How the Changing Landscape of TikTok Could Impact Your Online Community

Note: This guest post was written by Clare Yeo. Clare is a social media marketing specialist who shares her fascinating insights into the potential TikTok ban and what it could mean for your online community. 

Once again, TikTok is under threat of disappearing from the United States. 

Over the weekend, I witnessed a number of young Gen Z’ers, who have created a successful career out of social media, go through another wave of anxiety and panic. 

If you haven’t built your business on the shifting sand of a social media platform, then this might not be much of a problem. But to the Gen Z’ers who are making a full-time career out of the app, this is a very scary feeling.

What are they doing to solve the problem? They’re creating content to get around the potential “TikTok ban” by sending their millions of followers to their other social media channels like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. 

When I heard what they were doing, I couldn’t help but scream internally, “That’s not the right solution! What are you doing?!” That’s when I realized… 

… most people don’t know the difference between rented and owned digital land.

So What’s the Difference?

To put it simply, rented land in the digital world is any platform that you don’t own. That means Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and yes… TikTok. Every social media platform is rented space, even though you’re technically not paying a dime.

Owning digital land means paying for a platform of your own. This comes in the form of your website, email list, digital courses you create, and yes… your non-Facebook community.

The Pros & Cons of Renting vs. Owning

Renting isn’t all bad. You can use social media “rented land” as a powerful tool to help you grow your community and following organically and through the power of Facebook and Instagram ads.

However, the worst part about rented land is that you have no control over your content. You’re at the mercy of an algorithm which means you have to play by the platform’s rules. Although you do own the content published on your social media channels, you do not get to control the outcome.

For example, If you posted a video on YouTube, it could get demonetized for any reason. If you posted a great image on Instagram, the algorithm may not show it to all your followers.

With a blog, website, and email list (aka owned digital land), you have full control over the entire user experience. Instead of relying on algorithms that constantly change, you’re relying on tried-and-true SEO strategies and techniques to get many fresh, new views as possible.

Why This Matters…

To be successful online, you need both rented and owned spaces. 

The rented space is great for targeting your specific audience, to get to know them, communicate with them, and build the beginnings of a relationship.

However, once you’ve established trust, you don’t want to send your audience to another rented space on the internet

Instead, send them to a place that you own, where you’re tailoring the entire experience while delivering high-value content.

That way, if TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook were to all disappear tomorrow… your audience will be safe inside your community.