Using TikTok to Grow Medical and Healthcare Businesses: Tips, Strategies, and More

TikTok continues to grow like wildfire across Southeast Asia.

But it’s only used by teens, right? And it only makes marketing sense for those in eCommerce, gaming, and other trendy industries, right? 

not true gif

Not the case. In Singapore, close to 51% of all users are 34 or older, and 48% are health conscious. 

If you’ve considered adding TikTok to your medical or healthcare digital marketing efforts, but have been on the fence, now might be the time to commit. In this guide we’ll walk you through:

  • The wealth of opportunity on TikTok for those in healthcare and medical
  • How digital health and telemedicine are influencing your potential client base
  • Whether you should commit to growing organically or run TikTok ads
  • 5 tips for marketing your clinic on TikTok
  • 3 examples of healthcare and medical clinics excelling on TikTok

Why Commit to TikTok?

As we’ve already mentioned, plenty of marketing professionals feel TikTok is only used by teens and it doesn’t work for businesses unless you’re in a fun and trendy industry. Others doubt whether or not TikTok engagement could actually lead to business.

TikTok’s Age Demographics in Southeast Asia Are Balanced

The age of TikTok users in most SEA countries is somewhat balanced. In Singapore, more than half of all users are older than 34. In other countries, the majority of users are younger, but older users are growing steadily (data from TikTok).

  Age 18-24 Age 25-34 Age 35-44 Age 44-54 Age 55+
Singapore 22.92% 35.16% 22.12% 12.45% 7.35%
Thailand 29.15% 34.78% 18.29% 9.55% 8.23%
Indonesia 38.42% 42.34% 11.78% 4.96% 2.50%
Philippines 44.76% 35.63% 11.89% 4.72% 3.00%
Vietnam 37.86% 40.05% 13.49% 5.23% 3.37%
Malaysia 31.22% 36.79% 18.77% 8.67% 4.45%

While it’s a smaller percentage of users, there are still hundreds of millions of users in older age demographics across the region. 

TikTok Users Spend Lots of Time of the Platform

Another great benefit of TikTok – whether in Asia or elsewhere in the world – is its extraordinary engagement. There are more than 300 million monthly active TikTok users in Southeast Asia, and the average session is more than 400 seconds (data from TikTok).

Platform Average Session Duration
TikTok 405 seconds
Facebook 202 seconds
Instagram 131 seconds
Twitter 130 seconds
Snapchat 95 seconds

The average session duration is more than double the average session on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Engagement is high, opening the door for marketers in industries like healthcare and medicine to take advantage.

Users Go to TikTok for Brand and Product Research

Believe it or not, TikTok is becoming a hub for health-related brand and product research. In Singapore, 46% of users come to TikTok to discover brands and research products (data from TikTok).

38% have made purchase decisions based on social media ads and 31% based on recommendations or comments seen on social media (data from TikTok).

TikTok is an extremely viable platform through which to grow your brand awareness and nurture prospects into patients and customers.

TikTok is Changing Healthcare Marketing

Since 2020, more and more users are heading to TikTok for information on health-related topics including healthy living, healthy eating, and more. 

As digital health and telemedicine grow, more and more people are getting used to picking up their phone for health-related questions. Compared to 2019 averages, Doctor Anywhere and MyDoc usage is up by 156% and 147% respectively.

So it’s no surprise that accounts like @dockilimanguru and @drjuliesmith have amassed 4 million followers each by giving health and psychology tips

dr julie smith tiktok profile
dr kilimanguru tiktok profile

As this trend continues to grow, the opportunity for healthcare marketers to grow a following and build their audience on TikTok grows, too.

Should You Grow Organically or Pay for TikTok Ads?

A popular question most healthcare and medical marketers ask is whether they should start an account, post regularly, and grow a following over time – or just save some time and effort and by running paid TikTok ads?

It’s a great question, but the answer isn’t straightforward.

