The ongoing debates surrounding a potential TikTok ban in the U.S. can be concerning, especially considering the future of marketing efforts on the platform.
Businesses and creators have already experienced the immense potential and success that TikTok offers as a marketing channel – but is all of that about to come to an abrupt end? We’ll explore the current landscape and will emphasise the importance of diversifying your social media strategy to ensure long-term success.
TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, hasn’t had the best relationship with the USA, with concerns over security and data privacy. In 2020, Donald Trump issued concerns with the app and proposed that Microsoft would purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations in order to have more control. These discussions surrounding a TikTok ban garnered significant attention, which saw a ban on TikTok being downloaded on both U.S. and European government devices. More recently, a further ban was proposed in Montana which saw the app being prevented from being downloaded onto personal devices in the state.
According to the Pew Research Centre, 50% of Americans are in favour of the ban, while 22% oppose it and 28% stated that they are not sure. Non-users of the app are considerably more in favour of banning the app than those who use it, with 60% of non-users and 19% of current users supportive of the TikTok ban.
The UK have recently followed in U.S. and European footsteps in terms of the app being banned on government and parliamentary devices. It is unclear if there will be a full ban on TikTok, with Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat stating that he is awaiting a security review before making decisions.
In the midst of these discussions, ByteDance has taken action to launch a new platform called Lemon8 which could be seen as a strategic move aimed at offering businesses an alternative channel should a TikTok ban occur. Lemon8 is a photo and video sharing app which allows creators to share their knowledge on topics such as fashion, beauty, food and travel. It has a very similar feel to apps such as Instagram and Pinterest. The U.S. has already seen potential in the app, with it being downloaded nearly 1 million times between March and April this year and global installations have reached an impressive 17.3 million.
Regardless of the outcome of the TikTok ban debate, one thing remains clear: businesses should avoid relying solely on single marketing channels. Diversifying your social media strategy is essential for minimising risks and maximising reach. Although TikTok may offer immense opportunities currently, developing a presence across multiple platforms is key.
By expanding and establishing your presence on rising apps like Lemon8 as well as cornerstone social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, you can tap into a broader audience base. Each platform has its unique features, demographics, and user behaviours, allowing you to connect with diverse consumer segments and reduce dependency on a single platform. Therefore, it is crucial to continually evaluate emerging platforms, trends, and consumer preferences, and be ready to pivot your marketing strategies accordingly.
By putting all your eggs in one basket, your brand is at the whim of an algorithm change (remember when Facebook organic reach was 90%+), technological changes (iOS 14.5), or just a shift in consumer preference (anyone still on MySpace?). On top of social, building first-party data (email), as well as diversifying traffic sources (Google, Bing, paid and organic) makes for a healthy mix of traffic, without over-reliance on any one channel.
Whether TikTok will get banned or not remains to be seen.
In the meantime, it is essential for businesses to maintain perspective and consider the larger picture. Rather than solely relying on TikTok, diversify your social media strategy to ensure long-term success and resilience. By expanding your presence across multiple platforms, you can mitigate risks, reach a wider audience, and remain adaptable to the ever-changing digital landscape.
Remember, success lies in staying ahead of the curve and embracing a diverse social media mix.