Can TikTok Be Used For Marketing Public Health?

Anthony McGuire
Published in
3 min readMar 3, 2021

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been encouraging The Ministry of Health to start using TikTok for Covid-19 Messaging. While it’s a good effort, we should point out that last year many governmental entities like the World Health Organization were already using TikTok to deliver public health messages.

How does modern media inspire action? Through mixing entertainment and education. For younger generations who don’t take themselves too seriously, it’s all about the challenges, dances, and memes on TikTok.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched their own TikTok account to share information on the coronavirus.

This is a really great initiative, but where they need to take advantage of Tik Tok isn’t just through posting regular videos of people talking but by embracing best practices like interactive challenges.

In another video, the WHO has Alisson Becker (Liverpool FC’s goalkeeper) doing a #safehandschallenge, where he washes his hands correctly with a song playing in the background.

Why stop there? The WHO could get Allison Becker to challenge every one of his teammates on Liverpool, and other football players around the world. The WHO could actively crowdsource user-generated content on TikTok, Instagram, and other channels.

Some Tik Tok influencers have tried spreading information about the Coronavirus in a more Tik-Tok-y way. Mikirai (@mikiraiofficial) is a registered nurse from California who creates Tik Tok videos teaching people about the Coronavirus through dance. The WHO’s marketing strategy should include both famous celebrities and smaller, more relatable influencers like Mikirai in order to reach a larger audience.

Other public sector organisations around the world seem to understand this. A group of policemen in the Indian state of Kerala broadcasted the proper technique for washing your hands with a hand washing dance and song playing in the background.

Vietnam’s health ministry worked with local singers to create a lighthearted and catchy music video to educate people about the Coronavirus.

After this video was released, Vietnamese dancer Quang Đăng created his own hand washing dance #GhenCovyChallenge that went viral across Tik Tok and other social platforms.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health created their own TikTok account and immediately started with their own entertaining public health message.

To learn more about TikTok, check out my TikTok Course or download my free e-book on TikTok case studies. I’ll be sharing my thoughts daily on all the interesting things I’m learning about TikTok for business.



Anthony McGuire

Tech, Entertainment, Media, Emerging Markets. Ex-Facebook and Singularity University.