What Does The Potential TikTok Ban Mean For Small Business Marketing? (2024)

By Rieva Lesonsky

Legislation was recently passed and signed into law stating that social media juggernaut TikTok must sell itself to another company or be banned from operating in the United States. TikTok’s parent company, Chinese-owned ByteDance, plans to challenge the law in court.

If the social media platform is banned (it won’t happen until at least 2025), it not only leaves a hole for TikTok’s 170 million American users, but also for many small businesses that use the social network as a marketing tool.

No matter what happens, small businesses need to adapt to social media’s seemingly constant changes. Maintaining an online presence is essential for talking directly to current and potential customers.

To gain a deeper understanding, I talked to Veronica Lin, the head of brand and strategy at Playsee, a platform that facilitates local connection and collaboration by bringing together the digital and local worlds.


Samsung Documents Confirm Missing Galaxy Z Fold 6 Feature
World No 1 Djokovic Survives 5 Set Epic To Advance In French Open Match That Ends After 3 AM
UFC 302 Results Bonus Winners After Special Main Event Performance

How a TikTok ban would affect small businesses

Rieva Lesonsky: What would the impact be on small businesses if TikTok is actually banned?

Veronica Lin: It would make a big difference. TikTok is one of the most popular tools businesses use in their social media marketing strategies. The potential absence of the platform would mean businesses—particularly local and small businesses that mainly rely on such platforms—would have to shift to other social media platforms to maintain visibility and engagement and thrive in the fiercely competitive marketplace.

One prime reason small businesses prefer platforms like TikTok is their low cost and the opportunity to reach customers that resonate with their content.

Leveraging alternative social media platforms

Lesonsky: If TikTok goes away, what platforms do you see taking up the slack?

Lin: Instagram presents itself as a fitting alternative, offering video-based features. Consumers can discover and buy products from brands through their Instagram profiles, posts, or Stories.

At Playsee, we find that offering features like videos and communities helps small businesses connect with customers personally, as they did in the pre-digital era when everyday life revolved around the community and business owners knew their customers and their specific needs.

In general, videos help businesses showcase products, services, and venues in real-time. Community-oriented features help businesses directly engage with local customers, enabling discussions, sharing insights, and providing personalized recommendations. Feature sets like those offered by Instagram and other video platforms let businesses effectively target relevant communities.

Text-based platforms like X (formerly Twitter) or Reddit cater to a wide range of interests, making them valuable platforms for in-depth discussions and suitable for businesses targeting niche markets. For example, X offers a text-based sharing platform to share timely news updates and facilitate real-time customer engagement.

Expanding social media strategies for Main Street businesses

Lesonsky: What about small, independent Main Street businesses? What social platforms work for them?

Lin: The various social media platforms cater to unique audiences, and choosing the right one can significantly boost a company’s social marketing efforts. For businesses, especially those on Main Street, assessing whether the platform you’re using (or considering) effectively reaches your target audience is essential. The right choice not only increases visibility but also offers the chance to build trust and establish genuine connections with customers.

Engaging in meaningful conversations [with local customers] fosters loyalty and trust, transforming casual followers into devoted supporters. By focusing on interaction, Main Street businesses can nurture long-term relationships with their audience.

One way to achieve this is by exploring emerging social media platforms beyond the major players, who provide new growth opportunities.

More articles from AllBusiness:

Building a sizeable following on social media

Lesonsky: Business owners often ask me how to build a solid social media following. Any suggestions?

Lin: To build a strong following on social media, businesses can optimize their approach in the following ways:

  • Relevance: Find platforms that suit your business niche.
  • Interaction: Engage actively with your followers to build relationships.
  • Local collaboration: Partner with local influencers or businesses to boost visibility.
  • Community engagement: Share relatable content that resonates with your local audience.

Small, local businesses play a crucial role in shaping the character of their communities. Choosing a social media platform that connects you with the audience right outside your door may help facilitate your relationship with your community while maintaining a strong local online presence.

Enhancing local discoveries through AI

Lesonsky: Has artificial intelligence (AI) made a difference in helping small businesses better connect with customers?

Lin: AI has revolutionized social media by enhancing personalization, efficiency, and user engagement. Through AI algorithms, users can enjoy customized content and recommendations, enabling more relevancy and connecting individuals with users and businesses that truly align with their goals and interests.

For businesses, AI is already streamlining processes in customer service, sales forecasting, automated operations, and more. Before committing to AI business solutions, companies must consider whether they will enhance their operations and productivity while meeting their business requirements.

Easy-to-use AI chatbot tools help users discover nearby businesses. They take factors like the user’s current location and preferences into account to ensure they receive relevant recommendations.

