Montana recently made headlines as the first state in the United States to enact a comprehensive ban on TikTok, set to take effect on January 1, 2024.
The ban is one of many moves against the platform, which has come under fire in the past few months from U.S. legislators who allege it poses a significant national security concern. The app, owned by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, was accused of potentially funneling American consumer data to the Chinese government.
Though it’s unlikely that the platform will be completely banned, the possibility of a ban in states across the United States raises concerns for the livelihood of small businesses that depend on the platform as a vital marketing tool.
A Haven for Small Businesses
Over the last four years, TikTok has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and become a go-to platform for small businesses seeking to reach and engage with a wide audience
Over 750,000 of the 5 million organizations on the platform are small businesses according to Tiktok. The app’s unique format and viral nature have revolutionized the pace at which small businesses can find and engage with their target audiences.
In response to the TikTok ban, small business owners in Montana and possibly across the nation will need to identify and invest in alternative marketing channels to compensate for the loss of TikTok's reach and engagement.
Paving the Road Forward
The path forward post-Tiktok could involve exploring other social media platforms, optimizing websites to attract organic traffic, or adopting new advertising methods. Diversifying marketing efforts beyond TikTok will be crucial to maintaining visibility and connecting with potential customers.
Businesses solely operating within Montana may face increased competition from out-of-state counterparts who can continue utilizing TikTok for marketing purposes. The ability to leverage TikTok outside the state could give these businesses a competitive advantage, impacting market share and the overall competitiveness of Montana-based businesses.
While the full impact is uncertain, small businesses must navigate the change ahead by exploring new avenues to reach their target audiences. These could include other social media platforms such as Instagram Reels or Twitter, or even creating their own blogs and online collaborations. By embracing new strategies and platforms, businesses can mitigate the effects of the TikTok ban and continue to thrive in an evolving digital landscape.