5 things brands can do now in face of TikTok uncertainty

The White House’s endorsement of a bill to restrict or ban TikTok in the U.S. has raised many questions across the industry. Will TikTok be banned?

Maybe; but it doesn’t need to be to create behaviour change and nervousness in spending on the platform. All we can say with certainty is that no one knows what will happen or when. However doing nothing in light of uncertainty is also a potential risk. All eyes will be on TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, on March 23rd, when he appears before the House energy and commerce committee to testify over data privacy concerns. With the platform already banned on government devices, will there be a complete ban in the US? If not, will we see brands reducing spend overnight as they did with Meta in 2020? Will sentiment with US brands and/or consumers be impacted, or will it be business as usual? How will this impact the millions of creators making a living through authentic, bespoke content?

TikTok has been a game changer for many brands and it certainly has been for TAKUMI. Whilst it’s one platform amongst a range of strong performing platforms, many marketers have made it a firm favourite. In terms of sheer diversity, inclusivity and engagement – it is hard to beat. The idea of it not being around is unthinkable, however in times of uncertainty comes opportunity.

So if you’re a brand spending on TikTok or planning to migrate significant budgets to the platform, what should you be doing to mitigate risk? What will help alleviate the fallout of any change in the current state of TikTok?

At TAKUMI, as a leading influencer platform, adaptability and speed are at the core of what we do, so here are a few ideas Brands can be thinking about to stay ahead of the curve…

1. THINK IN A PLATFORM AGNOSTIC WAY

While TikTok has been a powerful tool and perhaps a dominant one for many brands, it is not the only powerful platform. When we work with clients to assess creators and their audiences, we often find that not all creators are made equal. A creator may have audiences 5x larger on one platform than another. In some cases this is TikTok, in others it could be Instagram. 

If your brand has become highly or slightly dependent on the TikTok platform that is, currently, fine and there is no reason to change. However, now more than ever, brands should be working closely alongside their influencer partners to plan for different scenarios. 

What would a campaign look like with a new platform in the mix? When the time comes for a potential change, you should be ready to deploy. TAKUMI’s platform, along with our team of experts, enable our clients to quickly evaluate these different platform balances so you are able to adapt in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. You have to be proactive, not reactive

2. PLAN STRATEGICALLY FOR THE LONG TERM, ADAPT TACTICALLY IN SHORT CYCLES

A common occurrence stemming from these periods of uncertainty is that one can abandon long term strategic thinking, built up over months of measurement and evaluation. We can be drawn into stopping activity while we work out what is best to do next. We can enter a period of caution. But ask yourself – are your competitors also sitting on the sidelines or are they adapting to change?

Long term objectives and outcomes can remain intact, even if the tactical deployment changes. 

Review your short term plans naturally, but remain focused on the long term goals and outcomes. Keeping your target audience at the heart of your objectives should be of utmost priority, having each scenario mapped out and thinking agnostically about platforms, will get you a step closer to them. 

At TAKUMI we prioritise the audience attributes, then drill down into the social platform options. Discovering creators followed by your target audience has never been more accessible thanks to our advanced audience intelligence. We are doing the hard work for our clients now, so there is less impact if any change comes into play.

3. EVALUATE YOUR CORE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Use this time to evaluate the current state of your influencer marketing. This is a good time to evaluate the strength of your activity. Do you need to strengthen your utilisation of creators across all your platforms? Where can you improve performance? Focus on your weaknesses versus your competition. 

It is important to use any period of uncertainty to evaluate current performance because when, and if, change comes you will be in the best position to improve the outcomes of your campaigns. 

You will need to work closely with your influencer partner if you want accurate industry benchmarks along with a realistic understanding of your current performance. TAKUMI’s unmatched influencer marketing index has enabled our clients to remain competitive and resilient with future-proofing campaigns.

4. TIGHTEN UP YOUR SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES

There are risks in periods of uncertainty for systems and processes around campaign development and delivery. Make sure your brand reviews its governance around all decision making in the processes. Are there any gaps in the process that might expose the brand to risk of financial or reputational damage? 

What measures have been taken to control who can spend what budget and where? Have you considered spending limits or caps depending on role type to mitigate large exposure? The robust controls of a purchase order system can save millions down the line in poor budget allocation or payment reconciliation. Perhaps it is worth implementing controls on how far in advance teams can commit their media spend. Reducing from 6 months to 3 months in uncertain times can have material P&L impacts.

The tighter your processes and governance, the more likely your plans are to deliver against your desired outcomes. Remember that omittance can result in a rapid downfall of sentiment when it comes to future activity. Refresh your systems now and you will be able to remain agile and effective in your delivery.

Finding the right balance between influencer platform capabilities, as well as, a human touch element, is essential to a rapid response. At TAKUMI we effectively leverage the best of both worlds to deliver agility, along with the risk mitigation our clients need.

5. USE THIS TO YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Change is a period of huge competitive advantage… and disadvantage. Be on the right side of history. Be the benchmark by which other brands wish they had performed. The plans put in place today will mean your campaign works harder and more effectively than ever as some competitors will fall away, either paralysed by uncertainty or pausing to plan a way ahead. Get fit for the race now and you’ll be ready to win. 

We hope you’ve found these 5 steps useful as a clear plan of action to discuss with your team or influencer partner. There is a lot at stake and we hope you succeed and smash your goals. 

At TAKUMI, every challenge is an opportunity to improve, which is why we are working ’round the clock to keep our brands performing at the highest level – using our platform to bring about improvement on speed and scale.|

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can support your brand, in future-proofing your Influencer Marketing campaigns.