Everyone seems to be on TikTok, whether it’s teens seeking the latest fashions or older adults living their best lives. This social media platform is *the* place to share video content.

And with good reason. TikTok is the most frequently downloaded app of the last three years and has 1 billion users worldwide. Can a platform with this level of popularity and reach be a boon to your hospital’s marketing efforts? Maybe. Read on to learn whether TikTok is right for your health system.

What TikTok Can and Can’t Do for Your Hospital

TikTok moved past its roots in lip-synching and dance videos and now hosts content on everything, including healthcare. It’s a destination for the latest health trend information and common myth debunking. Experiential posts — such as a day in a nurse’s life or what to expect on chemo — are also hugely popular.

 

TikTok can increase brand awareness for your hospital, but it does not convert. There’s no place for links to other digital marketing assets. Users watch your videos, then like and share them. And that’s that. So why bother?

The Short Game: Going Viral

The short game is an instant boost to brand awareness with viral posts. On other social media platforms, you need thousands of followers, likes, links, shares and other engagement to grab the spotlight. With TikTok, content that best aligns with user intent wins the day. Posts that are most relevant to user inquiries can go viral regardless of the online clout of their creator.

Cleveland Clinic went viral with one of its first TikTok posts. In late 2020 (during the throes of the pandemic), a video supporting its #MaskUp campaign got more than 1 million views in its first 24 hours. The video spread because it nailed user intent. Scores of people had questions about masks, and Cleveland Clinic answered them with a fun and engaging video.

See how Cleveland Clinic and 9 other healthcare brands are kicking it up on TikTok

The Long Game: Building Trust with New Audiences

Even if posts don’t go viral, having an active presence on TikTok puts your brand at the epicenter of online health queries. More than half of adults use the internet (including social media) as a primary source of health information instead of their doctors. Who better to answer their questions than a respected health system like yours?

TikTok videos with honest, authentic and interesting content might not immediately net your organization new patients. But you’re building trust and awareness with each click. When these users need care, they’re more likely to look to your brand because they’ve already had positive online interactions.

5 Considerations to Determine Whether TikTok Is Right for Your Hospital

Now that you know what TikTok can do for hospitals, is it right for *your* organization? We offer five considerations to help you decide:

Your target audience must align with TikTok’s

TikTok audiences are primarily female, Gen Z or younger Millennials. Other demographics are joining, including Gen Xers, but in smaller numbers. What users have in common is a preference for video content. They do not want to read. They want reliable information on the topics that are important to them, and it must be easy to consume.

Your messaging should lend itself to style

Health content on TikTok needs to be factual but not too serious. This is your brand’s opportunity to show a lighter side that meshes with TikTok’s casual vibe. You don’t need professional equipment: Most videos are made on smartphones and edited in the app.

You’ll also want to be careful with sensitive topics like end-of-life care. You can bring levity to difficult issues without losing sight of your brand values. Start by researching how other healthcare organizations handle tough topics.

You’ll have to let go of topical depth

TikTok users thrive on quick content hits. The shorter, the better. Some of TikTok’s highest-performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long.. This doesn’t leave much room for depth, even if it’s consistent with your brand strategy. TikTok users are more likely to click on your video if it’s brief. Stick to topics that lend themselves to quick answers.

You need dedicated resources

Quick-hitting videos that keep pace with evolving health trends require the attention of a full-time TikTok marketer. It’s possible to start smaller and post less frequently. But your organization won’t reach its full potential on this platform without dedicated resources.

Impact on ROI is difficult to measure

TikTok doesn’t offer a tangible return on investment, making it challenging to justify the resources needed to support it optimally. But it’s still a worthwhile endeavor if you’re playing the long game.

Your brand has an opportunity to make an excellent first impression on new audiences like Gen Z. Your brand is likely the first place they’ll turn when their healthcare needs grow in the coming years.

Marketing Your Hospital on TikTok: Next Steps

For hospitals to make a splash with TikTok, many factors need to align. Perhaps now is not your organization’s time, but it could be in the future. And when you’re ready, you now have some insights into key success factors.

If you’re still undecided or need help taking those first steps, Aha Media Group can help. We perform assessments that help hospitals determine which platforms best align with their marketing goals. We also can extend your team’s reach with content strategy and video scripting.

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