Since its founding in 2016, TikTok has had a massive impact on culture—and business. Now, it’s leaving an impression on politics as well… but not necessarily a good one.
Amidst increasing tensions between the US and China, lawmakers across the board have been flirting with the idea of banning TikTok. But what would a TikTok ban actually look like? And what would it mean for the many businesses that make the social network part of their marketing strategy?
Is TikTok getting banned?
TikTok has reportedly already been banned in a handful of Asian countries. Many countries, including the EU, UK, Australia, France, and the US have banned TikTok for use by government officials, citing privacy concerns.
The question on everyone’s mind, however, is whether TikTok is going to get banned nationwide in the US. Many government officials want to ban TikTok out of fear that the Chinese government has access to users’ data and might use it for spying, targeting dissidents, or election interference.
Timeline of attempts to ban TikTok in the US
- December 2019: The US Army bans TikTok on government-issued phones.
- August 2020: Trump signs an executive order requiring TikTok to be taken off the market in 90 days unless its parent company (ByteDance) sells it.
- August 2020: Florida and Nebraska ban TikTok on government devices. As of May 2023, at least 34 states have enacted similar bans.
- September 2020: Trump’s TikTok ban is halted by a federal judge.
- June 2021: Biden revokes Trump’s executive order, but asks the Secretary of Commerce to investigate the app’s national security risk.
- June 2022: FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr asks Apple and Google to take TikTok off the app store.
- December 2022: Numerous bills are introduced targeting TikTok.
- December 30, 2022: Biden signs the No TikTok on Government Devices Act into law.
- January 2023: Sen. Josh Hawley introduces a bill to ban TikTok nationwide, which does not pass.
- March 2023: Sen. Mark Warner introduces the RESTRICT Act, a bill which would allow the Secretary of Commerce to ban TikTok. It has not yet passed.
- May 2023: Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signs a law banning any business with TikTok. The bill is being challenged in court.
Could a TikTok ban ACTUALLY happen?
Nobody really knows. The US government could certainly try to ban TikTok—and it increasingly seems like they will—but there’s no precedent for the government banning an app entirely.
The FCC has asked Apple and Google to consider taking TikTok off their app stores. That might be the closest thing to a full ban we’ll see, but it won’t do anything to stop the 150m+ Americans who already have TikTok. Plus, there are other ways to download an app.
Trump’s executive order would’ve banned any transactions between US citizens and ByteDance. This would have removed TikTok from the app store while also preventing US companies from advertising or doing business with TikTok. Still, it wouldn’t keep people from using it.
The government could ask Apple and Google to change their systems to make TikTok unusable on their phones. At this point, the ban could be considered a violation of the First Amendment and would likely result in a lengthy legal battle.
What they can’t do, experts say, is make it illegal for a private citizen to log into TikTok. As long as TikTok exists, you will technically be able to access it. And of course, no ban would fix the mountains of user data that ByteDance already has.
How do marketers use TikTok?
As TikTok has blown up pop culture, it’s become a crucial part of many companies’ social media strategies. Some of the ways companies use TikTok include:
- Branded content
- Collaborating with influencers
- Participating in viral trends and memes
Many corporate TikTok accounts will post multiple times a day in an effort to reach a Gen Z audience. Some videos will sell the company’s products or services, but most are made with the goal of raising brand awareness.
What does a TikTok ban mean for marketers?
If TikTok gets taken off the app store, marketers will have to work fast to keep their audience’s attention.
In the short term, TikTok’s massive audience could quickly flock to other short form video platforms, such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. They may also seek out brand new social media sites.
Brands who fail to keep up with this audience could stand to lose millions. TikTok is also a reliable source of new viral trends. It could suddenly become a lot harder to identify the latest rising stars, music, fashions, and memes among Gen Z.
3 ways marketers can prepare for a TikTok ban
1) Invest in high quality visuals
TikTok makes it easy to go viral, even with a small production budget. But if the social network goes away, you’ll have to work harder to stand out.
If your marketing demand outweighs what your current team can produce, try working with a service. Consider things like…
- Video marketing services (e.g. Digital Brew)
- Graphic design services (e.g. Penji)
- Influencer marketing services (e.g. Audiencly)
In our own review, we found Penji to be a quick, easy, and high-quality option for extending your design team. If you lose TikTok, you’ll have to make up for the loss with high-quality branding.
