As of late last week, it’s official: TikTok is banned in the state of Montana. The state Governor, Greg Gianforte, signed SB419, which makes TikTok illegal in an attempt to fight foreign espionage. The bill states that “TikTok's continued operation in Montana serves as a valuable tool to the People's Republic of China to conduct corporate and international espionage in Montana and may allow the People's Republic of China to track the real-time locations of public officials, journalists, and other individuals adverse to the Chinese Communist Party's interests.” There are two points we can draw from here: one, Montana will likely not be the last US state to ban TikTok and other foreign-owned apps, and two, the impact of this legislation on small businesses and entrepreneurs like you. It’s unclear exactly how the legal battle will settle out, with TikTok fighting back, but if you’ve been subscribed to Emercify, you’ve heard it before: it is so incredibly valuable to own your audience lists in a space outside of social media. There are many reasons to do this, and bans are only part of it: do you want your audience reach to be beholden to the designed algorithm? And what happens in the case of a state ban?
We’re already seeing and hearing some unintended consequences for entrepreneurs that do a majority of their business on TikTok. As the app has been developing features like online “stores” that businesses can share links to on their page, and TikTok’s ever-growing audience, it’s no wonder that there are many business owners out there. CNN business interviewed Keri Williams, the owner of The Branded Pinto, a hat business that has garnered much attention on TikTok. She says, “I’ve been trying to get some of the people over to Instagram in case something horrible does happen, where people suddenly can’t get to my TikTok… but I’m not really sure how it’s all going to work.”
We feel so horrible for businesses like The Branded Pinto, who reports that nearly all of their business comes from the platform. We want to help make sure that you can work to convert your audiences to your own email list. We stress the value of owning your audience list on email or in a database because you can’t predict what the future of all these apps that we use will look like. Case in point, if they’re foreign owned, they will get banned in more states that follow suit. While it may not be clear yet what the outcome will be, you deserve to thrive in the uncertainty. Managing an email list can bring you a dependable audience that can be exported and imported across different email platforms, something that you can’t quite do among all the social platforms. You can try to convert your audience to follow you across all channels, but the email is one of the most reliable ways to contact your customer directly… with a set-up effort but minimal effort afterwards as the system automates.
Maybe you live in Montana, or have a significant audience in Montana, and you’re wanting to get ahead of any disruptions for your TikTok-dominant audience. It’s a good thing to be considering at the moment! So how can you encourage your social media followers to join your email list? A general tip we can give: don't be afraid to ask your social media followers if they want to receive emails from you. It's a bold move, but it can be incredibly effective.
- Consider providing a freebie or exclusive deal for those who join your email list. You’re likely to have seen this one before, in pop-ups that appear when you first visit a website. “Sign up for our newsletter now for 15% off!” This can be a big motivator for people, especially an audience that was eager to buy from you on TikTok.
- Optimize your email list with targeted content that speaks to your audience. Once you get customers on your email list, you have to work to keep them. Being able to personalize emails with shopping data can be the difference between keeping customers engaged and having a large portion of your list stop opening your emails.
In no time, your social media followers will be eager to subscribe to your email list, expanding your reach and increasing customer engagement. Once you develop an email list, you'll have a much easier time reaching all your followers outside of social media. While it takes a little bit of work, the biggest plus you can give is consistency. Working constantly to build your email audience, as long as you’re able to target the proper audience and give them worthwhile incentives to engage in your marketing content, will pay off in the long run. Your future self will thank you for taking the time to set up the process to really harness your audience! Let us know if you have any questions about what to expect from this ban and other social media trending changes.