Most business owners first heard about TikTok when former President Trump made it an administration priority to get it banned in 2020. At that time, it would’ve been surprising to think that this app, which mostly seems to feature teens dancing and playing Fortnite, could be a marketing tool.
Since then, it has continued to grow – and the situation has evolved in interesting ways.
First and foremost, TikTok was never banned. Although networks slowed traffic to TikTok during the height of the controversy, it continued to operate in the United States. Second, although owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance, it has an ever-expanding presence around the world.
In 2020, when all eyes were on TikTok, there were about 700 million monthly active users worldwide. In Q4 2021, that figure had risen to 1.2 billion. The app is most popular in Southeast Asia; it was released in Asia a whole year before its international debut. But it also has 105 million North American users.
To put it in perspective, TikTok’s North American footprint has grown about 300% in three years.
While no app can achieve strong global growth forever, TikTok is really only at the beginning of its big push to cultivate an engaged international following. The United States stands to be the biggest growth area for TikTok in the coming year and likely into 2023 as well.
That means more and more of your prospective customers will be found on the platform.
TikTok is also getting much friendlier to adult users with disposable income and businesses that want to advertise to them. When it first arrived on the scene, TikTok posts were limited to 15 seconds. It filled a niche within a niche – replacing the popular short-form comedy platform Vine.
While the surreal Gen Z comedy of Vine informed TikTok in its early years, it is making strides toward being a social platform where people can meet and discuss all kinds of topics. Years later, fewer users even know what Vine was, and more options are available to create and promote TikTok content.
One of the biggest changes is the expansion of TikTok content from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. 3-minute videos are in testing with certain users, suggesting that it will soon be possible to launch a full-fledged video marketing strategy on TikTok in a way that was never possible before.
Orthodontists are among the unexpected success stories on the TikTok platform.
That trend is sure to continue, as TikTok is gradually making its ads more localized and granular. State-level targeting can now be bolstered by even more precise “Designated Market Areas.”
Orthodontists Can Connect with Customers Like Never Before on TikTok
Approximately 50% of TikTok’s entire global audience is under the age of 34, with nearly a third of it between 10 and 19 and around 41% aged between 16 and 24. U.S. adults have been slow to join the party but grew by about 5.5x in the 18-month period ending in January of 2022.
Among adults, females are much more likely to be on TikTok than males, growing at a 2:1 ratio.
Let’s face it: A lot of TikTok’s audience is just too young for orthodontic services. A savvy, emancipated 16-year old won’t be walking in to order braces. But there are two categories of TikTok users that can be central to growing your business:
- Young adults who are at the right age to get significant benefits from orthodontic treatment
- Millennial and, increasingly, Gen Z parents – especially mothers – making healthcare decisions
With this in mind, there’s a fast-growing cadre of orthodontists, dentists, and others in allied professions using video storytelling to make TikTok work for them. If you are familiar with any other video platform, like Facebook Live or Instagram, it can be surprisingly easy to get started.
Let’s look at some of the clever ways you can use TikTok for orthodontist marketing:
1. Short, Informative Videos
Helpful, informative material is the key to content marketing. It helps attract people to your brand when they are at their most interested in what you have to say. Since people aren’t searching TikTok to learn about orthodontics, you need to be creative in how you get information across.
Sixty seconds is enough time for a capsule overview of one topic or a quick set of useful tips. You have just a few seconds to establish who you are and why people should take time to listen to you, so make sure your intro is branded, yet direct and to the point.
For some great examples of exactly how much material you can expect to cover in a short time, check out the In59Seconds YouTube channel. It has more than 1.2 million subscribers. Keeping videos short and easy to follow encourages your audience to check out more of them.
Although TikTok is getting more diverse, it continues to be influenced by its origins as an upstart comedy platform. Visitors who might not slow down for an orthodontist marketing video will be glad to take some time out of their day for a laugh.
When performing comedy in a video, you don’t need to stay focused on topics related to orthodontics. People can learn to recognize your brand and understand what you do through repeated exposure; it doesn’t have to be explained to them every time. But there are a few caveats.
Avoid controversial topics, which can be much more trouble than they are worth. Although everyone strives to post frequently and consistently on social media, it might be worthwhile to take a week out before posting a funny video – enough time to ask yourself if it’s still funny!
3. Q&A and Behind-the-Scenes
When you are doing Q&A videos, you don’t need to be collecting those “Qs” fresh from your TikTok audience. Any questions you’ve received from current or prospective patients can do. Yet, framing a video as Q&A makes it feel more lively and responsive to TikTok viewers.
Just as some people are nervous about dentistry, the same thing can be said for orthodontic care. Your videos can be a welcoming way for potential customers to “visit” your office, see your equipment, discover procedures, and meet your team members before they actually set foot inside.
New York Ave Helps You Get a Running Start on Emerging Social Media Platforms
The social media landscape has changed rapidly in the last two years. Exciting new ideas are coming to the forefront, and plucky newcomers are challenging established social media titans. It is no longer enough to do some online advertising through Facebook and hope for the best!
With so many options to choose from, however, you simply can’t do it all.
New York Ave is the trusted Central Florida marketing agency that helps orthodontists make sense of social media marketing. We learn about your business and tune into your needs so your marketing attracts your ideal customers.
Contact us to learn more or get started today.