Helio Health: TikTok Works


Chris Steenstra

EVP, Account Director

Our attention spans are getting shorter. And we’re noticing.

The average person gets impatient at a traffic light if they’ve waited longer than 25 seconds; we’re likely to grow frustrated if a webpage takes longer than the average 2.5 seconds to load. For marketers, it can seem increasingly impossible to capture the public’s attention—and then keep it. So organizations are turning to social media, where concision is king.

For client Helio Health, a comprehensive behavioral health system serving Upstate New York, it was crucial to expand the reach of their mission: to improve the lives of individuals dealing with substance use and mental health issues. They were seeking a way to create an awareness campaign to reach a large and diverse audience where they engaged (and where they scrolled).

We recommended TikTok, a popular platform that connects with users through short video snippets. Since social media is widely used by Helio Health’s target age groups, it emerged as one of the most effective channels for sharing brief, attention-grabbing stories that would be the initiative’s backbone. And TikTok (and, more widely, social media) is known for instant gratification addiction issues of its own. With ever-growing numbers turning to social media for information—and often receiving dangerous misinformation instead—we wanted to use TikTok to combat that questionable advice with accurate stories about treatment’s successes.

The TikTok campaign, “Treatment Works,” had a dual purpose: First, to convince and educate families of potential patients about the effectiveness of seeking appropriate treatment and the necessity of community support; Second, to inform that same audience about the complexities of substance use disorder and the treatment options available.

The videos featured a patient whose authentic narrative stood as proof of Helio Health’s biggest conviction: Treatment does work. We wanted to shift the perception from viewing addiction treatment as futile to understanding it as an ongoing process that’s most effective with community support.

Our eight-week campaign generated an incredible 4.5 million impressions, with the Treatment Works TikToks reaching far beyond the platform’s typical younger demographic; in fact, nearly half of the views came from individuals over 35. The broadened reach resulted in a substantial increase in website traffic, with over 99% of visitors new to the Helio Health site.

It also led to a rise in comments—and a need to anticipate and effectively handle negative feedback. While obviously belligerent comments could—and should—be blocked, engaging with constructive criticism was an opportunity for Helio Health to strengthen connections with potential clients and boost its reputation as a reliable provider.

The Treatment Works debut on TikTok gave Helio Health a new and dynamic platform for engaging its audience. And, with its expanding user base, TikTok allowed them to reach individuals who may not have encountered that messaging otherwise—improving their awareness and outreach efforts. All in 30 seconds or less.

Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.

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