The Fate of TikTok

By Jonathan Baker, Christina Botte, and Shannon Duer

One topic that’s been on the minds of many has been the fate of TikTok. Will this popular social media platform remain—or be outlawed? Recently passed legislation concludes that TikTok’s days may well be numbered. If you are a marketer and have relied on this site to promote your brand, you’re asking: “How can I adjust my social media strategy?” First, breathe and don’t panic.

The ultimatum

Despite TikTok’s efforts to improve transparency, fears about a mass invasion of privacy have remained. Last week, these fears took effect when Congress passed the bill that gave ByteDance—the China-based company that created and owns TikTok—the ultimatum of either selling the platform to an approved buyer or expect to have it banned in the United States. Time may, however, be on TikTok’s side.

Not going away overnight

A TikTok ban, as reported by NBC News, may take at least one year to go into effect, as there’s a strong chance that ByteDance will challenge the statute in court. A lot could happen. Maybe ByteDance will obey the bill and sell to an approved (and American) buyer. Also, a ban may have a limited impact, as many users—and brands—on the platform are active on other social media sites. This observation leads to a plan of action that you and other marketers should start or strengthen.

Social media sites must become more social

Whatever the fate of TikTok might be—getting bought or outlawed—you must consider the events of today as a warning sign for being prepared to change course by showcasing your brand on other platforms. This does not mean to discontinue TikTok (for now), but to pursue other social media sites to promote visibility and attract customer interest.

TikTok’s ranking among other platforms

A recent study conducted by HubSpot presented revealing findings about TikTok’s standing among other social media platforms—where highest return on investment (ROI) is concerned.

  • YouTube – 25 percent
  • Facebook – 22 percent
  • Instagram – 21 percent
  • TikTok – 14 percent
  • X (formerly Twitter) – 6 percent
  • LinkedIn – 6 percent

Video content still leads

The HubSpot study demonstrates the power of video marketing, with YouTube in first place, followed closely by Facebook and Instagram. If you currently post video branded video content to TikTok, take action to branch out to one or more of these sites. (The effort will be pinpointing which sites—aside from TikTok—that effectively connect with your specific target audience. Different platforms may yield different results.)

Shannon Duer, Senior Social Media Manager at EGC, offers this suggestion:

“If TikTok gets banned in the U.S., I think we could expect to see an even greater shift towards Meta’s platforms for advertising, resulting in higher user engagement and even more time spent on Facebook and Instagram. Brands should make sure they have developed content strategies for these platforms, and, in the meantime, keep utilizing TikTok for exposure.”

(Tying Shannon’s prediction in with the above list, note that Facebook and Instagram—both Meta platforms—are respectively in second and third place.)

Playing the social media field

For successful strategizing, diversification is key. As summarized by Christina Botte, EGC’s Director of Social Media:

“It’s important to play the field when it comes to social media and not put all your eggs in one basket. A well-rounded social media strategy always focuses on multiple platforms that target all audiences.”

Even though the decision to keep or ban TikTok is in legislative limbo, the time to diversify the visibility of your brand on social media. Have questions on managing this diversification? Get in touch with EGC for guidance in strengthening your brand’s social media presence.