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How Creators and Brands Are Responding To The US TikTok Ban

Jun 25, 2024

Marketing News

How Creators and Brands Are Responding To The US TikTok Ban

The US TikTok ban has been causing quite the stir on social media as of late. Both users and brands are jumping at the opportunity to share their predictions for the future of the world’s most-beloved short-form video app. 

@evhandd

ByteDance just SUED the US government for voilating the first amendment 🤯😳 #tiktokban #bytedance #tiktokbanned

♬ original sound – Evan

According to a survey conducted by WIRED, the majority of US TikTok creators don’t believe the app will fully be banned within a year, due to not seeing the brands they work for begin to shift their budgets away from the app. Similarly, this lack of existential dread is also fuelled by the mere fact that 83% of creators are yet to see their sponsorships affected. 

A more widely-adopted approach to the US TikTok ban is that of sheer confusion regarding its absurdity. Many US TikTok creators and brands are simply struggling to conceptualise the bizarre situation their favourite app has landed itself in, stating that they are “in denial, because [they] think the TikTok ban is ridiculous”. One anonymous creator commented on the fact that “the government has bigger things to worry about than banning a platform where people are allowed to express their views and opinions”.

Despite the general consensus among creators, brands are approaching the US TikTok ban with a little less certainty, and rightfully so. 

For many established brands on TikTok, the transfer of followers and business success might not prove as easy. Adapting strategies to suit different platforms, should a ban occur, might not be the walk-in-the-park they hoped for. For example, TikTok is very casual, allowing brands to post behind-the-scenes footage, but Instagram and YouTube content is much more polished and high-level. 

But with differing opinions on the best course of action being flung at us from every which way, how do we begin to shift gears and switch up our strategies? More importantly, how do we ensure that our successes on TikTok will carry over elsewhere?

How is (or isn’t) the US TikTok ban affecting creators?

Of 200 polled US TikTok creators with at least 10,000 followers, 62% said they didn’t think TikTok would be banned by 2025, while the remaining 38% said they believed it would be. Additionally, given the government’s attempt (and failure) at cracking down on TikTok in the last few years, it’s clear creators remain sceptical that a full US TikTok ban will even ensue. 

Add Donald Trump as President into the mix, and the likelihood of a full US TikTok ban diminishes even further.

@evhandd

Donald Trump just said that he will NEVER ban TikTok… and this is a genius marketing strategy to get younger voters #tiktokban #trumptiktok #tiktokbanned #tiktokbanupdate

♬ original sound – Evan

But for those not wanting to wait around to find out, where will they go should a US TikTok ban come into effect?

You’d think that US TikTok creators will immediately look for a replacement in Instagram after 67% of creators cited the platform as the best alternative for growing their audience, however Oxford Internet Governance and Regulation Professor, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger says otherwise. “If TikTok is no longer available, Insta won’t take over because Insta’s “language” is different. So this creates an opening for something that’s in many ways like TikTok, but without the addictive nature, perhaps without the ‘foreign influence’”, says Mayer-Schonberger. This presents a huge opportunity for US internet companies and start-ups wishing to fill the void left behind by a potential US TikTok ban.

Several creators from the same poll said it’s harder to gain traction on Instagram compared to TikTok, proving Mayer-Schonberger’s point. Similarly, someone noted that Meta’s platform doesn’t offer anything equivalent to TikTok’s Creativity Program, which pays users based on how many views and other engagement metrics they receive. Across all platforms, this is the most common way to get paid, aside from signing brand deals, with UGC representing the largest TikTok revenue stream for 18% of creators. 

How is (or isn’t) the US TikTok ban affecting brands?

TikTok has been the driving force behind much brand success.

Shirah Benarde has seen her company, NightCap, amass more than 460,000 followers and 20 million likes thanks to the platform that also drives around 80% – or $4million – of overall sales. But now, NightCap and many others are shifting social media strategies in case a US TikTok ban is imminent. 

NightCap began expanding to other marketing channels like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels in the last six months, in accordance with the intensified rumours surrounding TikTok’s disappearance. Benarde says YouTube Shorts has been “shockingly beneficial”, after gaining 60,000 subscribers from zero. Though this provides proof that YouTube Shorts aids discoverability – ultimately converting people into sales – is it enough to mimic TikTok’s power?

A huge USP for TikTok is its virality, that which is harder to replicate elsewhere. It’s this exact virality that drives a lot of brick-and-mortar sales. 

For tattoo care brand, Mad Rabbit, the diversification strategy abandons the social media landscape and leans towards brick-and-mortar retail in the hopes of obtaining lasting success. And the physical footprints don’t stop there. Earlier this year, Forever 21 bought 8,500 units of NightCap’s scrunchies to sell at 400 of its stores and Collars & Co debuted its first storefront in Chicago, with two more in Florida and Pennsylvania following quickly behind. 

@shiraah

Getting my product @NightCap into Forever 21 🥺 #retail #forever21 #safety #goingout #goingoutoutfit

♬ Summer – 𝙇𝙭𝙪𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙯 🫶🏻

For the brands certain that the US TikTok ban will not come to fruition, the platform’s nascent shopping component, TikTok Shop, remains an important part of their strategies. 

Sisters Taylor Capuano and Casey Capuano Sarai are the owners of Cakes Body, which makes silicone-grade nipple covers. Though they have gradually been expanding into other marketing channels other than TikTok, they still see the value of TikTok Shop, stating that 10% of Cakes Body’s revenue comes from here and remaining optimistic that this will soon double to 20% by the end of the year.

@cakesbody

Taking a step back to remember our “why” today. ❤️ What all started as a simple solution to the pads in our sports bras quickly turned into a product that made our customers feel more comfortable as they navigated body changes. We were blown away by you. From day one, we donated a dollar per pair to breast cancer research. Because of YOU, that number is now over $200,000. So, we just want to take a moment to say if you’ve ever shopped with CAKES, you’re making a difference whether you know it or not. We love you, and Happy Giving Tuesday. xoxo – CAKES Crew #givingbacktothecommunity #givingtuesday #smallbusinessowner #femalefounder #inclusivefashion #businesstiktok #giftgiving

♬ original sound – CAKES Body – CAKES Body

Are creators and brands right to start making the move away from TikTok?

Regardless of the looming threat of a US TikTok ban, creating a robust online presence across multiple platforms is no longer optional—it’s essential for personal and professional success. By engaging on various social media channels, creators and brands enhance their visibility, credibility, and influence. These are all integral pillars for building an online footprint that will benefit the long-term.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@sociallypowerful

Author

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Shannon Maher

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