my favorite ’80s movies, like ET and Stand By Me.
Listening to: This American Life—Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde, which features Serial’s Sarah Koenig investigating why a family doctor with no criminal history likely strangled his own father.
Following: Joakim Noah on Twitter. He may have left the Bulls recently, but Joakim’s charity work with kids and his general life perspective are refreshing.
Why A Healthcare Community Matters For Hospitals
What is the fastest way to educate a large group of people? You tell them all at once.
Having an online healthcare community makes increasing the health literacy of people around your hospital simple. An online community is a group of people with shared interests. Participants tend to be active on social media as well as topic forums, email groups, and blog post comment sections. Such a community can be an excellent tool for building relationships with your patients—as well as your patients’ friends and family—and disseminating information.
Here are 3 reasons why you should put an emphasis on bolstering your online presence.
Reason #1: This Little Thing Called Population Health.
Population health is a new model of patient care for healthcare organizations. It means focusing on health outcomes for patient populations instead of individuals. It also means focusing on preventive care instead of curative care, especially for people with chronic diseases, according to the American Hospital Association.
By building online communities for specific patient populations, you provide them with a resource that focuses on their specific issues. When you blog about a topic, you encourage others to share their stories. This can offer those new to the community hope and information.
Including visually pleasing graphics is a must. People scrolling through Twitter and Facebook will be instantly drawn to graphics that are both clean and helpful.
Reason #2: The Internet Is Here To Stay.
That means internet searches for health issues aren’t going away, either. Patients aren’t always going to save their questions and concerns for their next appointment. They want to find the information they need immediately. If they are a patient at your healthcare organization, they should be able to get that from you. That’s where having an online community can help.
These are just some of the top searches. People are out there looking for help with something. It’s the hospital’s duty to help with the health concerns. If they aren’t getting engagement from you, they’ll look elsewhere. At that point, they’re at the mercy of the internet, and we all know how much misinformation is out there.
Reason #3: You Can Provide A Ton Of Helpful Info.
An online forum can allow your medical experts to address a wide range of common concerns. Patients can be involved in discussion around the psychological, social, and emotional aspects of their condition as well.
Remember: It’s about the patient. When someone close to them is going through a tough procedure, they are looking for all the information they can get. We’ve seen firsthand how thankful patients are when their own healthcare provider is there to help.
Want to know how your healthcare organization can build an online community? Contact us for more information.