Just as we’ve started to grasp the impact and usefulness of Tik Tok as an Influencer Marketing tool, now we find out it may be getting banned? Read on to find out what the deal is and the new feature on Instagram that might be replacing it.
First things first, let’s catch up on the reason US President, Donald Trump, is concerned that the app puts Americans at risk. Also, is this a safety concern or more of a power-grab? We don’t like to get too political here, so we’ll just dish the facts and you can decide for yourself.
Trump has publicly expressed concern that Tik Tok’s Chinese owners will sell or share the user information with the Chinese government and thus is moving forward with pressure to ban the app unless there’s a new US buyer for it.
There were threats to shut down the app as early as August 6th, but alas, it is still alive and well in the US at the time of this writing and is still being used by creators and marketers.
A glitch in the Tok Tok algorithm on August 6th caused views and likes to be hidden and random videos displayed on the For-you page (instead of the usual personalized content feed). This caused a huge wave of #RIPTiktok and something close to mass internet hysteria because many assumed the US Government had gotten a hold of the app.
Trump has stated that in order for the US to allow access to the app moving forward, a US company must buy it by September 15th, 2020.
Said US company who does purchase the app must give a cut to the US Treasury. How much? “A significant amount of money” were Trump’s words.
Influencers are freaking out and trying to decide on a new strategy to continue working. This issue coincides with the stigma around Influencers who rose to fame specifically and firstly on Tik Tok and subsequently grew on other platforms after that. The myth is that these creators who rose to fame in a COVID-era world on a new-ish app don’t hold any weight as significantly influential marketing partners and that their influence on other platforms such as Instagram or Youtube are still benchmarks. The thought is that they won’t be able to live up to the industry standard if the standards are raised again with the elusive Instagram algorithm that is not as favoring for new creators as Tik Tok.
Marketers are deciding whether to continue working with US-based Influencers (or those with primarily US followers) on Tik Tok while we’re in limbo with the ban threat. The concern here is being associated in any way with a threat posed to national security of user information at this scale. However, we highly doubt anything like this can come back on any one Brand or Influencer, since we would all just be pawns with honest intentions at the end of the day if some evil scheme really existed.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
If you’re an Influencer, we’d encourage you to do a couple things here: don’t freak out and abandon post just yet, keep your eyes and ears open for new information, and keep your relationships no matter what happens.
If you’re a Brand, the best thing you can do is keep moving forward with your campaigns that are set before September 15th, but reevaluate your strategy moving forward and keep in mind utilizing Influencer partners that have a presence on more platforms than just Tik Tok. This will ensure that there are no major hiccups in your campaigns if a platform shift needs to be made. With this kind of uncertainty, adjust your campaign goals and expectations accordingly.
That’s our short and sweet take on what the heck is going on with Tik Tok. Now let’s talk about the new app, or rather, the new feature inside the Instagram app that’s making waves while the Tik Tok ship has been anchored for the moment.
There’s a new feature in town on the Instagram app called Reel that launched to some Instagram users on August 6th. And it’s SUPER similar to Tik Tok, enough so to raise some monopoly eyebrows (Zuckerberg, looking at you, buddy). It’s short-form video content that you can edit with text and music right within the app. These videos are only up to be 15 seconds long.
You can access it by going to the explore page and clicking on the Reel feed (that you swipe through just like on Tik Tok). When you want to post a reel, all you have to do is go to the create screen that you’d normally use to make an Instagram story and scroll across the options on the bottom to get to reel. A “preview” of the reel also shows up on your normal feed, just like an IGTV preview.
Reactions to this new feature are pretty mixed, and largely because not everyone has access to it yet. But also because the algorithm is absolutely unknown and unexplored as of now (this is being written the day it came on the scene). Something we’ve noticed already is that many Tik Tokers are reposting all of their successful content in 15 second snippets to Instagram as reel posts. Kind of like when your Aunt Karen uploads all of her vacation pictures, one after the other to her Instagram feed…