May 21, 2024

Small US businesses fear ban after TikTok boosts sales

Everything changed when Paul Tran and his wife Linda’s co-founded skincare brand went viral on TikTok.

An Atlanta couple founded @loveandpebble and when they shared their Beauty Pops ice cream masks on TikTok in 2021, it took their small business to a new level.

We sold out our entire inventory,” said Paul Tran, whose viral success has seen the brand featured on the Today Show, Shark Tank and major publications.

Now trans are worried about a law passed by the US Senate and signed by US President Joe Biden that would ban TikTok in the US if its owner, Chinese tech company ByteDance, doesn’t list the short video app it sells. Next year. Lawmakers have expressed concern that China could access or spy on Americans’ data through the app.

A group of TikTok developers sued the United States in federal court on Tuesday, seeking to allow 170 million Americans to continue using the app.

TikTok provided a path to the American dream, and this law kills that American dream, my American dream,” Tran said.

Although they tried other apps for their brand, including Instagram and Facebook, the pair found their audience through their posts on TikTok. And they are not alone.

Many small businesses benefiting from the cultural dominance of apps feel cheated, as US-owned platforms such as Meta, Alphabet and Snap fail to offer them the same opportunities for virality that have led to more product sales, partnerships and sponsors.

It’s called #TikTokmademebuyit for a reason, says Jasmine Enberg, principal analyst at eMarketer.

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“(TikTok) has become the center of the Internet, especially for many young people, where they discover new trends and new products. Brands, creators and all this creates this environment of FOMO. Buying on these platforms, it’s not really reflected anywhere else, he added.

Not only did TikTok’s algorithm help Tran’s small business gain more audience and engagement, but the TikTok Shop, launched in 2023, which allows creators to sell products directly through the app, “exploded our business,” Paul Tran said.

Communities built within TikTok

In the past, social media sites like Instagram tended to recommend content based on engagement with their followers. That means larger accounts can reach more people, Enberg explained, making it harder for small businesses to get their foot in the door.

Small business owner Summer Lucille, known as @juicybodygoddess, worked on Instagram and other apps for nearly a decade before her plus-size clothing company gained traction on TikTok.

A month after joining TikTok in 2021, she had hundreds of thousands of followers, including customers at her boutique in Charlotte, North Carolina, and eventually appeared on television on “CBS Mornings.”

“I’ve been on other platforms for almost a decade and they haven’t given me this opportunity,” Lucille said, “It’s not American. American utilities haven’t given me the same opportunity.”

Felicia Jackson of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who founded @CPRWrap, a company that sells packaged devices to save lives in the event of a cardiac emergency, said TikTok saved her business because of its presence on other apps like Facebook, X and Pinterest. Sales.

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(TikTok audience) Engage with my content, not just buy my product. They take the product and give it to others they know who buy it and bring it to their workplaces. So I love the communities created on TikTok. No other platform can compete, he said.

Competitors took note. Meta’s latest updates for Instagram recognize opportunities to improve the experience and performance for smaller creators.

“Due to the way we value content, large followings and aggregators of retweeted content have historically had greater reach than smaller original content creators,” said an Instagram blog post dated April 30.

“We believe it is important to fix this to give all authors an equal opportunity to reach new audiences.