Note: this article refers to “younger audiences.” In the context of plastic surgery, whose core target market is women between 35-55, the “younger audience” is women 22-35—TikTok’s prime demographic when this article was first written. We’ve never had a conversation with an existing or prospective plastic surgeon that was interested in targeting teenagers.
Not many cosmetic surgery practices realize how effective TikTok is for plastic surgery marketing.
Over the last 3 years, TikTok has exploded in popularity, with over 1 billion monthly users, and may be more effective at building the social media presence of your plastic surgery practice than you think.
Some of the most impactful plastic surgery influencers are building their audiences on TikTok right now!
The #plasticsurgery hashtag on TikTok has over 16.4 billion views, with content ranging from educational videos to plastic surgeons doing viral TikTok dances.
No matter how you position your plastic surgery practice on this content spectrum, there is a great chance that you can find value marketing your cosmetic surgery practice on TikTok.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is still the world’s fast-growing social media app, with that allows users to create and share video content. Often described as a cross between Vine and Snapchat, users can film, edit, and share videos, as well as follow, like, engage with, and comment on other users’ content.
What Makes TikTok Different From Other Platforms?
The biggest difference between TikTok and other social media platforms is the app’s highly customized “For You Page,” which allows users to view content from accounts that are highly relevant to them without ever having to find and follow them.
This is a huge advantage for businesses because it allows companies to build brand awareness in an extended target audience that they normally cannot reach.
TikTok is also different because it exclusively deals in short-form video content. There is no alternative content on TikTok like text-based posts on Twitter or static images on Instagram.
This means that in order to be successful on TikTok, your practice must get comfortable with editing and sharing short, 60 second videos.
Why Would Plastic Surgeons Want To Use TikTok?
While it may seem like a stretch to say that cosmetic surgeons need TikTok to have a successful digital marketing mix, some of the most successful plastic surgeons have become influencers thanks to TikTok.
Dr. Daniel Barrett, known as @barrettplasticsurgey on TikTok has over two million followers as of January 2023, while only having 593,000 Instagram followers (still impressive)—many of which migrated from the surgeon’s TikTok profile.
Dr. Barrett was able to reach one million followers within six months of creating his TikTok account!
Before You Start Your TikTok
The best way to learn more about how to market as a healthcare provider is to start producing your own content. However, before you start posting you should consider your marketing goals, who you wish to target, and how you plan to get approval from your legal team prior to posting.
Consider Your Target Audience
In plastic surgery marketing, not every message will suit every audience. The demographic for a facelift looks much different than the typical age range for breast augmentations or nose surgery.
You always want to tailor content to what will provide value to its audience, so procedures that are most popular for younger audiences will perform the best on TikTok.
Identify Your Marketing Goals
The primary marketing goals that plastic surgery practices should be targeting on TikTok are exposure, awareness, and fan engagement. While these performance metrics are not as directly attributed to sales, they are important for building a client base.
TikTok is also a great way to have continual interactions with potential clients during their sales cycle. When a consumer is considering cosmetic surgery, they do not go with the first google result they find.
Instead, prospective patients weigh their options for months, or even years, before committing to a surgeon and procedure. By continually showing up on potential customers’ “For You” page with quality content, you will stay at the forefront of consumers’ minds.
Create Legal Approval Systems
As popular as plastic surgery-related content is on TikTok, medical institutions still hold responsibility for their patients’ lives, and therefore, go through legal approval systems to avoid any legal repercussions. This means that if you are a plastic surgeon operating through a healthcare facility such as a hospital, these legal considerations are especially impactful on your ability to post content on TikTok.
There are many regulations to follow such as HIPAA, which legally requires healthcare workers to protect the privacy of patient information. There is also the national social media guidelines for doctors, which highlights the importance of professionalism and appropriate patient-physician relationships.
Each medical institution has different rules established to protect their patients, so in order to establish a presence on TikTok, marketing departments must collaborate with their respective legal divisions for approval prior to posting content.
Creating a Profile That Reflects Your Practice
Potential customers want to work with a surgeon they feel they know and trust. For this reason, plastic surgery practices must be careful about creating a profile that is both trustworthy and consistent with its other digital media presences.
Use Consistent Branding
Joining TikTok as a cosmetic practice, you will be competing with plastic surgeons around the world. With this in mind, it is imperative that your brand name, tone, and visuals are consistent.
This means that your TikTok username and biography should provide valuable information, such as your practice name and location, as well as the plastic surgeon’s name. It is also a good idea to link to other resources such as your website using your bio. Both of these aspects of your profile should be distinctive while remaining uniform to your other social media platforms.
