For retailers, TikTok is a relatively new platform for business marketing and community building. As with every new platform, there’s a learning curve that may include a few bumps and bruises along the journey to success. We’ve been hearing a lot more about accounts being shadowbanned on TikTok, and we believe this is one of those bumps and bruises for retailers.
We receive a lot of questions regarding TikTok account types and music licensing, so let’s lay it out there on how to avoid (or repair) being shadowbanned on TikTok.
What does it mean to be Shadowbanned?
Being shadowbanned on TikTok means that your account is being punished by the app for violating its community guidelines in one way or another. The account being shadowbanned will not be notified by TikTok, but will immediately see a big drop in views and engagement. If your account is shadowbanned, your content won’t show up on the “For You” page on TikTok—similar to the explore page on Instagram, where users that don’t follow you will still be able to view your video.
TikTok’s algorithm determines whether or not an account should be shadowbanned to protect its users from copyright issues, spam, bullying, threats, and inappropriate content. To read TikTok’s Community guidelines, click here.
The most likely reason that a business account would be shadowbanned is because of copyrighted music; meaning a business is using a song they didn’t pay for to promote its product or services. This is currently not allowed on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
Often, retailers list their TikTok accounts under “Creator” or “Personal” accounts (instead of “Business” accounts) to gain access to licensed music. However, the algorithm is very intelligent. It can sometimes detect if an account is actually a business, but listed under the wrong account type. We advise against this practice and always recommend that you list your TikTok account under the appropriate category, as you may run the risk of getting caught and penalized by the app (aka shadowbanned, removed videos, or potentially losing access to the account).
If you are a business on TikTok, you should have a business account. Here is how to switch it:
If you’re currently shadowbanned on TikTok, I recommend taking the following action:
1. Remove the last video where you noticed a significant drop in views and engagement. This is likely the culprit, even unknowingly, that caused the shadowban.
2. Use as many relevant hashtags as possible in your caption when posting future TikToks to get back onto other people’s algorithms and gain more momentum on your videos once again.
3. Don’t be discouraged—keep posting! Many accounts are experiencing this same thing so you’re not alone! A shadowban on TikTok doesn’t have an exact time limit, but it does not last forever.
4. Use trending Original Audio in your videos to gain views and more traction. Original Audio is available for businesses to use without being penalized. Be sure the Original Audio you select does not contain music from a licensed song. If there’s a message on the audio that says “Contains music from…”, then avoid this audio for your business account to play it safe!
Back when Instagram wouldn’t allow business accounts to use licensed music for Reels, there was a work-around for saving and using actual songs as a business. Retailers would click on the audio of a Reel, then save or use the audio—even if it was licensed and even if that same song wasn’t available to them in the audio library. This work-around eventually was discovered by Instagram and stopped. This is likely to happen with TikTok too, as it has the same work-around.
You may be experiencing this same work-around on TikTok without knowing it. Oftentimes, you’ll enjoy an audio clip from another video, then save it for your own account. Although the app may allow you to save and use the audio, be sure that the audio does not contain licensed music. You may run the risk of being shadowbanned on TikTok.
Learn how to save and access audio on TikTok accounts in this 1-minute training video.
Let’s be clear… being a business on TikTok is not a bad thing! As more people use TikTok as a consumer rather than just a viewer of content, the app will continuously prioritize business accounts that create entertaining and engaging content. If TikTok implements a similar algorithm to Instagram, the algorithm will notice when a user engages with a lot of content posted from business accounts. This means more posts from businesses will appear in their feed (which is good for small business owners). It’s up to the individual user on which type of content appears in their feed.
What I Want You To Take Away From This Blog:
- If you are a business, list your account type as a business on TikTok.
- To repair a shadowban, use relevant hashtags and trending original audio on your future videos.
- Be consistent. Lots of retailers are seeing success on TikTok as a business!
Okay, over to you…
Have you created a video that has gained a lot of views from a trending Original Audio? Share the link. We’d love to add to your view count!