Marketing on TikTok? How to navigate a potential ban

In an ever-changing social media landscape, the potential for a TikTok ban will represent a fundamental shift in marketing, communications, and news media. Over the past few years, TikTok has quickly become one of the most-used apps in the country, a preferred platform for Gen Z, and has even begun to usurp traditional search engines as a top means for finding information and shopping for products. 

Many businesses are finally integrating TikTok into their marketing mix, only to have the tides shift again. If you’re using the TikTok platform as a marketing channel, whether for organic or paid content, QT has a few tips and considerations to guide your team this year:

Monitor and assess before making a change.

A best practice in marketing is to go where your audience is. If TikTok is working for you, it makes sense to stay on the platform for the time being. As of now, users are still heavily invested in the app, with no notable drops in-app activity being reported yet. Your strategies should follow both user behavior and platform shifts, while always being mindful of any risks that staying on the platform could incur for your business. QT works closely with in-house and marketing agency partners to share platform shifts and audience behavior patterns in real-time. If you have a legal or policy team in your organization, you can also consider working with them on a decision-making framework.

Know your backup options

Short-form video has become one of the top engagement drivers for organic and paid content alike. Because of this, many social platforms have doubled down on their short-form video capabilities. Earlier this year, LinkedIn launched a new short-form video, which is particularly important for anyone leading B2B marketing initiatives. 

As the uncertainty of TikTok remains, it will be important to assess what platform your audience would be most likely to shift to if a TikTok ban moves forward. Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are the most direct alternatives, but Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are all heavily focused on short-form video this year.

Be prepared

Being nimble is always important in marketing, particularly in times of uncertainty. Here are some practical steps you can take now to ease looming transitions later:  

  • Obtain your brand username on all the major platforms. 
  • Make sure any influencer partnership agreements that were originally planned for TikTok include a clause in the contract addressing what happens if TikTok ceases to be available for use in the US. 
  • Export and save all TikTok video content to recycle elsewhere if you haven’t already done so. Pro tip: this article walks you through how to save content without the TikTok logo.
  • Be prepared to re-allocate your marketing spend quickly if/when new stories regarding the ban break. Consider piloting other channels now for an easy transition later if necessary.

QT’s integrated marketing team will be keeping a real-time pulse on TikTok throughout 2024. Drop us a message if you have any questions about assessing your digital strategy or to let us know how you are thinking about your engagement approach moving forward.