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'It’s definitely very scary': Central Texas business leaders talk impact of possible TikTok ban

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 13, 2024

WACO, Texas — More than 170 million U.S. TikTok users wait in limbo as a possible ban in the states is uncertain.

If you type Central Texas into TikTok, results vary including a must see restaurant in Temple and a video about how a small garden thrives under Texas’ heat.

TikTok is now a major way to connect people with what’s going on around them, especially connecting businesses with customers.

Jake Smith with the Hewitt Chamber of Commerce told me around 25-50% of their members use TikTok.

“There's a lot of businesses such as restaurants, who [TikTok has], become such a great source of marketing for them," he said.

Over in Waco, sweet treats family business Helados La Azteca TikTok posts are getting views from across the globe.

“It just blew up, man, we started getting more than 200k followers on Tik Tok now" business owner Eduardo Garcia said.

Calculating TikTok's financial impact can be tricky, however, Garcia told me the business does see a little financial boost thanks to TikTok.

The business received a grant to help better boost their TikTok presence. Garcia hopes TikTok stays in the states,

He added, “It’s definitely very scary. I really hope it doesn’t get banned from the United States. I feel like that would really hurt.”

Norma Benitez received a $5,000 grant to help her business, Norma’s Blooming Bike, with TikTok.

The social media app helps her gain foot traffic.

She said, “Like whenever people come in, they’re like ‘I found you guys on TikTok.”

As founder, she’s active on TikTok with more than 2,200 followers and 100,000 likes on her videos.

She said if TikTok is out, her business will adapt—and added, “If TikTok is banned in the U.S. well just find another way to market.”

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