Despite calls over the weekend to ban the popular social media app, it’s Monday afternoon on August 3, 2020 and TikTok is still intact in the US.
Why Ban TikTok?
While the true reason for removal of the platform from app stores in the US is still widely debated, the best explanation we’ve found is the extreme amount of personal data the app is able to log and store about its user base. It’s possible the Trump administration views this data tracking as a potential threat to national security.
Many corporations have policies to protect proprietary assets — it is not unlikely that the US is building similar policies for government officials. Just as Amazon may discourage employees from accessing competitor Alibaba on their work computer, the US may discourage service members from using technology that could pose a threat to security — especially tech based in countries with whom relations are tense, like China.
Will TikTok Actually Be Banned in the US?
The outcome here still remains uncertain. Although, if we had to bet, it’s unlikely this will be happening any time soon. Microsoft is, and has been, in acquisition talks with TikTok — plus, TikTok has plans to create over 10,000 jobs in the US in the coming years. Business developments aside, carrying out such a ban would take more time than exists in a weekend; so, we don’t expect to wake up tomorrow morning with an empty app space on our phones.
What Could Replace TikTok?
The good news is – the booming success of TikTok has led to the development of more than one copycat. If you’ve already invested in deploying a successful strategy on TikTok, why not replicate efforts to Triller or Dubsmash? Triller has refused to partner with Chinese investors in the past, so the risk for becoming banned for similar reasons is limited.
What Should My Brand Do About a Pending TikTok Ban?
If you’re experiencing success with your TikTok marketing tactics, keep that strategy going — but start proactively building your contingency plan to avoid scrambling if the ban happens. Now is the time to diversify your efforts, if you haven’t already. Just as in finance, you can reduce risks in marketing by spreading your strategy across multiple platforms.
If your brand has yet to join TikTok, you may want to prioritize other platforms until the fog clears. Instead, focus on platforms where you have better access to an engaged audience. The fast-paced nature of TikTok can make it difficult to establish a high-value audience. However, the ease of TikTok marketing could change should Microsoft acquire the company.
What Can We Learn from This Potential Marketing Crisis
The uncertainty around the future of TikTok reinforces a fundamental of digital marketing: Your strategy should build audiences your brand can own. Email, for example, is a reliable method for reaching your audience that is unlikely to undergo major changes any time soon.
Followers on social media, and the way you reach them, can be changed overnight. If the main social media platform you use to reach your audience disappears, most, if not all, of your platform goes with it.
A solid social media strategy should always funnel users to a platform where you can reliably own the communication to your audience, such as email.