TikTok Ads cost around $10 per CPM (thousand impressions). This means that if you wanted to receive 500,000 impressions in a month, you’d need to spend around $500.

On the other hand, you could rack up 500,000 video views in a month for free with some consistent posting and creative reel ideas – though it’s not guaranteed and could take more than a few months.

TopView TikTok Ad
TopView TikTok Ad

To give you a bit more perspective, Online Marketing Vogg was able to generate over 1.3 million impressions and 7700 clicks for a little over $590 from a TikTok ad campaign. For another campaign which was a bit more niche, they got over 700,000 impressions and 7000 clicks for $1300.

InFeed TikTok Ad
InFeed TikTok Ad

Compared to other advertising platforms, TikTok offers a much better value for healthcare and medical brands, but doesn’t help you determine whether to pay for ads or go the organic growth route. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Are you looking to grow your brand and following over the long term? If so, grow organically. If you need patients and sales right now, consider running ads.
  • Are the topics you’ll cover trendy, broad, and interesting? If so, you could grow pretty quickly by posting consistently. If your topics are more niche and might only appeal to a small audience, ads might get you more results faster.
  • Do you have the budget for ads? If so, ads certainly make sense. If you’re running a lean operation right now, growing organically might be your best bet.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to choose. If you’re looking to go all-in on TikTok, create a profile, start posting, and launch an ad campaign at the same time. They will supplement each other as you grow.

5 Tips for Marketing Your Healthcare Business on TikTok

If you’ve been in the social media marketing space for some time, you’ve probably heard, “Publish often. Just start posting.” While there’s some truth to that, your growth will be more related to the quality of your reels than the quantity – though quantity can definitely help.

So as you get started marketing your healthcare or medical business on TikTok, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your time on the platform.

1. Create a Business Account – But Personal Profile

As you’re getting started, you’ll ask yourself and your team, “Should we create a business account or a personal account? And should we present our brand our ourselves” In other words, if you run a chiropractic clinic called Align, you could create an account called “Align Chiropractic,” or you could create an account for the primary doctor (or team of doctors, like @tiktokdocs_sg).

Walmart TikTok Profile
TikTokDocs SG TikTok Profile

Our recommendation: set up your account as a business account – it will give you access to crucial insights and analytics.

BUT, unless your brand is already very well-known, make your business account look like a personal account. Be your own brand ambassador. Show your faces and be the actors of your own videos.

It certainly seems like Tiktok users latch onto and are more likely to follow individual personalities. Some of the largest accounts in the healthcare space aren’t companies, but individual doctors and healthcare professionals.

2. See what’s working for others

Before starting to make reels, it’s important to perform some competitor analysis and research. Find some competitors or similar brands and see what kinds of posts perform best for them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding someone in your field (or a similar one) and replicating aspects of their approach that are working.

Not sure where to look for inspiration? Type in a hashtag related to your specialty and start looking around.

TikTok Explore Feed

We’d also recommend starting to follow some similar accounts and hashtags so you can keep an eye on trends over time.

3. Create Content Pillars

Generating consistent reel ideas is tough. One option is to just start answering commonly asked questions related to your healthcare field. This is a great place to start.

social media content pillars

But long term, once you’ve covered the low hanging fruit, you’ll find it harder and harder to generate ideas. One helpful solution is to create content pillars. These are predetermined topics or themes you’ll post on regularly. Think of them as “buckets.”

For example, a physiotherapist might create content pillars for injury recognition, injury prevention, and rehab. Every reel will fall into one of those categories.

When they get stumped, they can start with one of their pillars and work their way down through subtopics and related questions.

Content pillars also serve your audience, helping them know what to expect and creating a consistent profile.

4. Leverage TikTok Trends

TikTok is all about trends, and you can drastically increase your visibility by tapping into them. Trends are a great way to set your healthcare clinic apart from others and show up in more of your audience’s feed.

