October 11, 2021

Leverage YouTube and TikTok to capture young voters

I was working on a Masters in Political Management at George Washington University in 2005 when a professor asked me, “You love technology, what’s the next big thing?” ”

My response: “Online social networks. MySpace was in its prime and Facebook was still restricted to people with a dot edu email address. But I have seen the numbers increase every day. I knew the potential was there.

Fast forward 16 years. No one qualifies these platforms as “online social networks”. It’s just “social networks”. And while there is still a lot of attention on Facebook, the younger ones are spending their time on video platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube.

So how can applicants take advantage of these platforms? Here are seven suggestions:

1. Be natural.

You don’t want to force it. Yes, TikTok is primarily used by kids showing off their dance moves, and Twitch is primarily intended for gamers. But if you are a 60 year old candidate, it might not be so you should use the platforms. So instead of trying on dental floss, pop up some cool graphics to highlight your message and make up for your lack of dance moves.

2. Stay on the message.

Let people know immediately why you are there. Think about how you solicit or call the bank. Stick to who you are, why you are making a video, and what you expect from the voter. Something like “Hello, my name is Mindy Serin and I’m running for city council. I want to talk with you about problem X. It is hurting our community because of Y. I will solve this problem by Z. But I can’t do it without your support. I need you to {CALL TO ACTION: donate / volunteer / vote / sign this petition / share this video}. ”

3. Use relevant hashtags.

Who are your targets? If there is a local environmental issue, hashtag the power plant or the lake. If you are running in a neighborhood close to a large university with top-notch teams, you might want to take advantage of #NIL and #StudentAthlete.

4. Include a call to action (CTA).

Ultimately, you want viewers to take action. Should they call someone? Should they sign a petition? Mention the CTA a few times and make it easy for them to act. Just like when sending an email, you want to ask only a action. You don’t want to confuse the supporters on what you need. Depending on your CTA, you may have a “thank you page” with an additional CTA.

5. Maximize Videos / Minimize Confusion.

Stick to one problem per video. This allows you to maximize the number of videos you have to distribute. It also means that your message will not be lost. And finally, you can also market the specific post and include specific hashtags for specific audiences.

6. Use captions.

Just in case people are distracted by your composure or movement or have no sound, captions can attract people. Seeing the captions can make people wonder, “wait, what is this person saying?” I want to hear it! “

7. Set realistic expectations.

Bernie Sanders has 659,000 TikTok followers, which is great, but the Senator is a walking meme. He puts on fluffy gloves and everyone goes crazy. Even Ikea made a Sanders meme at the grand opening. But that’s an unrealistic expectation for most applicants. And if you try too hard (see above), you’ll look bad.

Once you’re done, you can expand your reach. You don’t have to go live on every platform repeating every video. You can record / edit / perfect your video and upload it to each platform to increase your audience.

Mindy Serin is the CEO of RunWith.Digital, a Los Angeles-based digital strategy company for Democrats. In addition, Mindy is a digital analysis trainer at UCLA.


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