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How to Prepare Your Marketing Strategy for a Potential TikTok Ban

Stay ahead of a potential TikTok ban with smart marketing strategy preparation. Learn essential steps and alternative platforms to ensure your brand's success.

Governments are moving to ban TikTok, something that seemed like it would never happen just a few months ago. However, Montana recently became the first US state to ban TikTok at the public level starting in January 2024. App stores will no longer be allowed to offer downloads of the app, and using the platform in the state will become illegal. Are other states to follow suit?

Some argue that banning TikTok is a direct attack on first amendment rights, particularly free speech, while governments believe the popular social media platform because of fears that the Chinese government could access US consumer data used for spying, making it a potential national security concern.

Many countries have already enacted a ban on TikTok, and the US federal government is becoming increasingly concerned about protecting Americans' data and privacy. Yet, consumers feel differently, believing banning a social media channel infringes on their rights.

With states being able to ban TikTok, it's important to understand why this might happen, how it can affect your marketing strategy, and what you can do to prepare.

TikTok is an incredibly popular social media platform with over 800 million users worldwide. In the last few years, its popularity has grown exponentially due to its short-form video social content structure that's captured the attention of millennials and Gen Z.

Unfortunately, this Chinese-owned social media platform has been under fire recently because of the US's relationship with its parent company, ByteDance. Government officials believe TikTok poses a security concern for the US and other countries. Congress recently approved a motion to ban TikTok on federal government-issued devices just last year.

Several countries have enacted some type of ban on TikTok because they believe it's a potential national security threat and that the Chinese government could gain access to valuable personal data.

These countries include:

  • Afghanistan: Afghanistan's Taliban banned TikTok in 2022 to protect young people from misinformation.
  • Australia: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • Belgium: Belgium had a temporary TikTok ban on federally owned- or paid-for devices due to cybersecurity, privacy, and misinformation risks.
  • Canada: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • Denmark: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • European Union (EU): TikTok is banned on government-issued devices
  • France: Recreational use of TikTok and other social media platforms on government employees' phones is banned.
  • India: India currently has a nationwide ban on TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps due to privacy concerns.
  • Netherlands: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • New Zealand: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • Norway: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • Pakistan: Pakistan has temporarily banned TikTok multiple times due to immoral content.
  • Taiwan: In 2022, Taiwan had a public sector ban on TikTok.
  • United States: TikTok is banned on government-issued devices.
  • While the United States ban is only on government-issued devices, many states like Montana and federal lawmakers want to ban TikTok on all mobile devices outright.

We don't yet know if other states are preparing to enact a ban on TikTok on personal devices or if the US federal government is going to ban TikTok outright. However, since many other countries have expressed concerns and started banning the popular social media platform, businesses that market on social media should prepare their strategies for a potential ban.

Follow these tips to prepare your business and marketing teams for a TikTok ban.

Diversify your social media presence

Experienced marketers know the benefits of marketing on multiple social media platforms. Each social media platform has a unique audience.

TikTok's audience is primarily millennials and Gen Z. There are plenty of new apps with similar audiences to TikTok that allow you to reach your target audience. While they may not be as popular as TikTok, social media apps like Twitch, another video-sharing platform, may still be relevant to your brand and its target audience.

If you're unsure which platforms are right for your business, the first step is to identify platforms that complement your existing marketing tactics.

For example, if you like short-form video content creation, you might consider other options like YouTube Shorts or even Instagram Reels if you're not already using them.

Repurpose TikTok content

Most businesses use multiple social media platforms to attract and engage customers, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. If TikTok gets banned, you can repurpose your existing content for other platforms, allowing you to target the same users without letting any of your hard work go to waste.

For instance, you can take existing videos and upload them to YouTube Shorts or Facebook Stories, depending on what your market research tells you about your audience and the best social media platforms to connect with customers.

You can also adapt TikTok trends for alternative platforms. You can take the concept of TikTok's Stitch, a content creation tool that allows you to combine your video with others, and apply it to Instagram Reels.

You'll need permission from the original content creator to use their video, but this strategy does allow you to take one of the most popular TikTok trends and use it on other platforms. Using the most popular trends and leveraging engaging content created by others, businesses enhance their social media marketing strategy.

You can also repurpose content in other ways, such as turning videos into longer-form educational yet entertaining videos for your website or other marketing efforts. At the same time, the topic of one of your TikToks could inspire you to write a blog and attract website visitors through other inbound marketing strategies.

Short-form video content won't disappear even if TikTok does. Instead, you can use it throughout your marketing strategy and on different channels to attract customers and build brand awareness.

Strengthen influencer marketing

Unfortunately, not all marketers or business owners are experienced content creators. Instead, they have other talents that help businesses grow. If TikTok is banned, there are plenty of other social media platforms to try, and it doesn't mean you have to give up influencer marketing.

While Instagram is known for static photos and TikTok for short-form videos, both offer valuable opportunities to leverage influencer marketing. TikTok bans won't stop influencer marketing. In fact, it might even become more popular than ever.

Brands should review their current influencer marketing strategies and adjust them accordingly for other video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

You may even be able to find more influencers to work with by expanding your network to different types of influencers. Not all YouTube influencers create short-form content for TikTok, so you may be able to find other popular thought leaders on different platforms.

Extending your reach by working with influencers on other platforms can help you grow your network and maintain online visibility.

Optimize website and SEO strategy

While TikTok has helped small and large businesses connect with their customers and target audiences, it's not the only tool available to you. Your website is arguably the most important marketing and sales tool you have, even more so than social media applications.

Focusing on website optimization to increase organic traffic by creating relevant and engaging content can help you attract and convert more customers.

Keep in mind that this is a different type of marketing, so you'll need marketers specializing in SEO instead of social media marketing, which means potentially growing your team.

Leverage user-generated content

Social media applications can help you leverage user-generated content like reviews, testimonials, and social posts to help you promote your brand without creating new content in-house.

Unfortunately, if you've relied primarily on short-form video content, you might not be prepared to market on other social media platforms. While videos tend to perform well on Facebook and Instagram, you'll need various post types to keep followers engaged.

If you've primarily focused on TikTok marketing, you may not have hundreds of photos to use for your other marketing campaigns. However, you can leverage content created by your customers to build out a social media marketing calendar.

You can run contests to engage users and ask them to share photos or videos of them using your product, then showcase that user-generated content on branded channels.

Always monitor industry trends and updates

Some believe TikTok bans are part of a larger anti-Chinese sentiment. TikTok's CEO Shou Chew says new regulations and unlawfully banning TikTok violate free speech. With bans and the social media platform itself facing many legal challenges blocking the usage of TikTok and other apps in specific geographic regions.

It's still unclear whether there will be a nationwide ban, but businesses and TikTok users should prepare themselves. As more countries move to ban TikTok and other social media sites, businesses must have a diversified strategy that allows them to connect with their target audiences.

Revisit your social media marketing strategy using Mailchimp's social media tools to create posts designed to perform on any platform.

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