We also have a special promo code you can use for 35% off your first month with Penji — TTBAN35.
2) Stick with video, but use other platforms
Short form video is addictive, and the American public isn’t likely to quit cold turkey. Don’t let debates over TikTok dissuade you from making short videos. Keep making them, but don’t make them just for TikTok.
Nowadays, practically every social site is investing in short-form video, and many are actively promoting those videos to as many people as possible. Post your clips on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, anywhere you have a brand account. You might be surprised by where you find your audience.
3) Take another look at your strategy
At its cultural peak, brands started to see TikTok as an absolute must for staying relevant. You may see your brand awareness suffer when it goes away, but step back and think. What does TikTok do for you?
For some brands, it might not be much. Have your TikToks brought sales? Do they improve brand awareness? Do they reach an audience you really want to target?
Developing a brand strategy can be difficult, but it’s important to go back to the drawing board when you’re losing a whole social network. First figure out what you want to retain from TikTok, then worry about how to retain it.
Is TikTok getting banned? Maybe, kinda, maybe not. If tensions between the US and China escalate, the platform may get taken down, but efforts to fully ban it are legally dubious and none have gained much traction so far.
Still, it’s best to stay prepared by diversifying your video content, staying on top of new trends, and investing in great visuals.
Unlimited Graphic Design Companies Of 2023 + Promo Codes (Updated)
Looking for an alternative to a freelance graphic designer? Are you trying to scale your business using your existing team? A new wave of companies who call themselves “Unlimited Graphic Design Services” are disrupting the creative industry, providing a solution to what is usually an expensive and unpredictable task. Here’s what their offerings have in common:
- Monthly subscription model
- 24-48 hour turnaround time
- Work with their vetted team of designers
- Unlimited design requests
- Unlimited revisions
- Money-back guarantee
- Cancel anytime
Which Provider Should You Choose?
We’ve done the homework and curated a list of Unlimited Graphic Design providers for you and also negotiated special deals on your behalf. You can see them all below and decide which one fits your business based on your needs.
Unlimited Graphic Design Providers
What Does Unlimited Graphic Design Mean?
These unlimited graphic design services have a monthly subscription business model. That means you can sign up and cancel whenever you like. What sets them apart from your typical freelancer, agency, or in-house designer is you gain access to a workflow that is designed to be quick and to the point.
You’ll communicate with their team through Trello, email, or an online platform. The option given is dependent on the company you choose. For example, only a small selection of services provide a custom built online platform for their customers.
Once you’re connected to their workflow, you can begin submitting as many design requests as you want. Although they all claim “unlimited”, it generally means you can “create” unlimited design requests. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work on them all at once. Usually, they just work on one design at a time. When one completes, they start the next design.
The usual turnaround time is between 1 – 2 days, and that’s just for the first draft. It doesn’t mean your entire request is complete. If you don’t like it, you can request as many revisions as you want, and that will take more time. So it can take up to a week to actually get the design complete if you have a lot of revisions.
Another thing to keep in mind is content. You need to be able to have everything ready and provide all the content needed in order for their designers to get started.
How Does On-Demand Graphic Design Work?
Most graphic design services listed above offer clients a bespoke design platform. For instance, Penji’s design tool is an all-in-one platform where designers, account managers, customers, and their team members can communicate and collaborate.
Although the steps in working with a graphic design company are similar, we’ll use Penji’s design software to share the step-by-step graphic design process.
1. Log in
Once you’ve selected the subscription plan, log in to your design tool and access your dashboard. Most of these tools are user-friendly with a minimal learning curve and prioritize user experience.
This example of Penji’s dashboard shows a list and thumbnails of ongoing design projects. The menu at the top shows the Active, Completed, Drafted, and On-hold projects.
Submitting a design brief is the first step in the on-demand graphic design process. To submit, click the +New Project button at the upper right side of the dashboard.
2. Fill in the title
Think of a relevant project title that will describe the design accurately. Writing an accurate title will make browsing through ongoing projects easier once you have a long list.
For instance, if you’re creating a company logo, you can write “Logo design” and specify the company or industry beside it if you’re handling multiple brands.
3. Choose from design categories
The next step is to choose from the many design categories. Most unlimited graphic design services have around 100+ design categories. Penji has 120+ design categories. Choose one that fits your project.
