As the most popular app with Gen Z, TikTok offers a fun way to share your office culture and interact with patients. Here’s a breakdown on what works and how to get started.

By Jen Gordon

Meet TikTok: an endless, scrolling feed of 15-second videos that captivate 500 million users worldwide. Our shrinking attention spans and love for viral videos make this app 100% relevant to today’s internet culture. In fact, TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. 

Most popular with the Gen-Z demographic, this zany little app has proven to be quirky, fun, terribly addictive and, above all else, relatable. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with this social media giant and how your orthodontic office can get in on the magic!

What is TikTok?

TikTok is the land of viral video content—allowing users to record and upload their own short videos, with many lucky creators becoming internet famous overnight. Log on and you’ll find videos of people lip syncing to popular songs, dancing, recording comedy skits, and capturing some of the most ridiculous moments imaginable. 

TikTok trends and viral videos make NO sense—and that’s ok.

This video of a ferret dancing with a paper pokemon currently has 10.7 MILLION likes. Why? Mr. Ferret needs no explanation, he’s famous because he’s famous. Sometimes we just can’t explain why the internet does what it does.

Caption: Replaced with Youtube video because it’s been removed from TikTok.

While not everyone has a fluffy friend on hand, there are new trends every day to jump on—you’ve just got to watch the hashtags. Hashtags are a huge part of the TikTok ecosphere, allowing users to create defined trends and search for content. Staying up to date with what’s trending is often as simple as checking in on the discover page or asking your patients what their favorite “TikTok challenges” have been recently. 

Want to see what some of these ‘challenges’ look like? These are a few relatively famous ones:

  • #IDIDABADTHING: This one was all about the chaotic prank videos—like teens slapping fake power outlets on walls, super-gluing things that definitely should not be super-glued, and giving themselves tragic haircuts. All of this while “I Just Did a Bad Thing” by Bill Wurtz plays in the background.
  • #MonstersInc: As I said before, some of these just don’t make sense. Do you know the feeling of turning on your car radio and suddenly having your ear drums blasted out? Well, this trend embodies that feeling. You walk into a room, drop off a small speaker, and then proceed to destroy everyone’s hearing by playing the Monsters Inc. theme song which gets gradually louder and more distorted every second. 
  • #WoahChallenge: Can you hit the woah? If not, time to learn. Trust us, your patients will love it. The move is when a dancer makes quick, circular motions with their fists and leans into a freeze position when the beat drops in a song. This move was a viral sensation for a moment there and now is generally a joke. This orthodontist is leaning into the old trend by casually busting dance moves around the office. 

That’s right! Orthodontists are on TikTok too. 

Gasp! Don’t believe us? Check out these orthodontists that are killing the TikTok Game: @TheBracesGuy, @TheBentist, and  @WeissAndTorOrtho.

Why are Orthos on TikTok?

The answer is pretty simple. Because that’s where their patients are! Also, branching out to new, popular social media platforms allows doctors to:

  • Get their patients involved online and in the office
  • Grow their following 
  • Stay on top of trends and conversation starters
  • Better understand and relate with their patients’ generation 

It’s probably not your first instinct to go recording videos doing crazy dance moves and lip syncing rap tracks (even if this is you, the point still stands). Either way, tuning into what your patients love will help you relate to them in a way that very few physicians do. 

With all of that said … TikTok is not for everyone. 

There are lots of different social media networks out there and they all serve different purposes.

  • Facebook builds strong communities;
  • Instagram gives patients a behind-the-scenes look at your office culture;
  • YouTube allows you to share compelling, long format content;
  • TikTok is here for the fast laughs and meme-able content.   

Each one of these platforms draws different crowds. While Instagram and YouTube are widely used by all age-groups, TikTok is pulling the younger crowd. It can be a fun and rewarding creative outlet, but if starting on TikTok sounds like a chore: forget it. If you’re not enjoying yourself in your videos, it’ll show! In that case, save yourself the trouble and focus on your Instagram, Facebook, or whatever platform makes you the most comfortable. 

How to TikTok:

Ready to start? Fabulous!! Visiting the app store is your first step towards internet stardom. Once you’ve got yourself all set up, it’s time to record your first video. 

We’ve all seen the videos of dancing doctors on morning shows, so you know how being a little silly can earn you major points with your patients and on social media.

Not a dancer? Fear not. Not every doctor can be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. If you’re one of us with two left feet, try these other trends on for size:

  1. Braces Hacks—Throw out some fun tutorials showing off your never-ending braces knowledge.  YOU are the braces guru, so you might as well let everybody know it!
  1. Duet!—Respond to other users posting about their braces and even other doctors with a side-by-side video. 
  1. Style Guide—Show off your creative side with some demos of awesome band color combos!
  1. Grand Reveals—Shoot some videos of your favorite patients having their braces debonded. They’ll love the attention and your followers will enjoy the makeover moment. 
  1. Get your kids involved—Have some little ones running around the office or at home? Turn on the camera and capture some of their best moments.
  1. Dance like nobody’s watching—Even if you’re not a dancer, you get points for trying! With that said, you get major bonus points if you’re the better dancer. Nothing wrong with a little competition.
  1. Giveaways for days—Are you promoting a giveaway or contest? Repost it to TikTok for even more exposure!
  1. Celebrating? Share!—Did your office just win an award? Treatment coordinator have a baby? Reach 1 million followers on TikTok? (Ok.. that last one might be a bit of a stretch for most of us, but it’s obviously possible.)
  1. Office culture—Doctors are people too and we all know y’all get up to some crazy antics when the patients aren’t looking. Might as well make the most of it!
  1. Lip-Sync—Lip syncing to popular songs is the cornerstone of all TikTok trends. Ask your patients what song they want to see you do!

Last but not least, be yourself and don’t stress!

In a world where social media influencers are the new celebrities, it’s easy to get wrapped up in counting followers and chasing likes. Remember: Your followers aren’t what makes you or your account valuable, it’s the fun and interaction you have with your staff and patients that makes it worth it. 

If you want to succeed on this platform, you’ll need to think outside the box, be original, and have fun coming up with new and zany video ideas with your team.

Whether you soar to internet stardom or just get some great laughs in the office, having fun and sharing your practice culture is the name of the game! Also, if you end up starting an account of your own, let us know. We love nothing more than seeing orthodontists like you going out and trying these ideas. OP

Jen Gordon is the founder and head thriller at Thrilling Results, a marketing agency that helps orthodontists book more qualified starts. Jen has run thousands of marketing split tests for small and large companies like Rolling Stone, Forbes, Fast Company, Yahoo! and more. To grow your business, subscribe to our That’s a Great Idea! Newsletter where we share our latest marketing experiments.