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Digital/Social / Apr 25, 2024

Breaking: The TikTok Ban Sends Shockwaves Across the Social Media Landscape

Amanda Dempsey

Amanda Dempsey

Head of Social Media

How can brands like yours adapt their social media strategy after the TikTok ban?

TikTok successfully achieved what other social media platforms could only dream of. Through addictive scrolling haptics and highly personalized content feeds, audiences around the globe have flocked to TikTok to consume short-form videos from friends, celebrities, influencers, and brands alike. Today, TikTok is a social media platform that people of all ages download to engage with entertaining and educational content. With the announcement of President Biden signing a bill Wednesday that could lead to a nationwide TikTok ban, shockwaves have rippled through the digital sphere with the thought of what’s in store for the future of the popular platform. But what does that mean for your brand? Hold up a second. First, a refresher:

While the Ban Unfolds, Brands Are Caught in the Crossfire  

Launched in 2016 by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok quickly rose in popularity and now ranks as the sixth most popular social media platform worldwide. In 2021, TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, beating out social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Of the 4.7 billion downloads to date, 102.3 million users reside in the US. The platform’s rise in popularity caught US political attention in 2020, prompting officials to take action, citing worries about national security and data privacy. Since then, TikTok has claimed to make public moves to protect user privacy better, including implementing Project Texas – a framework solution to the United State’s growing concern about data privacy. Over the years, TikTok has continued to undergo US legal proceedings regarding user data privacy and ties to the Chinese government. On April 24, 2024, President Biden signed a potential TikTok Ban into law, giving TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, 270 days to sell the app. Failure to do so will prevent the app from being downloaded in US app stores and the internet hosts that support it. 

TikTok has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes, offering a way to connect with their audience in a personal and on-trend way. However, with the possibility of completely removing TikTok from their social media presence, brands are faced with a dilemma: weather the TikTok storm or completely shift their strategy to a new platform. 

5 Social Media Strategies Your Brand Should Implement Today

The news of the TikTok ban has brands revisiting their social media plans, wondering how or if they should adapt to the looming platform ban potential. Here are five social media strategies your brand should have to stay current – with or without TikTok. 

  1. Diversify Your Social Media Platform Portfolio 
    Don’t put your social media eggs all in one basket. Relying on one social media platform can be risky, especially considering the TikTok ban. Instead, pick two to four platforms where your audience is active and where your brand can produce content that your audience resonates with. You can prioritize your social media platform presence based on performance and content relatability. However, having several “live” platforms makes shifting focus easier than starting anew with zero community. Also, ensure your brand (at least) has the username saved on all major social media platforms so you own your brand name and presence if your strategy ever has to switch. 
  2. Begin Testing Alternative Platforms 
    While TikTok’s future in the United States is unclear, other platforms are ready to fill the void. If you’ve primarily produced short-form videos for your audience on TikTok, consider testing your content on similar platforms, like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, or Snapchat Spotlight. If TikTok does get banned, your audience will shift their attention elsewhere, so moving before that shift to start beta testing your content will get you ahead of the curve. Plus, you may be able to tap into audience groups you didn’t know existed on different platforms. Explore the alternatives and adapt your content accordingly. 
  3. Always Stay Adaptive 
    Let’s face it: Social media is a constantly changing marketing medium. Staying agile by adapting and reacting to current trends is essential to your brand’s success on all social platforms. Why? Your audience craves relatability from brands, and being “in the now” humanizes your brand in a way that users can connect with on a deeper, more emotional level. When crafting your social media strategy, allow for brand flexibility so that, if a
  4. Optimize Your Platform Presence 
    If your audience searches for your brand on other social media platforms, optimizing your profiles for “social SEO” is essential for them to find and recognize your brand. 

    Here are a few ways you can do this today: 
    - Ensure your profile’s bios and/or about sections are filled out and include keywords that trigger the social search engines to recognize you. 
    - Ensure your cover and profile images are aligned, on-brand, and current. 
    - Add relevant contact information (like your website, email, phone number, or address) to your profiles so your audience can easily reach out. 
    - If you’re a local brand, tag your location on posts so your community can find you through local business search options on platforms. 
    - Include relevant keywords or hashtags in your captions to tell the platform what your content or brand is trying to communicate. 
    - Adding alt-text to your images not only makes your visual content accessible but also informs the platform of your content’s theme so it can show it to applicable audiences. 
  5. Double Down on Engaging Social Media Content
    Engaging content is the best way to resonate with your audience and capture their attention, regardless of the platform. Center your focus on producing authentic content that tells your brand story in a way that informs, entertains, or inspires your community in a way that’s unique to only your brand. Measure content success regularly with platform analytics to see what was most successful so you can continue to produce more of what worked best. 

What should my brand do next? 

Whether or not TikTok gets banned in the next 270 days, one thing remains the same: social media is a continuously evolving landscape. The brands that can adapt to the changing social media environment will forge the deepest connections with their communities for the long run.

Need help with your social media strategy? Drop us a line. 

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