tiktok for doctors

Tiktok for doctors: Nonsense or a must-have?

Chances are you will hear from TikTok outside the context of your medical practice. You would hear about it on the news or your kids may tell you about it. Today, we examine if there is such a thing as TikTok for doctors. Spoiler alert: there is, because some early adaptors are already using it to drive traffic to their practice. 

tiktok for doctors

Tiktok for doctors: Nonsense or a must-have?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

May 6, 2022

What is Tiktok about and can it be used for healthcare?

tiktok for health content

As I set up my account, the cliche that currently applies to TikTok gets confirmed. We seem to enter a universe where young people are dancing and they are often in bikinis or swimwear. That positions the platform and confirms its average user age is 14-25. 


As we all know, platforms evolve and in just a few years, what was once a dark corner of the internet, can become mainstream. Facebook and Instagram have shown us that new user groups enter the platform as the early adaptors also grow up into mature consumers.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Can TikTok be used for digital marketing in healthcare? It already is being used. The question is, who wants to take the risk of spending time and resources there while it’s still not mainstream to select your surgeon based on a music clip?"

As with many platforms, growth only comes after a period of consistent use and dedicated efforts to grow an audience. Doctors with thousands or millions of followers use this as part of their overall online presence and are able to pop up in more places, compared to their digitally less-savvy competitors. So it’s an individual decision, and in the end it’s a matter of being aware that this is a rapidly growing platform with millions of users. (1 billion at the end of 2021). That is why TikTok for health content is not a matter of ‘maybe or if’, it’s more about deciding when you will feel the market pressure and decide to set up your account. 

1 billion users but are they your future patients?

TikTok for bariatrics

We inspect the same question for other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in our day-to-day work with leading surgeons and specialist doctors. 

Does it actually generate new patients when you start publishing content to social media profiles?

Dr Mario Camelo in Mexico applies the more traditional types of digital medical marketing via his bariatric surgery website. His Tiktok profile, @superdrsleeve has 13,000 followers. Not the most popular doctor on TikTok from a global perspective, but an interesting case to demonstrate what doctors actually do on TikTok.

Most of the testimonials that were captured as short TikTok video clips would generate an AHPRA complaint here in Australia, so let’s agree that nobody in their right mind will take this as an example and start tiktok-ing testimonials.

The creative clip to discuss weight loss surgery without actually discussing it, is worth noticing.


TikTok for bariatrics and weight loss surgery marketing? This is a space we would definitely keep an eye on, because of the visual component of both the treatment and the platform. And because with TikTok, we don’t want to miss the boat when it appears to be growing at an astronomical speed. 

TikTok in women’s health and fertility marketing

TikTok for fertility marketing

Another interesting TikTok account worth checking is @tiktokbabydoc. Well done for creating a username that is easy to remember. 

Tiktokbabydoc is actually a Professor in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Dr Clark. And one of the first things that strike me when I check out Dr Clark’s more traditional digital assets away from TikTok, is the marketing creativity she already demonstrated before TikTok existed.

Dr Clark’s website is BabiesAfter35.com and does a great job in storytelling, rapport and trust-building, when we look at the content she uses to attract patients and convert leads.

The story resonates with many people because Shannon experienced infertility when trying to start a family at the age of 40. Via donor egg conception she was then able to have twins at the age of almost 43. TikTok is a great channel for Shannon to reach additional prospective patients, beyond the realm of Google Search or traditional platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. To have 397k followers there is probably proof that TikTok for fertility marketing can become a relevant marketing tactic, and also for specialist doctors in general.

@tiktokbabydoc #stitch with @thisisdagnyspeaking we need more data on long term efffects/risks, but immediate benefit to preterm babies is undisputed. #pregnancy #pregnancytiktok #steroids #pretermlabor #pretermdelivery ♬ original sound - Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS

Why we think this could become ‘a thing’

tiktok in medical

Tiktok in medical communication is almost like a contradiction in itself. When we think of serious health concerns, we don’t think about 60-second video clips with people dancing. 

But the content evolves, and so does the general acceptance and the curiosity of people who weren’t part of the initial wave of Tiktok users.

Music and sound are strong elements in the whole audiovisual experience of the online space, simply because there’s an emotional connection and all this energy captures the attention.

The other strong side of Tiktok is that it fills your entire screen, creating an immersive experience, more than embedded videos or video posts on Facebook or Instagram.

As always, it’s going to be a numbers game and with TikTok available in 75 languages across 150 markets, it has millions of users who are not even using the other platforms anymore.

The 20-year-old who has been using TikTok since it launched, might be your ideal patient anytime between 5 and 10 years from now.

If you’re not anywhere near retirement, chances are we will have more to say about Tiktok in the coming years, and you will thank yourself for at least having looked into it in the early days.

There are good ways and bad ways to use it

tiktok strategies for doctors

TikTok strategies for doctors are not without risk. Random dance clips in theatre will not go down well in this part of the world. Do not copy those examples of TikTok usage. 

Testimonials are not allowed under the AHPRA regulations in Australia. Do not copy those examples either.

Think of it as a unique opportunity to reorganise some of your information, package it up in a short 30-60 second clip and add an ethically acceptable personal touch to it.

I quite like Dr Matthew Harb’s creative and stylish use of the Tiktok video format. He’s still focusing on patient education and reaches his target audience by adding key messages about his enthusiasm and what to expect as a patient.

Let's meet

Let’s see if TikTok is for you

advice on the use of TikTok as a doctor

If you want advice on the use of Tiktok as a doctor, or the use of other social media platforms to build and maintain your online lead generation, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session today. I look forward to hearing more about your practice and your business growth.

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