Protect Your Business From A TikTok Ban: Diversify Your Social Media

It’s Marketing and Branding Month here at Inman. As we enter a competitive spring selling season, let’s examine which tried-and-true tactics and cutting-edge innovations are getting deals done in today’s market. We’ll also be recognizing the industry’s marketing and branding leaders with Inman’s Marketing All-Star Awards.

TikTok is making headlines again, this time for being threatened with a ban by the U.S. government. We’ve been here before, with multiple attempts to ban TikTok, both from the public, which were unsuccessful, and from government employees’ phones, which were successful. Is this time different? 

Time is the only way to know how this will end. What we do know is it’s wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. A TikTok ban is absolutely possible, so it’s a good idea to prepare for one, just in case. 

Does TikTok even impact real estate? Are agents actually posting there? They are, and according to NAR research, the number of real estate professionals joining and using TikTok has tripled over the last few years.

Agents have started using TikTok for good reason: With 170 million users, the app contributed a staggering $24 billion to the U.S. economy in 2023, with 69 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses on the app reporting an increase in sales from using it. 

Even if you aren’t using TikTok, this is a great reminder that any professional with a social media presence should never go all in on one platform, if possible. 

No matter what happens to TikTok — or even Meta or X, formerly known as Twitter — for you or me here “on the ground,” the course of action stays the same: Control what’s actually in our control, which isn’t much.

Never forget that the platform you are posting on owns that little piece of internet real estate; we’re just leasing it out. They hold all the cards and can change the terms whenever they want. 

Step 1: Diversify your presence 

There is little consumer protection for our digital lives, so it’s best to cover all your bases proactively. The best way to do that on social media is to diversify your presence. Having an up-to-date website, a good email list and regular newsletters are other great ideas, too. 

The idea is to connect with your audience in multiple ways, which is nothing new; we’re always trying to do that anyway. So many things can go wrong in the digital world and compromise your digital marketing plans. From outages to platforms changing hands to having your account wrongfully deleted, you never know when you might suddenly be starting from scratch again. 

Focus on similar content platforms 

Suppose you have a cultivated presence on TikTok now. In that case, I’d recommend adding Instagram and YouTube since they both have features that allow you to use short or long-form video, and many TikTok users are also users of one or both of these platforms. 

Use scheduling tools to manage 

Don’t have time for more than one platform? I hear you, and that’s a very valid concern. Today, many helpful tools exist to manage your social media presence; a scheduler like Buffer, Hootsuite, or my favorite, Loomly, is a must. 

They may not be free, but the cost for one brand’s accounts should be pretty reasonable and, in my opinion, 100 percent worth it. With a scheduler, you can push your content out to several platforms, and with most, you can deviate among publishing times and content so it’s not too repetitive. 

You can still focus primarily on one platform. Hopefully, it is the one you are most comfortable with and with which you have the most audience interaction.

But suppose you have a consistent presence on other platforms. In that case, if something happens on another platform, like a ban from the government, a change of ownership or even a technical failure resulting in a prolonged outage or loss of your account, your audience will already be following you elsewhere or can at least find you. 

Step 2: Make sure people know where to find you

Another tool you can use is a catch-all link in your profile, something like a LinkTree, ShortStack, Linkinbio or one of the many other options out there. These allow your followers to find you anywhere you have a presence quickly and easily. They are also an excellent way to promote your website, blog or newsletter on a platform like Instagram, which doesn’t allow you to share links in posts. 

Pay attention to the parent company

Word of caution: Since Meta owns Facebook, Instagram and Threads (and WhatsApp), having a presence only on those platforms is risky. You could lose access to all of them should something go down or your accounts become compromised.

Use the same caution when exploring up-and-coming apps; for example, Lemon8 is also owned by ByteDance, which owns TikTok — and the parent company has the U.S. government concerned. In addition, smaller apps get bought by more prominent companies often; that’s how Meta has Instagram and WhatsApp.

There are many social media platforms besides the major ones we all know, like Facebook, Instagram, X, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Some may not be very popular now, but if something happens to TikTok or another of the major platforms, one of the smaller ones may grow very quickly.

Always choose a platform that appeals to you (and your audience), and get out there and explore. Here are a few to start with: Go beyond: Alternative social media apps to try

Who knows? You may find one you love and cultivate a rich, engaged following worth more than a massive, unengaged one on a more competitive app. If you are not sure how to explore a new social media platform, here’s a helpful guide: Getting social: 7 steps for exploring emerging platforms

Happy scrolling! 

Jessi Healey is a freelance writer and social media manager specializing in real estate. Find her on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Threads.

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