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TikTok May Be Banned In the US: How Creators & Marketers Can Prepare

Discover the latest on the potential ban of TikTok in the US. As concerns grow over data privacy and national security, explore the implications and future of this popular social platform.
Jay Mehta

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TikTok Banned in the US

TikTok, the short-form video app, has become increasingly popular among creators and users in the US. TikTok has become a major social media force known for its catchy music, dance trends, and ability to empower lesser-known creators.

However, in a significant development, a law has been passed requiring ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to either sell its US operations to an American company or face a complete ban. ByteDance has a limited timeframe (270 days with a possible 90-day extension) to find a US buyer for TikTok.

This ticking clock throws creators and marketers into a period of uncertainty, forcing them to consider alternative platforms and strategies to navigate the potential loss of this influential social media giant.

How a TikTok Ban Could Affect Creators

The potential TikTok ban in the United States could significantly impact creators who rely on the platform for audience engagement and income. One of the most immediate consequences could be the loss of both audience and income streams. Many creators have built large followings on TikTok and rely on it to reach their audience and generate revenue through sponsored content, merchandise sales, and other means. A ban could leave these creators struggling to find new ways to reach their audience and earn a living.

Some creators have migrated to alternative platforms like Triller, which offers an easy transfer process and focuses on creator independence, data ownership, and improved content discoverability. However, recreating the success and audience found on TikTok can be challenging, especially for creators whose fame and following stemmed from the app’s unique features and trends.

The long-term impact on careers and income is also a concern. Creators have potentially invested years building their brand and audience on TikTok, and the loss of the platform could have lasting consequences. Predicting the extent of this impact is difficult, but some creators will likely struggle to regain their following and income on new platforms or other means.

The US Government’s Role in the Potential Ban

The US government plays a central role in the potential TikTok ban, citing national security concerns and tensions with China as primary reasons. The government worries that TikTok could collect data on American users and potentially share it with the Chinese government. This ban appears part of a broader US effort to address tensions with China, encompassing trade and technology issues.

The effectiveness and consequences of a TikTok ban are heavily debated. Supporters argue that protecting national security and addressing data collection concerns is necessary, fearing potential Chinese influence. However, critics question its effectiveness, pointing out that TikTok is just one of many platforms potentially collecting data on US users. It’s worth noting that TikTok has been banned on devices owned by the government.

Discussions also address the potential consequences of the ban, including its impact on creators and the broader social media landscape. Some argue that the ban could have unintended consequences, stifling creativity and limiting creators’ ability to reach their audience. Others worry about its broader implications for free speech and the role of social media in society.

The US government’s role is a significant factor in the ongoing debate. While they cite national security and tensions with China, others question the effectiveness and consequences of the potential ban.

How to Prepare for a Potential TikTok Ban

A prospective TikTok ban threatens to upend the efforts of creators who’ve devoted months or even years to cultivating their presence on the platform. Nevertheless, opportunities abound for those willing to adapt and seize them. Here’s what creators can do right away to brace themselves:

  1. Start Owning Your Audience (with an Email List)

    The prospect of a TikTok ban underscores the vulnerability inherent in relying solely on social media platforms. Your followers on these platforms are essentially “rented” audiences, leaving you susceptible to unforeseen changes or disruptions. To mitigate this risk, consider transitioning to an “owned” audience by building an email list.

    Here’s how you can begin:

    • Define your target audience to tailor your content and engagement efforts better.
    • Select an email marketing platform to manage your subscriber list effectively.
    • Set up an opt-in form to capture email addresses from your audience.
    • Offer lead magnets, such as free resources, to incentivize sign-ups.
    • Promote your newsletter across your social media channels to encourage subscription.
  2. Diversify Your Social Media Presence

    In anticipation of a TikTok ban, it’s prudent to diversify your online footprint. Expand your reach beyond TikTok by exploring alternative platforms like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels.

    Take these steps to broaden your social media presence:

    • Share your content on multiple platforms to reach a wider audience.
    • Inform your TikTok followers about your presence on other platforms.
    • Safeguard your TikTok content by downloading your videos for backup.
    • Repurpose your TikTok content for distribution on other social media channels.

How Can Marketers And Creators Prepare For A Potential TikTok Ban?

While there are uncertainties, proactive preparation is advisable. Here are steps you can take to prepare in case TikTok is banned:

  1. Save Your TikTok Videos:

    Regardless of the ban’s status, backing up your content is wise to preserve your creations. Save videos to your device’s camera roll or upload them to a cloud service like Dropbox for extra security.

    To download TikTok videos:

    1. Tap the video you wish to save.
    2. Click the three dots in the bottom right corner.
    3. Select “Save video” for download confirmation.

    Having downloaded videos allows reposting on other platforms, a recommended social media tactic.

    Direct your audience to alternative platforms: If TikTok is your primary audience hub, inform them of alternative channels to stay connected. Share links to other social networks and owned platforms such as your website, bio link, and newsletter.

    For example, UnderTheDeskNews addressed a potential TikTok ban and redirected followers to their podcast.

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  2. Update your bio link:

    Ensure your TikTok profile’s bio link is evergreen. If TikTok becomes inaccessible, international viewers might still access and utilize this link. Make sure it directs to a permanent resource.

  3. Adapt your social media strategy:

    Should TikTok become inaccessible, adjust your social media marketing approach promptly. If you’ve consistently produced video content for TikTok, you’re well-positioned, as video content typically performs best for reach and engagement across platforms.

    Consider platforms like Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Facebook Reels, which share similarities with TikTok. LinkedIn also expands its video features, potentially appealing to your target audience.

    Furthermore, prioritize building audiences on platforms where you have greater control. Keep your website updated, utilize link-in-bio tools, and maximize newsletter engagement.

    Stay informed and anticipate potential changes as the situation evolves. Continuously update your strategy based on emerging developments. We’ll provide updates on this matter as new information becomes available.

The Uncertain Future of TikTok and its Creators

The potential TikTok ban in the US hangs in the balance, with several possible resolutions shaping the app and its creators’ future. Here are some key possibilities:

Lifting or Modification of the Ban: This scenario allows TikTok to continue operating in the US, potentially with safeguards addressing national security concerns.

Acquisition by a US Company: Companies like Microsoft and Oracle have expressed interest in acquiring TikTok. This would allow the company to continue operating under US ownership, potentially easing security concerns.

Regardless of the outcome, TikTok and its creators will likely remain significant in social media. The app has demonstrably impacted online content creation, and its creators will likely continue influencing trends across platforms. The future of TikTok could also impact the wider social media landscape, shaping how social media management platforms approach data collection and government regulation.

Regarding user data control, transparency and empowerment are of paramount importance. Platforms must place user data transparency and control at the forefront. It is essential that users have a clear understanding of the methods of data collection, utilization, and protection.

Looking Ahead

The potential TikTok ban has had significant consequences for creators, with lost platforms, audiences, and income. While the ban’s effectiveness and legality are debated, possible resolutions are on the horizon. These include lifting/modifying the ban or a US company acquiring TikTok.

No matter the outcome, creators and TikTok will likely remain a major influence in the ever-evolving social media landscape. Stay informed about the ban’s developments and consider supporting impacted creators.

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