Get Your Profile Verified
Getting your account verified on TikTok will show users that the account is legitimate and tied to your plastic surgery practice. It is especially hard to get verification on TikTok because unlike other social media platforms, you cannot apply for verification. However, making sure that your account meets the strict criteria and guidelines that TikTok provides for verification is one step in the right direction.
Content that Performs Well on Medical TikTok
It can be overwhelming to come up with content ideas for your plastic surgery practice when first getting familiar with TikTok, especially when there is a lot of existing competition you need to outperform. For this reason, we included some videos that will be sure to engage your target audience.
Health education TikToks are often posted by surgeons with the intention of facilitating specialized education, disproving false information, and promoting an environment for open discussion.
Depending on your practice’s services and specializations, there are a ton of content opportunities for plastic surgeons interested in posting educational TikToks. In the case of @therealtiktokdoc he used the TikTok video below to show a curious user how he replaces a broken glove during surgery and still remains sterile.
@therealtiktokdocReply to @mrsandman_66 ##learnontiktok ##brownsanatomy ##plasticsurgery
@therealtiktokdocReply to @mrsandman_66 ##learnontiktok ##brownsanatomy ##plasticsurgery
Client Transformations are what you are most likely to find upon scrolling through the #plasticsurgery hashtag on TikTok. This makes sense, as viewers love the satisfaction of seeing instant results. One way to set your patient transformations apart from the competition (aside from having great results) is to include clips from your client consultation. Dr. Paymsn Simoni, @simoniplastic provides a great example of this in the TikTok below.
@simoniplasticCute nose job by Dr Paymsn Simoni in Beverly Hills. ##plasticsurgery ##rhinoplasty ##beverlyhills ##nosejob
Including client consultations in your transformation videos, shows that you are able to listen to your client, agree on expectations prior to surgery, and deliver on those promises.
Behind The Scenes
Many viewers, whether potential clients, medical professionals or simply interested users, love to see what goes on during plastic surgery procedures. In the TikTok below @Drhermespelayo is showing viewers how breast implants are handled during surgery to ensure that they are kept sterile.
@drhermespelayoBrand new Implants! ##artistsoftiktok ##plasticsurgery
TikTok has a huge trend culture and the best performing TikToks are often ones that partake in the latest trending sounds, challenges, or hashtags. Cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Barret, better known as @barretplasticsurgery on TikTok, was able to get over 345,000 views on this TikTok, using the #whereisthelovechallenge.
@barrettplasticsurgeryIt’s the smiles on my patients faces for me. 🙏🏻 ##whereisthelovechallenge ##plasticsurgeon ##plasticsurgery ##doctor ##happy ##foryou ##fyp
The easiest way to find content that you can use is simply by staying active on TikTok and frequently looking at what kinds of challenges or sounds are coming up over and over on your “For You” page. Another way to find trend opportunities is by using TikTok’s Discovery page, where TikTok shows all the trending hashtags according to your location and popular videos by category.
Celebrity Plastic Surgery
Another trend that is commonly followed by plastic surgeons is reviewing celebrity transformations to determine if they have had any plastic surgery done. Tabloids have been doing this for decades and gaining attention, but there is much more validity in a plastic surgeon giving his or her opinions.
@tonyyounmdHas Madison Beer had plastic surgery? A surgeon answers once and for all! ##madisonbeer @madisonbeer ##plasticsurgery ##beforeandafter ##nosejob ##fyp
As a word of caution, we recommend remaining careful when making any statements involving celebrities. There have been instances of plastic surgeons receiving backlash and even lawsuits for making assumptions about celebrity plastic surgery, and communicating those opinions as facts.
Can TikTok Ads Work for Plastic Surgeons?
The short answer to this question is maybe. TikTok ads are relatively new and have only been an option for businesses since January 2019. TikTok’s current ad guidelines prohibit ads that focus on ‘sensitive’ body parts, bloody scenes, and require a more rigorous approval process for any healthcare-related advertisements.
Also, because ads on TikTok are new and rare, they are generally more expensive than other ads and require a minimum investment of $500. If this number seems out of reach, your practice may be better off marketing via the content strategies listed above!
However, TikTok ads may still be worth considering as a part of your paid social budget if you are careful about curating your content to meet TikTok guidelines, and if you have the budget to invest.
TikTok for Plastic Surgeons
If you are looking to expand awareness of your business and feel that your target audience is on the app, TikTok can be a massive win for your plastic surgery practice’s marketing efforts. There are many “first-mover” advantages to adopting platforms, like fewer established competitors.
However, we understand it can be difficult to implement a new account on a new platform while maintaining other social media accounts. At Sagapixel, we specialize in digital marketing for plastic surgery practices. Whether your needs are exclusive to social media, or completely revamping your digital presence, our services will be customized to your practice and the plastic surgery industry.