We know Americans get health info from social media, and we know that about half of TikTok users are in their teens and early 20s, so it makes sense that doctors who want to share reliable information with young people will go to TikTok to do so.
So what should you do if you want to be among the successful TikTok doctors?
Going viral is cool, but it’s not completely under your control, especially if you have limited time to devote to the platform. Check out our post about the TikTok algorithm, then think about the people you want to reach more than your TikTok influencer future. Use whatever assets you have to make your videos appealing.
But decide on the metrics that you will use to measure success. Reach is an obvious choice. If you’re using celebrity marketing to build your practice, then reach is a great key performance indicator to choose. Ditto if your main goal is to get the word out. High-reach TikTok doctors like the examples in the video above are able to share accurate information with a much larger audience than they can meet in their practices.
If you’re hoping to reach prospective patients, though, you should be aware that TikTok is not a smooth road to popularity. Many TikTok doctors have seen negative and even threatening responses to their content. And, while Google will show your website to people near you, TikTok doesn’t do that. You might get lots of exposure, but very little in your own neighborhood.
It makes sense to figure out what you’re hoping to accomplish, so you can tell what’s working and what’s not.
Add links to your website
Some users can add a clickable link in their bios. Check out the step-by-step instructions. You can also connect your YouTube or Instagram account, and make sure those accounts are linked to your website.
It’s also possible to add a clickable link to your video.
Why would you want to do that? Because your website is the online property you own. If you have an e-commerce section, you can make sales from your website. Otherwise, you can reach people who may need your goods and services. You just have too get them to your website first.
Suppose you’re imagining that your video will cause someone to think, “Hey, Dr.Gabe seems like a cool guy — I guess I’ll Google him and find where his practice is, and if it’s near me, then I will become his patient!” This is not probable.
Get input before you post
Think about the most critical person you know, the one who sees the dangers and downsides of everything, the one who can always find something to complain about. That’s the person you should show your video to before you upload it.
You may think it’s funny — and it might actually be funny, too, especially to someone who shares your experience. That doesn’t mean it won’t offend visitors.
This tweet showcased a TikTok about doctor responding negatively to a patient who came in with a Google-based self-diagnosis. Have you ever felt dismayed by this situation? If you’re a health professional, you probably have. Your patients don’t want to know that.
And your TikTok followers may not be the same group of people as your patients or prospective patients. The same content that makes a 14 year old think you’re cool could freeze the 35 year old moms who make up your practice. Get some input that can help you avoid crossing the line.
Keep it simple — and fun
If your video needs a box reminding people they can pause the video while they read the info, you are probably making it too complicated. The best examples of health information TikTok doctors are sharing simple information: the correct way to wear a mask during the pandemic, when to contact a doctor about painful periods, and other messages that can be covered well in 60 seconds or less.
Dance, make funny faces, use clever editing… TikTok is all about fun. Then be sure to get a critical colleague to check and make sure you haven’t crossed a line.
Stay HIPAA compliant
All social media must be HIPAA compliant. Don’t share patient names, or any other identifiers. Anything that would allow someone to figure out that you’re talking about a specific patient is too much information.
Just follow the same procedures you already have in place for other social media platforms. Here are some other posts that go into more detail:
- HIPAA-Compliant Social Media
- HIPAA-Compliant Influencer Marketing
- HIPAA-Compliant Blogging
- 5 HIPAA Pitfalls to Watch For
Even if you don’t become TikTok famous, Tis Tok can be a satisfying platform for sharing information.
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