4. Write a design brief
This step is crucial when working with on-demand graphic designers, as this will make or break your project outcome. Writing a thorough, clear, and well-thought-out design brief makes it easier for designers to understand exactly what you want.
Penji’s design platform has a few reminders on the left side when writing design briefs. Ensure you follow the tips for a better design outcome.
5. Attach files and images for inspiration
Some customers can’t express themselves clearly through written instructions. You can attach files and images to support your written descriptions with visuals. Attaching sample logos also helps lead designers in the right direction. Attaching your competitors’ logos is also a way to make yours better.
You’ll also need to choose the source file type in this step or let designers pick for you.
6. Choose a brand style guide
Subscribing to unlimited graphic design services means you can request any visuals for multiple brands. Penji’s design tool lets you save and categorize your brand style guides in folders. This way, you only have to choose a branding guideline for designers to follow.
Once you’ve chosen the associated brand, click the Create project button to start the process.
7. Wait 24 to 48 hours
Although most on-demand graphic design services’ turnaround is 24 to 48 hours, some companies may take more than two days.
Wait for the first draft and ask for revisions until you’re 100 percent happy with the design. Download the source file, and you’re good to go!
Why Should You Sign Up for Unlimited Graphic Design Services
Subscribing to unlimited graphic design services is more convenient than hiring freelance designers. Here’s why:
- Work with vetted designers and choose from various skill sets. There is no need to search for another designer fit for a particular project. The company will assign you the most suitable designer.
- No need to worry about additional fees as you only have to pay fixed monthly rates and get unlimited designs. Revisions also come at no extra cost.
- You don’t have to worry about graphic designers going MIA and abandoning crucial projects. Each design project is managed by an account manager who will check if deadlines are met on time.
- Signing up and canceling subscriptions with on-demand graphic design services is easy. You can sign up if you need a stream of designs while setting up shop and cancel anytime without incurring cancellation fees.
- Fast 24 to 48-hour turnaround, which prevents any bottlenecks in your marketing campaigns.
- Request to change assigned designers if you’re unhappy with their work at no additional cost.
- Organize your projects and brand style guides if you request multiple brand designs. The custom design platforms make managing projects efficient and convenient.
Are they worth it?
If you have a lot of design needs, they’re definitely worth it. Being that it’s a monthly recurring investment, you’ll need to make sure that you have the need for an ongoing graphic design service. This graphic design service model is comparable to outsourcing a designer yourself, except much of all the management work is done by the company. The quality of designs and turnaround time also tends to be significantly better when outsourcing a designer yourself.
How a Startup Incubator Can Accelerate Your Business
In today’s fast-paced and competitive business landscape, startups often find themselves navigating a maze of challenges that can hinder their growth and potential.
This is where the concept of a startup incubator comes into play as a guiding light for emerging ventures. A startup incubator is more than just a physical space; it’s a dynamic ecosystem designed to nurture and propel early-stage ventures toward success.
In this article, we’ll tackle some of the most common questions surrounding incubators. For instance – what is the role of a startup incubator? How does it differ from an accelerator?
And most importantly, how can it optimize your business?
What is an incubator in a startup ecosystem?
In a startup ecosystem, an incubator refers to a supportive environment or program designed to help early-stage startups grow and develop.
Incubators provide a range of resources and services to entrepreneurs, typically for a fixed period of time, with the goal of nurturing and accelerating the growth of their businesses.
Here’s the usual process of how an incubator supports a startup:
Startups who applied and were accepted are welcomed into the incubator with an orientation session. During this phase, startups get an overview of the program’s structure, expectations, and available resources. They also meet their mentors, advisors, and fellow cohort members.
Mentorship and Guidance
Startups are paired with mentors who have relevant industry experience or expertise.
Regular mentorship sessions provide guidance, feedback, and insights to help startups navigate challenges and refine their strategies.
Workshops and Training
Incubators organize workshops, seminars, and training sessions on various aspects of entrepreneurship. Topics covered during the startup incubator program may include:
- Business planning
- Marketing strategies
- Product development
- Legal and regulatory matters
Access to Resources
Aside from training sessions, startups can also gain access to resources such as:
- Office space
- Co-working environments
- Internet connectivity
- Meeting rooms
Some incubators provide access to shared equipment, startup software, and other tools needed for product development.
