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  • Writer's pictureDark Horse PR

What brands need to know about the proposed TikTok ban

As we hit “publish” on this piece, users of the now infamous social media platform, TikTok, are waiting in limbo while the federal government pushes for a ban on the viral video app. According to the New York Times, the federal government is currently appealing a judge’s ruling which actually might prevent the Trump administration’s ban of the app - so there may still be hope!

Whatever the outcome, the current state of affairs has many content creators up in arms about what to do if/when the proposed ban goes into effect. TikTok has caught fire with influencers, brands and small businesses alike due to its viral capabilities - in some ways, it really does feel like the wild west. There seems to be much less sponsored content, and as folks tire of the constant “selling” on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, many have jumped ship.

That said, if you’re feeling anxious about the proposed TikTok ban, you’re likely devising a backup plan when it comes to connecting with your audience. This is something we talk about often with our clients - the main point of contact for your audience should always be direct. What does this mean? Well, at the end of the day, it means you own the access to your audience and no one can ever take that away from you.

The #1 lesson for all brands and businesses -

What if Facebook, Instagram and TikTok ALL got shut down tomorrow? Would you still be able to connect and engage with your audience? Would they even know where to find you? Every brand or small business should be asking themselves this question. By putting all of your eggs in someone else’s basket, you’re now dependent on these social media platforms. You have to trust that they will always be around, and that they will always be safe for users, a.k.a your audience.

If you’ve been killing it on TikTok, Instagram, or even Facebook - great. But if you’re relying on this middleman for your bread & butter - then you’re making a huge mistake.

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So, how do you cut out the middleman and dispel that dependency? By building your email list, of course!

Email marketing gets a bad rap because - well, let’s face it - we’ve all felt the overwhelm of an inbox flooded with junk we don’t remember ever asking for. However, that’s not what we’re referring to. When done right, building a strong email list can be your greatest asset - one that affords you the type of audience engagement no one can ever take away from you.

Similar to engagement on social media, building your email list should be authentic. They key is to offer your audience value, accountability and likeability in a way that encourages them to connect and leaves them wanting more. Of course, this is done best in small, easily digestible doses and should never feel overwhelming for your audience. If you’re posting daily to social media, you’re going to need to shift gears here unless the cornerstone of your brand or business is literally a daily newsletter highlighting current events.

Less is more when it comes to email marketing, but consistency is key. For those who have already established a strong following on social media, great! Now is the time to start nudging your audience over to the website where they can subscribe to your email list. Start by offering exclusive deals, early bird access or even insider info for followers who also join you over on your website.

If you’re hosting live meetups via Instagram LIVE or maybe inside your private Facebook group, keep the momentum going by offering this over on your site. If there’s one thing quarantine has taught us, it’s that basically anything and everything can be done virtually - why not take advantage of that?!

Tips for building your email list -

You might entice followers to subscribe to your email list by offering freebies, such as checklists, PDF downloads or even an evergreen webinar training - all of which can be hosted on your website. Right now, you might promote your brand’s offerings via Instagram or Facebook, and then hope that people follow through as you direct traffic away from the social media platform. The issue here is, the more steps your followers have to take, the less likely they are to convert to cold, hard sales.

By sending promotions and event reminders directly to your email list, you’re able to connect to those who are already most interested in what you have to offer. Plus, this saves you from having to compete for your audience’s attention as you're able to cut through the online clutter. According to a recent 2020 study, brands on Instagram regularly see engagement from roughly only 4% of their total audience. Only 4%?! However, when you’re able to connect to your audience directly via email, that number jumps exponentially.

So there you have it! If you’ve been feeling anxious about the proposed TikTok ban, now is the time to start owning the connection you have to your audience. Calm your anxiety by building an audience engagement plan that no one can ever take away from you, and the best way to do that is to start building your email list - today!


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