Medico Digital Insights

TikTok & Snapchat for healthcare marketing

PPC | Social media

Read time

8 min


26th April 2021


Written by Inara Sihat


Social Media

How to use new social media platforms to grow your online presence among patients.


Create low-cost content for video based social media platforms
Grow an audience on TikTok and Snapchat
Turn your audience into paying patients

Read time: 5 minutes

Video and image-based social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat have exploded over the last few years. Tiktok’s estimated user number from January 2021 is 689 million users per month, with the expectation that the number will reach over 1.2 billion a month later this year.

Increasingly, these platforms cater not just to millenials and Gen-Z, but a wide range of age groups. Would you have guessed that as of December 2020, 21% of TikTok users are over 40, and 9% are over 51?

That being said, we recommend you read the rest of this article before jumping on the bandwagon. Just like other social media platforms, embedding TikTok & Snapchat successfully into your healthcare marketing mix will require a well thought out strategy. What are your goals? How will you measure success? Read on to find out how you can get started, and avoid playing catch up later on.

KYIV, UKRAINE-JANUARY, 2020: Tiktok on Smart Phone Screen. Young Girl Pointing or Texting Tiktok on Smart Phone During a Pandemic Self-Isolation and Coronavirus Prevention.

The Basics

TikTok is a video-based social network. The app has been downloaded more than a billion times, is the seventh most downloaded app of the past ten years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Users create short videos to share with the world, overlaying text, emojis, filters and music. Videos are typically around 15 seconds long or you can create one-minute clips by combining 4 videos.

Snapchat is a mobile messaging app with over 220 million users globally, enabling people to send short videos or pictures to one another. Like TikTok, on Snapchat users can overlay their “snaps” with filters, text and doodles. Unlike TikTok, people mostly use Snapchat to connect with friends and family, and you define how long someone can view your snap for with a maximum time limit of just 10 seconds.

Remember choosing the right partner is often less about vanity metrics such as the number of followers, and more about finding an authentic fit for your brand and audience.

TikTok Marketing

Thanks to its outward-facing approach, TikTok lends itself well to branded content. Brands can set up a profile and videos are published publicly. Users are more likely to find, follow and search for company content than they are on Snapchat, and you can increase the discoverability of videos using hashtags.

TikTok also has a few ad products on offer: in-feed ads, branded hashtags, top view ads, branded effects and brand takeover. In-feed ads are likely to offer you the best ROI unless you have a sizable budget to spend on the platform. Similar to Instagram Stories they offer you the opportunity to integrate content to your audience’s ‘For You’ feed and include a call-to-action, such as a link to your website.

Like other social advertising platforms, campaign set up starts by selecting an objective. Choose whether your focus is reach, traffic, app installs, video views or conversions.

The ad platform structure is similar to Facebook’s, with one difference in the set up process. In order to complete account setup you will have to pass an account review, all being well and you’ve followed the policies you should be approved and ready to go in no time.

If it’s influencer marketing opportunities you’re interested in, we recommend checking out the TikTok Creator Marketplace which allows you to dig into the audience demographics and trends driving content collaboration. You’ll need to verify your business to access most of the features. Remember choosing the right partner is often less about vanity metrics such as the number of followers, and more about finding an authentic fit for your brand and audience.

Look for micro and nano influencers, creators with small but engaged follower bases such as healthcare professionals and patients focusing on specific conditions. Once you’ve found that partner, trust them to know what content works, try not to be too restrictive during the creative process, and make sure you set clearly defined goals and KPIs so you can measure performance.

Snapchat Marketing

Snapchat on the other hand, is more commonly used for friend-to-friend content. Although brands can still set up a profile, users have to friend them to see their content. So your best chance of being visible on Snapchat is by purchasing ads to appear in the Discover area, which will enable you to add a link to your content as well.

Snapchat offers a range of ad products: single image or video ads, collection ads (think about these as a more dynamic version of Facebook carousel ads), story ads, lenses AR experience, commercials and filters.

Choose from 5 different advertising goals: website visits, promote local place, calls & texts, app installs or app visits. You can also track conversions.