Networking and Events
Incubators often facilitate networking events, pitch sessions, and demo days where startups can showcase their progress to potential investors, partners, and the broader community.
Startups work on refining their business models, products, and market strategies. They receive support in identifying their target audience, creating a value proposition, and developing a sustainable revenue model.
Funding and Investment
Incubators may provide introductions to potential investors, venture capitalists, and angel investors Startups also learn about different funding options and how to pitch their ideas to secure investment.
Successful completion of the incubator program results in a “graduation” for startups.
Graduated startups may continue to receive support through alumni networks, ongoing mentorship, or access to incubator resources.
Startup Incubator vs. Accelerator
A startup incubator and a startup accelerator are both support programs designed to assist early-stage startups, but they have distinct characteristics and objectives. Here’s a comparison between the two:
- Focus. Incubators typically have a broader focus and cater to startups in various stages of development. They often work with startups that are in the ideation or early development phase. Accelerators, on the other hand, are more specialized and typically work with startups that have a viable product or service and are ready to scale rapidly. They focus on accelerating growth and reaching key milestones quickly.
- Stage. Incubators are well-suited for startups that are still refining their business models, conducting market research, and building their initial product or service. Accelerators, meanwhile, are best suited for startups that have a minimum viable product (MVP) and are seeking to refine their business model, gain traction, and secure funding to scale.
- Mentorship. A startup incubator provides mentorship and guidance, often with a focus on helping founders refine their business ideas, develop prototypes, and validate their concepts. On the other hand, an accelerator’s mentorship is often geared towards specific aspects of growth, such as scaling operations, marketing, fundraising, and product-market fit.
Startup Incubator Examples
If you’re looking for the best startup incubators in the world, here are a few you of the most popular ones to consider.
1. Y Combinator
Situated in the USA, Y Combinator is considered one of the best startup incubators which has played an instrumental role in fostering the growth trajectories of some of the most renowned startups globally. The Y Combinator program spans a duration of three months, during which startups receive a funding injection of $500,000, albeit subject to certain conditions.
Subsequently, founders are immersed in a sequence of mentoring and refinement initiatives that culminate in the prestigious Demo Day. Here, founders showcase their concepts to an audience comprising investors and handpicked media representatives.
Mentees: Airbnb, Dropbox, Coinbase, Gitlab
Techstars directs its energy toward nurturing startups rooted in technology. Since its inception in 2006, Techstars has been a driving force behind the growth of numerous startups. Annually, they select more than 500 fledgling companies, providing them with up to $120,000 in investment and the invaluable chance to partake in mentorship programs.
Backed by an impressive funding sum of $21.3 billion, Techstars stands out as a reliable choice for technology-oriented startups. Within its portfolio of activities, Techstars hosts several high-profile events and initiatives, including Startup Week and Startup Weekend.
Mentees: Uber, DigitalOcean, SendGrid
3. 500 Startups
500 Startups operates as a dual-purpose platform, functioning as both an accelerator program and a seed fund dedicated to startups. Positioned primarily as a venture capital entity, they proudly proclaim a management portfolio worth $2.7 billion. Their primary interests converge on sectors where technology, innovation, and capital growth converge harmoniously.
Their extensive investment history spans more than 2,600 startups worldwide, underscoring the maturity and comprehensiveness of their accelerator program across diverse markets.
Mentees: Grab, Canva, Credit Karma
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I need an incubator for my startup?
If you’re in the early stages, lack experience, and could benefit from structured guidance, resources, and mentorship, an incubator might be valuable. However, if you’re aiming for rapid growth and have a clear roadmap, an accelerator could be more appropriate.
Do startup incubators provide funding?
Yes, many startup incubators provide funding as part of their support package. However, the funding offered by incubators can vary widely depending on the specific program, location, and the terms of the agreement. Some incubators offer direct funding to startups, while others may connect startups with potential investors or provide resources to help them secure funding elsewhere.
Preparing the Shift to Mobile eCommerce: Tips + Tools
We Are Social reported that around 50% of the 16 to 64 demographic use their mobile to purchase something online weekly. With those in mind, your eCommerce business shouldn’t be confined to one place. It’s essential that you have a website and social media sites. Plus, don’t be afraid to list your products other than those platforms. Here’s how to make a successful shift towards mobile eCommerce.
