I said it, and the Zoom room gave that awkward giggle that means yeah, not here! Granted, this was a “corporate” room. Very rarely do people throw around words like TikTok in places like that. I did. Let me tell you why.
There are two sides to TikTok.
One side is China. All social media platforms have their disadvantages (impact on mental health being the main one* — watch The Social Dilemma), but TikTok takes it a step further — owned by the Chinese government and all. I mean, do we want China owning our data and maybe using it against us? Probably not. I suppose they could sell TikTok to an American company (TikTok USA?) and resolve the problem—but why would they do that (unless forced to)? In any case, at least for now, it is a national security threat. And maybe some day TikTok will be banned in the US. And maybe rightfully so.
But the other side is the growth potential for your brand. Before TikTok, we hadn’t seen a social media platform give posts—even just one post—this much visibility (and virality). Sure, the better your posts are and the more consistently you post—and the more followers you have—the better you’ll do, but one post truly can make the difference.
There’s a fine line we walk here. The opportunity for business growth is tempting, but is that worth the potential security threat (a little bit of hyperbole)? It may be too soon to tell. If you don’t choose to use TikTok, then fine, take that stand. Don’t use it at all, not for your business, not with your friends, and not for your kids. But I’d suggest trying it out. Use it to bring people to your podcast, your website, your YouTube page, your email, or somewhere else of your choosing. Use it to learn. Use it to see what your kids are paying attention to, because even if it’s banned in your house, I guarantee someone they know has access to it.
TikTok is not The Answer to your business development problems. But it is a force today. That force may be gone in a year, three years, or tomorrow, but it’s here now. Giggle awkwardly at me if you want, but there are over one billion active users on TikTok. Yes, one billion.
*The mental health impact of social media apps is a real problem. One that requires ongoing research and content – anytime you make a decision to use social media (as a producer or consumer), please try to understand the risks involved – and the impact on mental health.