How a TikTok Ban Will Impact Marketers (And What You Can Do to Prepare)

Gina Ghamo | March 30, 2023

If you’ve been keeping up with the drama surrounding TikTok, you know Congress recently held a hearing to determine whether the app should be banned in the United States. While no decision has been made yet, marketers are starting to sweat. What happens to them if a TikTok ban comes to pass?

The truth is, banning TikTok will have a major impact on corporate marketers and local businesses that use the app. A ban isn’t inevitable, but it’s a real enough possibility that you should prepare for the aftermath.

Learn how a TikTok ban will impact your brand and what you can do to prepare.

Why Are Lawmakers Trying to Get TikTok Banned?

So, what exactly is so bad about TikTok that there’s talk of a national ban?

The biggest concern is data privacy. Because the app is owned by ByteDance, a China-based company, government officials fear that TikTok is collecting user data and feeding it to the Chinese government for surveillance purposes. They also suspect that TikTok is pushing political propaganda onto users’ feeds in favor of the Chinese government.

How Will Banning TikTok Affect Marketers?

For brands that leverage TikTok marketing, a potential ban is a big deal. Here’s what marketers can expect if the government decides to ban TikTok.

1. Loss of Audience and Engagement

Banning TikTok would inevitably cause marketers to lose the unique audience they’ve built on the platform. TikTok has an overwhelmingly young user base, with 71.3% of users aged between 18 and 34 years old. That means brands would lose their connection with a large Gen Z and millennial audience that may be harder to reach on other platforms.

In addition, TikTok has the highest engagement rate of any social media platform by far at 4.25%. Outlawing the app would bring this engagement to a screeching halt for brands that previously marketed through this channel.

2. Reduced Sales

When a loyal audience disappears, so do sales. TikTok has served as a revenue driver for many marketers. For example, 50% of TikTok users have purchased something after watching a brand’s TikTok LIVE.

By losing their presence on TikTok, brands can expect a decrease in revenue.

3. Slow Social Media Growth

TikTok has proven ideal for brands looking to grow their audiences fast. This app enables marketers to gain followers at a faster rate than any other platform. Brands that market on TikTok see an average 2% to 3% increase in followers each month, while those on Instagram only see 0.98% growth.

Brands that previously thrived on TikTok may struggle to recreate their success on other social media platforms following the ban — building an audience and creating viral content will be a much slower process.

4. Shift in Platform Usage

If government officials ban TikTok, marketers will undoubtedly shift their marketing efforts to other channels. Many will likely migrate to similar platforms that offer short-term video marketing opportunities, such as Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Snapchat. Chances are, TikTok audiences will also move to these types of apps due to the similar user experiences they offer.

While brands will have to learn an entirely new algorithm, they’ll still be able to create content similar to what they produced on TikTok and engage like audiences.

5. Impact on Local Affiliates

A TikTok ban won’t just affect you — it’ll also affect your affiliates.

Many local businesses rely heavily on TikTok to market their products and services and have gained considerable exposure through this channel. For many, the bulk of their following lives on TikTok. Banning this platform may pull the rug out from under affiliates’ feet, impacting their businesses and yours.

How to Prepare for the Potential TikTok Ban

The idea of banning TikTok has many marketers holding their breath. If you’re one of them, there’s good news — there are ways to prepare.

The end of TikTok doesn’t mean the end of marketing. Start building your backup plan with the following tips.

Diversify Your Marketing Channels

When it comes to social media marketing, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. In other words, if TikTok is banned, you need other channels to fall back on.

Be sure to diversify your marketing channels by building a social media presence on platforms outside of TikTok, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If the TikTok ban comes to fruition, you’ll still be able to drive results on other channels.

Like any good investment strategy, it pays to diversify.

Repurpose Your TikTok Content

Don’t let your TikTok marketing content go to waste. Instead, repurpose your short-form videos across other platforms that support this content, such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. These materials will reach a similar audience — plus, you can encourage your TikTok followers to move to these channels to keep up with your brand. That way, there’s a better chance you’ll stay connected if TikTok gets banned.

Direct Followers to Owned Channels

Try turning your TikTok followers into leads by adding calls to action (CTAs) to your TikTok content. By directing them to owned channels, you encourage viewers to maintain their relationship with your brand outside of TikTok. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, email list, or blog so they can continue receiving content from your brand even if TikTok goes dark.

Follow Your TikTok Audience to Other Platforms

If TikTok disappears from the social media sphere, users will inevitably migrate to other platforms. You can maintain some of your TikTok audience by waiting to see where these users go next and meeting them there. Try conducting research to determine which platforms are most popular with TikTok users and use that as a basis for where to market next.

Currently, Instagram has the most user overlap with TikTok at 73%.

Be Prepared for Anything With BrandMuscle

Optimize your marketing across all social media channels by partnering with the experts at BrandMuscle. We make local marketing easy for you and your affiliates by providing personalized guidance and support to ensure that your marketing messages drive results on social media and beyond.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our best-in-class solutions!

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