Social & Influencers

TikTok creators are rethinking their posting strategies ahead of a potential ban

While many are waiting to see what happens, some are thinking through their contingency plans.
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@realstephenhart via Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok

· 4 min read

It’s been about a month since TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in front of lawmakers while the US was abuzz about a potential ban on the app. Since then, Montana lawmakers passed a bill that would ban TikTok within state borders—though it’s currently facing efficacy questions and a governor who wants to broaden the bill to include all social apps that provide certain types of data to “foreign adversaries.”

As the future of TikTok in the US remains up in the air, creators on the platform are rethinking their posting strategies and how to reach audiences in other ways.

“With the recent rumblings and the hearings, this is the first time, I think, myself included and other TikTok creators are like, ‘Oh, there’s a real chance it’s gonna be banned,’” TikTok creator Stephen Hart told us. “We’re looking at other ways to continue posting content on other platforms.”

Backup plans

A TikTok ban could have a substantial impact on creators’ income and brand deals; many bring in thousands of dollars for one sponsored post alone.

Hart, who’s worked with brands like Sam’s Club and Taco Bell, became a creator on TikTok in April 2020 and now has more than 455k followers. Since the Montana news, Hart said he’s been posting more frequently on Instagram and YouTube, where his followings are a fraction of the size. While some of Hart’s past TikTok deals have included posting to Reels, he said he hasn’t done any brand deals exclusive to YouTube or Instagram yet.

In addition to potentially impacting his income, Hart said losing TikTok would mean losing a portfolio of his past work as he pursues a career in acting. As he thinks about how to save his existing content—including metrics—he said he’s also thinking about the amount of trust he’s putting in one single platform.

“There’s always been a conversation among creators, where if your primary platform is something that you don’t own, it puts you at a disadvantage,” he said, adding that discussions around the ban have made him think about how to create content without “relying on a big corporation, especially one that doesn’t know who I am” and can ban an account or shut down at a moment’s notice.

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It’s a concept that creator Ross Pomerantz, who goes by the moniker “Corporate Bro,” is familiar with; he got his start posting on Vine, which was shut down in 2017. He told us that TikTok going away wouldn’t be the end of the world for him considering he’s “seen the platforms come and go.”

Unlike Hart, Pomerantz said he was a slow adopter of TikTok, where he has more than 208k followers, and has focused more on Instagram and LinkedIn, where he has around 366k and 97k followers, respectively.

As of now, TikTok makes up about one-third of Pomerantz’s income from posting on social media, while Instagram is closer to two-thirds, and the rest comes from LinkedIn. From a monetary standpoint, he said losing TikTok would be a “six-figure problem,” but wouldn’t necessarily be hard to make up.

“Maybe, from a budget standpoint, companies will say, ‘Alright, we’ll take our TikTok budget and move it to Instagram now,’ which is what Meta wants,” Pomerantz, who’s struck deals with brands like Dell and Visible in the past, said. “I think the dollars will just shift.”

Here, there, everywhere

In speaking with other creators about the potential ban, Pomerantz said he’s observed a normalcy bias, where most won’t see the threat as real until it impacts them. In the case of Montana, he said, “I think we’ve got to see how it’s executed.”

Erin Amend, VP of creators and casting at Day One Agency, told us that she’s observed a similar trend in the creators she works with: “Most creators we’re talking with are under the assumption that the ban won’t happen, but we are seeing several encouraging their audience to follow them on other platforms in case.”

She added that those who are heavily investing in TikTok are “making their contingency plans” on Reels and, to a lesser extent, YouTube Shorts.

According to Pomerantz, establishing a presence on every platform has been the best course of action, even before the threat of a TikTok ban. “I just think the best creators have already been diversifying their platforms,” he said, adding that “the rule of thumb is: be everywhere.”

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