This Chennai surgeon doles out health advice in Tamil on Instagram — and he’s got 1.1 million followers!

Starting with a modest following of 1,740, Dr Santhosh Jacob interacts with his followers daily, responds to messages, comments, and questions.

ByKV Navya

Published Jul 11, 2023 | 11:00 AMUpdatedJul 11, 2023 | 11:00 AM

Dr Santhosh Jacob: Through his engaging content and active audience engagement, Dr Jacob has positively impacted the lives of over a million. (Supplied)

Dr Santhosh Jacob, a 43-year-old orthopaedic surgeon, has defied the odds and gained an astounding 1.1 million followers on Instagram. How, you ask? Through his transformative health and fitness content.

Two years ago, he embarked on his social media journey on YouTube, creating videos on nutrition and Covid-19. His content initially gained traction, with two vaccine-related videos reaching an impressive half a million views. Yet, his YouTube subscriber count grew only to 25,000 in two years.

Recognising the immense potential of social media platforms, he decided to jump on the Instagram wagon.

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Expanding reach on Instagram

Starting with a modest following of 1,740 from his private account, Dr Jacob began posting reels on Instagram in April 2022.

His operations manager, Joe Daniel, suggested that he start creating content in Tamil, their local language, to reach a wider audience.

“Joe said those in Tamil Nadu can access high-quality information from doctors throughout the world if they understand English. However, my knowledge and expertise will be of better use to the locals if I speak in the regional language. So, from the last week of April 2022, I started creating content in Tamil,” says Dr Jacob.

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Building trust and connection

Overcoming his initial reservations about expressing scientific terms in Tamil, he used Google Translate and gradually improved his ability to communicate in the local language effectively.

His follower count rose from 1,740 to a whopping one million in just 14 months. However, it was not all about the numbers; engaging with his audience has been the cornerstone of his success.

Dr Jacob interacts with his followers daily, and also responds to messages, comments, and questions. This direct engagement fosters a sense of connection and trust, allowing his audience to feel valued, he shares.

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Inspiring transformation

Dr Jacob believes his true motivation lies in the positive impact he has on people’s lives.

“I receive numerous messages from strangers sharing stories of personal transformation after watching my videos on exercise, alcohol cessation, and snoring. These messages of gratitude and personal success inspire me to continue creating content that empowers and informs,” he tells South First.

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Leveraging social media reach

Reflecting on the impact he has had so far and can further achieve through social media, he states, “My work as a surgeon allows me to impact the lives of approximately 12,000 patients each year. The reach of social media is unparalleled. With over 5.5 million monthly impressions on Instagram alone, I can share my knowledge and expertise with a much larger audience.”

Dr Jacob’s unwavering commitment to providing evidence-based information has not been without its challenges. He has faced criticism for debunking myths surrounding milk consumption and broiler chicken.

However, he remains steadfast in his mission to provide accurate and reliable health information, backed by scientific evidence. His content has equipped individuals with the knowledge to seize control of their health, embrace healthier lifestyles, and make informed decisions.

Dr Jacob’s remarkable influence continues to shape a healthier and more informed community, one post at a time.

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