Trends are simply a type of video that can be recreated by other users very easily and made personal. Sometimes they involve a dance, other times they’re more like “templates.”

To identify trends, just look for the same type of posts showing up from different accounts in your feed. Sometimes they’ll all be tagged with the same hashtag, but not always. A lot of trends also use the same background song or audio.

Once you’ve identified a trend you want to leverage, consider how you can take a healthcare / medical spin on it. This kind of content is sure to perform well with your target audience.

Here’s a great example from nurse Miki Rai tapping into a popular trend: 

Doctor and Nurse TikTok Reel

And here’s another from Dr. Julie Smith recreating the “what most people think X looks like” trend.

Medical TikTok Reel

5. Make Your Profile Page a Library of Educational Information

Most of your reels will be viewed on users’ Explore page. But as your brand grows, more and more people will be coming to your profile page to see what kinds of things you typically post about and what you’ve shared in the past. 

Here’s a look at Alodokter’s profile page:

Alodokter TikTok Profile

Based on their cover images for each video, you can quickly get a good feel for the topics they cover and the types of content they post. You can even go back and catch up on topics that catch your eye.

Some tips for creating a profile page that validates you as an authority in your field:

  • Use a title on all of your covers that accurately portrays what the video is about (and hooks the user)
  • Be consistent with your covers for each type of content you post… for example, make your educational content stand out compared to a testimonial or funny reel
  • Anytime you do a series of sequential posts, make sure you label them so people can go back and catch up if they missed a few

3 Great Examples of Healthcare Marketing on TikTok

1. The TikTok Docs

TikTokDocs Singapore

These guys do a textbook job of creating focused and educational healthcare content around their core specialties. They amassed almost 250K followers in just 6 months of posting.

What They Do Well:

The TikTok Docs solely create content targeting common ailments and provide valuable ways to find relief. It’s educational, genuinely valuable, and highly relevant.

TikTokDocs profile

They’re very consistent in style and cover image – making it easy to go back and look through any of their older content you might find useful. 

2. Dr. Kilimanguru

Dr Kilimanguru TikTok

Dr. Kilimanguru has 4.4 million followers. Think that’s played a big role in the massive growth of his practice? You bet.

What He Does Well:

Dr. Kilimanguru has done a great job of establishing a few core content pillars. He alternates between helpful healthcare content, answering follower’s questions, and posting funny, personable content.

Tiktok Reel doctor
Q&A TikTok Reel
Medical Q&A TikTok Reel

His funny content is always crafted from the viewpoint of the patient. This is very important! You might be tempted to share in-depth information and new research your peers would find useful, but keep your ideal audience in mind! Unless you want to use TikTok to network with peers in your field – always ask, “Would a potential patient find this helpful/interesting or not?”

He’s also been posting consistently for quite a long time now – a key reason his follower base continues to grow.

3. Dr. Julie Smith

Dr Julie Smith TikTok Reel

Dr. Julie Smith is based in the UK, and has managed to grow her psychology-focused account to 4 million followers in a relatively short amount of time.

What She Does Well:

Dr. Smith posts very informative “list reels.” These are just like list posts and tend to perform very well on TikTok. One big reason why is that they keep viewers watching until the end, which sends signals to TikTok that your content is engaging, increasing its chances of showing up in more feeds.

TikTok list reel A
TikTok List Reel B

On top of that, she’s clearly tapped into a very popular topic that a lot of people have questions around. But don’t fear if you’re in a less trendy field, it just means you’ll have to get more creative when generating content ideas.

Grow Your Healthcare or Medical Business with TikTok

There’s no doubt TikTok is here to stay in Singapore and throughout Southeast Asia. It’s also clear the platform’s demographic is becoming more and more balanced as older users continue to join.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider using it for your healthcare or medical clinic. The opportunity is there! Don’t miss out on it.

Need help crafting or managing your TikTok strategy? Our team would love to help!

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