The Rise of Pharma TikTok

TikTok's popularity soared in 2020, home-bound folks finding solace in the app as we entered the widely described "unprecedented times." 15-second dance trends blew up, launching teens into stardom overnight. Musicians played under the digital spotlight. Artists, fitness coaches, actors, chefs…most everyone found a rapt audience on TikTok. This extends to the pharmaceutical industry. Pharma TikTok is steadily developing its own niche corner of the platform.


As of now, the hashtag "pharma tiktok" has 418.5K views, "pharma tok" has 1.7M, and "pharma" has a whopping 296.4M.


You may be skeptical, surprised, or both. What business does pharma have being on an app most popular with Gen Z and millennials, one often thought of us purely entertainment-based?


Pharmaceutical reps and pharmacy students are taking viewers through a day in their life. Pharmacists are posting FAQs about drugs and about their experiences working in the industry. Some TikTok pharmacists even record themselves filling prescriptions for #pharmacyasmr (885.7M views).


Pharma brands on TikTok can reach their target audiences: HCPs and patients, who've taken the app by storm, opening a new door for pharma marketing.


Educating the masses during public health crises

It's a scary time to be alive. Facts can be grounding. The general public is looking for answers as we continue to live with COVID, new threats to our wellbeing amassing as the weeks go on.

Who better to answer these pressing questions than professionals? TikTok allows HCPs to dole out palatable bites of information that TikTok users can digest in mere minutes. Not only does this disseminate helpful advice and facts to millions, more or less, it also humanizes HCPs. (Pharma could use some humanizing, too.)

Dr. Stella (67.2K followers) informs viewers on hot medical topics such as vaccines, mask mandates, and the monkeypox outbreak, often appealing to the TikTok community by dancing as information pops up on the screen. Dr. Shonna Gaskin, M.D. (170.3K followers) similarly incorporates dance trends into her videos on med school, anesthesiology (her specialty), etc. The list goes on.

Sometimes a face isn't needed for an account to stand out. Medicine Explained, a page run by two doctors, has 1.7M followers. They use a voiceover and colorful paper drawings to answer health-related questions like: "Can lavender help my anxiety?" and "What is endometriosis?"

These convenient snippets make health information accessible to all.


Pharma brands can do the same thing, sharing short-form content to educate, as well as increase brand visibility. To extend their reach and break through the digital clutter, brands can partner with "healthcare influencers" like Dr. Stella.


Patient stories raising awareness 

The sharing of personal stories fosters hope and community. TikTok has provided patients of various conditions and diseases with an outlet for speaking about their struggles and triumphs. They feel less alone when they see others facing the same challenges.

A lot of creators are using TikTok to destigmatize their condition/disease, as well as to spread awareness.

Dani Trops (269.2K followers) is one of those creators. Dani is a breast cancer survivor. She uses her account to spread awareness to the younger generations, demonstrating how to perform important health checks and answering questions about life after breast cancer.

As a pharma marketer, how can this help you? For one thing, it can help you gauge what's working and what's capturing the attention of patients.

If you analyze these videos and their hashtags, you can determine what sort of content resonates with particular groups of patients. You can then emulate that style in videos promoting your brand.

Marketing tool for pharma brands 

Aside from partnerships with the aforementioned "healthcare influencers," brands can carve out space for themselves on Pharma TikTok by running campaigns to maximize exposure.

Mucinex was the first OTC drug to launch a TikTok campaign, using the hashtag "too sick to be sick" as the tagline. (That hashtag now has 1B views.) The campaign promoted their new product, Nightshift. TikTokers were challenged to zombie-fy themselves right around Halloween time, as if suffering from the flu. With the help of Mucinex, they then transformed, switching into party attire, ready for a fun Halloween.

When TikTokers participated, using the Mucinex's "Join the Challenge" music as they did the #BeatTheZombieFunk dance, Mr. Mucus appeared at the bottom of the screen, further advertising Mucinex and keeping Nightshift at the forefront of viewers' minds.

TikTok is no longer reserved for dancing high schoolers and style icons. Pharma TikTok is alive and growing. Don't miss out.

STORYSOFT Stories are an alternative to TikTok for branded conversations

As a pharma marketer, there are some conversations you simply can’t effectively or legally have on TikTok. That’s where STORYSOFT comes in.


With STORYSOFT, you can create a similarly fun and engaging digital experience that includes built-in compliance features, like an Important Safety Information statement, PI and References buttons, etc. ensuring your branded conversations are met with approval.


You can still add music and eye-catching graphics to your story, as seen on TikTok. You can still be as creative as you’d like.


STORYSOFT Stories are interactive and personalized, leaping beyond TikTok’s capabilities.


Patients can answer pertinent questions to tailor stories to their specific needs.


HCPs can choose from a set of patient profiles to ensure relevance to their specialty.


Instead of being limited to one platform, you can share URL-hosted STORYSOFT Stories on any channel.


Build STORYSOFT Stories once. Share them everywhere!


Pharma TikTok can be an asset to your marketing campaigns, but when it’s time to have branded conversations, turn to STORYSOFT.


Create immersive, Instagram-style digital stories for your brand with STORYSOFT. Learn more.

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