Engaging young consumers on social media

Lesonsky: I hear that Gen Z has different behavior patterns than older generations when using social media.

Lin: Gen Z is increasingly turning to social media as a search engine because they’re dissatisfied with Google’s search results— [also accounting for the rise of Reddit in search results]. They prefer to search on social media because they believe they get more authentic results more quickly.

Social media allows access to small bites of information from a larger group of sources. Social media users are actively engaged in online forums and communities that cater to their interests, highlighting the significance of a diverse online presence for businesses targeting this Gen Z demographic.

Local businesses need to adapt quickly to stay ahead. They should take advantage of new platforms and technologies to remain relevant and build connections within their communities. Small, local businesses can thrive in a post-TikTok world and become indispensable in their markets by focusing on authenticity and engaging with their local audience.

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky creates content focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbusinesscurrents.com, follow her on Twitter @Rieva, and visit her website SmallBusinessCurrents.com to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free Currents newsletter.

What Does The Potential TikTok Ban Mean For Small Business Marketing? (2024)


What Does The Potential TikTok Ban Mean For Small Business Marketing? ›

The potential absence of the platform would mean businesses—particularly local and small businesses that mainly rely on such platforms—would have to shift to other social media platforms to maintain visibility and engagement and thrive in the fiercely competitive marketplace.

How will the TikTok ban affect small businesses? ›

Without the popular social media platform, some creators and small enterprises across the globe could see their revenue plummet. On 24 April, the US Senate passed legislation to ban TikTok, the popular social media app.

How does TikTok affect small businesses? ›

The app generated $5.3 billion in tax revenue through small business activity (which includes its use as a marketing and advertising tool). Over half—52 percent—of survey respondents say they rely on the app to stay competitive in the market.

What does TikTok ban mean for creators? ›

What a TikTok ban would mean for creators who rely on the platform to make a living TikTok could be effectively banned in the U.S. in as soon as nine months. One TikTok creator says a ban would cost her her livelihood. Creators are now looking for new homes for their content.

What are the risks of TikTok for business? ›

If TikTok is collecting personal data through complex algorithms and often without your knowledge, it is therefore able to gather information about your customers and your business too. The issue of TikTok targeting presents other concerns about under-aged consumers and digital grooming and bullying.

Can I promote my small business on TikTok? ›

Create a TikTok business account

A business account gives you access to TikTok's entire suite of marketing tools, including analytics, ads, commercial audio and other resources. You're also able to set up a TikTok store and connect to third-party apps like Sprout Social to manage your content.

What will influencers do if TikTok is banned? ›

“They're multichannel and very effectively follow the no-silver-bullet rule, and would experience a little disruption, but would move on to the other platforms they can work with.” The fact is TikTok's users won't vanish if the app is banned, they'll just go somewhere else.

What will happen when TikTok is banned? ›

If the ban does happen, the app won't disappear from people's phones—but it will disappear from the app store. This means the platform would not be able to update the app, nor would they be able to keep it up to date, and it would slowly become unusable.

What are the disadvantages of TikTok ban? ›

Cons of Banning TikTok

TikTok serves as a platform for creative expression, allowing individuals to share their talents, ideas, and opinions. Banning TikTok could be viewed as an infringement on freedom of speech, limiting the ability of users to express themselves and connect with a global audience.

What effect does TikTok have on business? ›

Benefits of TikTok for small business

It has 1 billion active monthly users in 141 countries. More eyes on the app mean more potential for those eyes landing on one of your branded ads. This makes it an attractive marketing platform for businesses that want to reach a large audience.

What will happen to TikTok if it gets banned? ›

What if I already downloaded it? TikTok, which is used by more than 170 million Americans, most likely won't disappear from your phone even if an eventual ban does take effect. But it would disappear from Apple and Google's app stores, which means users won't be able to download it.

What are the effects of TikTok ban? ›

Banning TikTok would send ripple effects through the economy because it's become a primary platform for emerging companies, he said. “You're probably talking about billions of dollars that would be removed from the economy,” Cutaia said. “The entire world of retail has changed completely.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Last Updated:

Views: 6110

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Saturnina Altenwerth DVM

Birthday: 1992-08-21

Address: Apt. 237 662 Haag Mills, East Verenaport, MO 57071-5493

Phone: +331850833384

Job: District Real-Estate Architect

Hobby: Skateboarding, Taxidermy, Air sports, Painting, Knife making, Letterboxing, Inline skating

Introduction: My name is Saturnina Altenwerth DVM, I am a witty, perfect, combative, beautiful, determined, fancy, determined person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.