Healthcare and Pharma on TikTok : Taking a Pulse on the Marketing Opportunities

April 1, 2022
Posted by: Rishi Kadiwar, VP Strategy- DTC

We’ve all seen the inventive lip-sync routines and hashtag dance challenges. With over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok has undoubtedly taken the online world by storm. And its surging popularity has already attracted brands eager to join the creator-led platform.

But the healthcare industry is generally taking more of a wait-and-see approach. Can they dance around regulatory concerns and successfully engage in this highly entertaining space?

The short answer is: yes.   


Although known as a social hub for Gen-Zers, TikTok also hosts a unique healthcare ecosystem with its own intricacies and benefits. The platform is steadily growing popular among HCPs and patients, providing them with a fresh format to share their unique points of view. Creators are also using the platform to discuss more complex issues, ranging from mental health awareness to social accountability.

At its core, TikTok is a platform to share short-form videos, ranging from a few seconds to 10-minutes in length. The app’s stickiness is based on its unique feature set and the instant gratification it provides – resulting in more creators and brands flocking to the platform. TikTok provided a perfect mix during the pandemic: distracting content to interest viewers with very little divisive politics. Unlike other social media, it provided an uplifting experience at a time when people were looking for an escape.

TikTok also offered the perfect place to serve up simple, bite-sized information to help educate users about complex topics. The medical community organically seized this opportunity and is actively engaging on the platform to connect with viewers in new ways. Influencers like Dr. Stella, who provides Covid-19 updates while dancing to some of the hottest songs on the platform, is just one example.

Users on TikTok are also forging their own communities related to healthcare; users are providing a unique point of view of living with a condition. Individuals engage and gather through the use of hashtags, much like Twitter and Instagram. Together, patients and advocates are harnessing the platform’s unique features to tell their stories. In turn, marketing on TikTok has an opportunity to recognize and celebrate these communities by providing resources and relevant content.  

Another attractive feature of the app is its purity. Its algorithm has not been tainted by trolls, political bickering, and other unwanted content. This purity makes TikTok the perfect platform to foster dialogue and organic engagement. By identifying and working with a range of healthcare influencers, the healthcare industry has a powerful opportunity to share educational messages across various therapeutic areas in an authentic, accessible, and potentially high-reach way.

And while the healthcare and pharma industry may harbor regulatory concerns, brands should realize that launching pharma content on TikTok is very similar to engaging on other platforms. The industry is no stranger to video content on social media. So translating these proven approaches to TikTok ensures marketers are compliant. By using learnings from other social media programs, marketers have a low-risk entry to this promising platform.

Although TikTok for healthcare is still relatively new, healthcare and pharma should feel energized about the potential of the world’s fastest-growing social platform. And look forward to devising new ways of dancing into the hearts and minds of its users.

Take the next step and DOWNLOAD this comprehensive guide to healthcare and pharma marketing on TikTok