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Is TikTok’s Time Ticking Out?

6 Strategies to Future-proof Your Brand from the TikTok Ban

Brands have increasingly turned to TikTok for its unparalleled reach and engagement. Now, news of a potential U.S. ban is sending shockwaves across the marketing landscape, especially for the nearly 5 million U.S. businesses on the platform.

But what does it really mean for your brand – and when? Austin Williams’ content specialists and social media strategists weigh in to help you understand what’s happening and what you can do. Read on for six tips to future-proof your brand’s social media strategy in the face of a looming ban.

What’s Really Happening with the TikTok Ban

The so-called “TikTok ban” isn’t an outright prohibition – at least not yet. The U.S. government, citing national security and consumer privacy concerns, has demanded that ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, divest its U.S. operations.

The legislation, signed into law in April, gives ByteDance until January 2025 to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to a qualified American-based entity. If they don’t comply, TikTok faces a potential ban in the U.S.

TikTok has pushed back, arguing that they have invested billions in safeguarding U.S. data. And now the biggest roadblock to the ban is the petition TikTok and ByteDance filed in May that challenges the order’s constitutionality, stating that a ban is an infringement on free speech that would have a “profound effect on American life” for its 170 million U.S.-based users.

The TikTok Ban’s Potential Impact on Brands

For businesses relying on TikTok, the biggest hurdle to overcome could be the loss of access to the platform’s younger user base – primarily composed of Gen Z and Millennials. Brands that work specifically with TikTok influencers to amplify their brand messages may face disruptions in reaching niche target audiences and loyal followers.

Still, brands shouldn’t panic – and certainly not just yet. We don’t expect TikTok to go anywhere anytime soon, and with the U.S. Court of Appeals set to hear the case this September, there’s plenty of time to plan.

How to Prepare Your Brand for a TikTok Ban

6 Tips to Future-proof Your Social Media Strategy

  • 1. Diversify your social media presence

    Strengthening your presence across multiple platforms now ensures that you’re not overly reliant on TikTok to reach your targets – and it doesn’t require a major change to your content strategy.

    “The lessons that TikTok has taught us about how people want to engage with brands through long- and short-form videos that teach, entertain, and inspire are applicable in all other social channels,” says AW’s executive creative director, Bryan Hynes.

    Consider building up these channels to connect with targets that a TikTok ban may impact:

    • Meta’s Reels: Similar to TikTok, Meta’s Reels supports short, engaging videos in a vertical format on Instagram, where 61.1% of users are aged 18-34, and Facebook, where 61.7% are aged 18-44.
    • YouTube Shorts: With over 2.3 billion monthly active users, YouTube Shorts is a great way to stay connected to audiences and share short-form content of 60 seconds or less. Plus, YouTube Shorts are prioritized in Google search, making it a smart move for your social and SEO strategy.
    • Snapchat: Looking to reach Gen Z? Then, Snapchat needs to be part of your social strategy. While it might not be the most popular platform, it has the highest share of Gen Z users in the U.S. and is projected to reach nearly 50 million Gen Z users by 2025.
  • 2. Continue to develop UGC-style videos (no matter the platform)

    Regardless of whether or not TikTok is banned, its influence on the dominance of user-generated content (UGC) is here to stay.

    “UGC-style videos have become a content cornerstone due to their authenticity and engagement potential,” says Stephen Kalantgopoulos, AW’s paid social media manager. “They appear more genuine and relatable, fostering a stronger connection with target audiences that humanizes brands.”

    But this style of content does more than boost your brand’s authenticity and appeal; it’s a strategic way to expand your reach and maximize your ROI. Kalantgopoulos explains, “This type of organic-looking content serves the social algorithm well on TikTok and beyond. Plus, leveraging content created by users online can reduce production costs.”

  • 3. Explore new editing tools

    Content creators lean heavily on TikTok’s in-app video editing because it is easy to use and offers a wide range of features all within the platform. But it’s wise to get familiar with new tools in the face of a looming ban.

    “At Austin Williams, we’ve recently started using CapCut,” says Kalantgopoulos. “It’s an all-in-one platform powered by AI that allows you to create high-quality, visually appealing videos. Like TikTok, CapCut is owned by ByteDance, but we don’t anticipate a ban impacting this tool.”

    CapCut offers a web-based editor and a mobile app, making it an agile way to edit short videos on the fly. Our favorite feature is the Trending Templates it provides, which lets your brand quickly jump onto the latest trending audio and video cuts.

    Adobe Express is another design tool that makes video content creation easier with user-friendly tools, templates, and customizable features. Perfect for more advanced editing, it integrates into the Adobe suite and allows assets to be imported seamlessly from one program to the next.

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  • 4. Repurpose your content thoughtfully

    Maximize your existing TikTok content by repurposing it for other platforms (if you aren’t already doing so). “Generally, the vertical videos that work on TikTok can be applied to Meta in the form of Reels, as well as YouTube Shorts,” Kalantgopoulos explains.

    Still, Nick Gaffney, AW’s director of digital strategy, cautions that brands should pay attention to the details: “Trending audio can vary from TikTok to Instagram Reels, so be sure to treat each platform’s audio overlay separately. In some cases, you’ll find that the same audio is trending across both platforms – but it’s important to select audio thoughtfully since each platform’s algorithm can boost visibility based on the audio attached to it.”

  • 5. Strengthen owned media channels

    While often undervalued in the face of flashy TikTok trends and paid media, building up your owned media channels ensures your brand stays connected to its targets, regardless of the fast-changing digital landscape.

    “Owned media gives you complete control of your marketing and communications,” says Marianne O’Connor, AW’s SEO and content marketing specialist. “Build up your email lists, blog content, website, and mobile apps. You really need to think of your brand’s owned channels as the engine powering your marketing strategy – and now’s the time to invest in them.”

  • 6. Be ready to shift your brand’s digital marketing plan

    If your brand is actively relying on TikTok to reach your targets using paid media, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of performance.

    “As we optimize our clients’ paid TikTok efforts, we’re keeping a watchful eye on real-time volume metrics such as reach and impressions,” says Gaffney. “While we haven’t seen it yet, considerable dips to those metrics may indicate an exodus from users who fear the worst as the ban looms. If that happens, our contingency plan goes into effect as quickly as those real-time metrics we track, and we’ll shift budgets to other channels at a moment’s notice.”

The potential TikTok ban reminds us of the dynamic nature of digital marketing. For brands and the teams managing their marketing, staying flexible and proactive is key.

At Austin Williams, we’re here to help you navigate the challenges and seize new opportunities, even in the face of uncertainty. Let’s talk.


Content Director


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