1. Use Website Builders
Most website builders nowadays can optimize your eCommerce site on the desktop or mobile. These tools help you design and layout your website and make tweaks before publishing it. Moreover, you can add pages, such as blogs, products, and contact pages, to make your eCommerce site operational.
You don’t need to hire a web designer or developer immediately when creating your site on these builders. It’s ideal for new eCommerce site owners, considering you want the business up and running from Day 1 without any hassle.
2. Set Up Secure Payment Methods
One way to enhance your customer’s experience in your eCommerce site is setting up payment gateways. Although you install payment gateway plug-ins on your desktop, it’s crucial that it’s working on your mobile site, too. This way, your customers won’t experience any mishaps or issues when paying via mobile.
3. Widen Reach with Social Commerce
Mobile eCommerce isn’t only about a mobile eCommerce app. After all, it’s a catch-all term to describe all eCommerce-related strategies done on mobile. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have opened avenues for eCommerce sites to integrate their store into these platforms. Plus, social media sites are easily accessible on phones, allowing customers to browse anywhere.
You can promote your best-sellers and new products on these platforms. Then, ensure that you link to your website. This way, your customers can view other products, regardless of where they’re browsing them.
4. List Products on Other Relevant eCommerce Marketplaces
Even though you have a website, you can reach more people when posting items on other eCommerce stores. This allows you to get more exposure. It’s possible that your competitors are in the same marketplace. However, if you have the correct copy and high-quality images, your customers are likely to buy your products.
5. Develop an App or Hire an App Designer and Developer
Not all eCommerce sites have an app for their eCommerce products. But you can change the game by having one for easier browsing and a smoother experience. However, app development is challenging for non-developers. There are no-code app makers to use for your new app.
Or, if creating an app is too tedious, hiring an app developer and designer is a much better alternative. They have the know-how to create an optimized app for your eCommerce site. You can find them on freelance sites like Fiverr or Upwork.
Mobile eCommerce Tools
Shopify is one of the top eCommerce tools for all businesses. You can build a site, sell online, market your products, and manage your business. You don’t need experience developing or designing a website on Shopify. The eCommerce platform has a no-code website builder, letting users create sites in minutes. Additionally, Shopify allows you to integrate apps into your online store, including payment gateways.
Another contender in website building is Wix. Like Shopify, it’s fast, easy, and simple to create and design a website. Their web design feature, “Editor X,” allows you to customize your site. Also, you can use their Wix Payments feature. It’s their solution for all payments, allowing customers to pay via Apple Pay, credit card, and other payment methods.
If you need a payment method solution, Stripe is one of the best eCommerce payment tools! You can accept payments globally. Plus, Apple Pay and Google Pay are two payment methods to integrate into your Stripe account. Stripe is also advanced because it can detect fraud and block it. Plus, you can increase conversions and launch subscriptions.
An alternative to Stripe payments is PayPal. As one of the oldest payment methods, you can trust this tool for easy payments. You can install PayPal for your checkout needs. Plus, you can even request payments! Additionally, PayPal accepts credit and debit card payments worldwide!
Don’t have time to post all the time? Consider Sked as your social media management tool. You don’t need to publish and tag your posts manually. Sked helps you tag posts directly on their dashboard. You don’t have to worry about losing your product tags. Plus, Sked will add your shoppable posts in one gallery!
Post your products on these sites:
Another social media management platform to consider for your mobile eCommerce needs is Planoly. Like Sked, Planoly enables users to tag shoppable posts without leaving the social media management platform. You can post your products with Planoly:
Content creation tools are necessary to make your mobile eCommerce strategies successful. Canva is one of these tools to promote your eCommerce site and products. You can use the abovementioned social media schedulers or other options. It’s easy to create designs for your social media platforms. Or you can create custom designs for your website and post them on other eCommerce marketplaces.
If you want a simple yet functional app, you can create one with Jotform! They use a drag-and-drop model when you build and design your app. Plus, you can use their templates to build your app in minutes. Finally, you can share your app with a QR, which will download the app to your customers’ devices.
Glide is another no-code option to consider when building your app. Like Jotform, you can create using templates and customize your app design. Additionally, you can integrate productivity tools into creating your app and automate workflows!
Our final mobile eCommerce tool is Buildfire! They have a dedicated eCommerce solution that allows you to sync your products and organize your inventory. You can even add a notification so users are informed when their products are in stock or when they need to complete checkout.