Collaborating with influencers can also increase your visibility significantly on this platform, but as with TikTok you’ll want to make sure you’re engaging with the right ones for your business. So do your due diligence on engagement and demographics and think about your call-to-action, given clickable links back to a website can’t be included on organic content.


Using TikTok and Snapchat for Healthcare Marketing

The real reason you’re here – how can you successfully add TikTok and Snapchat to your healthcare marketing mix?

The main demographic on TikTok and Snapchat may not fit your primary patient persona but remember these age groups visit GPs, search online for healthcare information, visit healthcare specialists and look for mental health support. Data also shows that you can successfully reach multiple age groups as the volume of older users is growing rapidly. The apps also manage to keep their audience as they age. Which means you can build informed, long term relationships over time.

Below we’ve listed the three main ways you can get involved.

  • Drive awareness around healthcare issues
  • Generate patient enquiries
  • Social listening and establishing trust

One way you can use these platforms is to provide healthcare information and advice. Think along the lines of using short-form video ads to encourage people, especially younger generations, to schedule a checkup for a cervical smear test or find out more about sexual health services.

A good example of leveraging hashtags to drive awareness is the collaboration between TikTok and the mental health charity Mind. They launched the #SpeakYourMind hashtag challenge to mark Mental Health Awareness Week during 2020 and videos using the hashtag racked up a whopping 770 million views. Both NICE and Public Health England have also turned to Snapchat filters as a tool for educating young people about antibiotic resistance and STDs respectively.

Engaging with health influencers is another great way to ramp up conversations about healthcare and you’ll find creators covering a range of healthcare issues across both platforms such as @drjuliesmith, @drleslie, or @dralexgeorge a qualified NHS doctor who appeared on the programme Love Island and has since been appointed a young mental health ambassador by the government.

Generate patient enquiries

If you have budget to spend, both TikTok and Snapchat could be used for generating patient enquiries. You’ll need to install the relevant pixels on your website and invest in ads in order to add a link to your content which can be traced back to conversion goals on your website.

It’s also important to ensure you’re staying within the policies of each platform. Be mindful that the promotion of prescriptive, performance or weight loss drugs and cosmetic procedures are prohibited for a lot of countries on both platforms, or may be subject to age restrictions in others.

Lead generation might be a fairly experimental process on either TikTok or Snapchat at the moment but with relatively low costs attached. Get used to the platforms now and any insights you generate could put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors who start in years to come.

Social listening and establishing trust

Apps like TikTok make sharing real-world stories easy. Whether celebrating health wins, sharing fertility journeys or documenting what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer, people are coming to the platform to share their stories and inspire raw and honest conversations. Your brand can join those conversations too, raising awareness of important issues and establishing authenticity and trust. 

Take a look at the type of content published on TikTok around Multiple Sclerosis for example. It’s had over 57 million views and sees users answer questions and share stories. Diabetes is another hashtag that’s seen videos viewed over 1.6 billion times. Use these platforms to have fun, get creative with your brand, and experiment.

Next Steps

Feeling ready to start investing in TikTok and Snapchat? Allow us to give you one fair warning.

You may already use video content on other social media platforms but tread carefully if you’re considering repurposing existing video content for TikTok and Snapchat. As you explore these platforms you’ll notice there’s a huge emphasis on creativity, and a tone of voice that’s unlike that of other social media. Music plays a big role and if you’re going to be successful you’ll need to hit the right tone and keep up with the latest trends. While also keeping an eye on future developments such as TikTok’s plan to add a live stream shopping feature

A solid strategy would be to diversify your Instagram content strategy into reels (the Instagram TikTok clone competitor), and repurpose that content to dip your toes into TikTok. It provides a 0 risk way of starting to build an audience on TikTok while ensuring you get maximum value from your content creation time on Instagram.

Keep in mind that as a healthcare organisation with a very specific target audience, you may want to focus on demonstrating ROI on the more established social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram first, before investing in Snapchat and TikTok.

Running campaigns across all of these channels isn’t easy – the support of an agency can help you get this right, while ensuring you meet your goals.

If you’d like to get started on TikTok and Snapchat but still have questions we’d love to hear from you.

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