Did you TikTok in 2020? If you did, you were among tens of millions who did as they searched for ways to be entertained during the pandemic lockdowns. In 2021, TikTok’s popularity continues, as it was the number one non-gaming app downloaded in May, a position it has held for many months.
Despite concerns from various government entities, Tiktok’s growth rate shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s predicted that the platform will have one billion users by the end of this year. TikTook claims to have 100 million active monthly users in the US, with half of them using the app on a daily basis. Many brands are noticing this growth and beginning to incorporate the platform into their social media and marketing plans.
Healthcare and public health promotions have seen some success on Tiktok. In the early days of the pandemic, Procter & Gamble produced a TikTok video at the request of the governor of Ohio which urged young people to stay home and distance themselves socially. Featuring Charli D’Amelio, TikTok’s biggest star, doing the #DistanceDance, the video went viral with 17.7 billion views. The Lysol brand also turned to TikTok to create a video promoting CDC guidelines using song and dance.
Healthcare providers, too, have hopped on the Tiktok bandwagon. Physicians, nurses and other providers have created fun and entertaining videos, including @thetelepsychatrist, who delivers mental-health tips in English and Spanish. Healthcare providers realize that using fun and engaging videos can be an important vehicle for delivering important healthcare information, especially to younger audiences. A few providers using TikTok include:
Dr. Tyeese Gaines, an ER physician and physician media coach, says TikTok isn’t for everyone. "Every social media outlet has its own personality. At its best, TikTok is entertaining, fun and light…If we’re going to get information through to younger folks, particularly around complicated topics like health and medicine, we have to meet them where they are. And if they are on TikTok, then that’s where we have to go.”
Gaines continues, "I’m not sure there are enough doctors on TikTok yet to make it a good choice. My perception is that, overall, doctors are slower to move to new social channels."
In fact, Gaines says she still spends a fair amount of time convincing doctors why they need to be on any social media at all. While she believes in TikTok’s staying power, she notes that “if it doesn’t have the right audience for what you’re trying to do, it just doesn’t make sense.”