Politics in Social Media: Appealing to Young Voters on Tiktok
TikTok. It’s everywhere. It’s been downloaded over two billion times and revolutionized the way people communicate with each other over social media.
But what few people realize about this sound-centered app is just how much it can influence the world around it.
It’s surprising, but it’s true. TikTok has already begun to dominate which songs become popular and influenced the growth of OnlyFans.
And it doesn’t stop there. TikTok demonstrates some of the biggest examples of politics in social media. Many people are wondering if the globally relevant app will have the ability to influence future elections.
So… will it? And if so… can I use that to my advantage? And if so…. how?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through all you need to know about TikTok’s political side, and how you can use it to get votes.
A Brief Rundown
Before we get into what you can do, let’s look at a brief rundown of the history of politics on TikTok.
TikTok began as an app called Musical.ly, which centered on people sharing videos of themselves lip-synching and dancing to songs. This soon ballooned into TikTok, an app that focuses on many of the same things — with an interesting twist.
The twist comes from the way people interact with the app — and just who’s interacting with the app as well.
The app is most popular with people from Generation Z — those who were born right at the beginning of or after the new millennia. These kids grew up with the world constantly changing around them, and technology has been rapidly growing their whole lives. This unique position in history has given them an extremely unique sense of humor that’s hard for older generations to understand.
Central to Generation Z sense of humor (and really their whole way of interacting with the world) is memes.
The term “meme” was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, “The Selfish Gene”. He took the term “mimesis” (referring to a process of imitation or mimicry) and combined it with the word “gene” to create the term “meme”. He used this to point out the ways that human cultural interaction is similar to genetics.
A great way to understand this is the classic Wendy’s slogan “where’s the beef?” This commercial become so popular that people immediately recognized the phrase “where’s the beef”, and could quote it to each other as a joke. Now, years later, people still remember the phrase — even if they don’t remember the original commercial; this is much like someone’s genetics getting passed down throughout the ages.
Another great way to look at it is the evolvement of “inside jokes”. When two people become friendly with each other, they develop a repertoire of experiences that they can refer to in shorthand. These “memes” form the basis of their friendship.
The internet has made it easier than ever for memes to spread. Generation Z has grown up their whole lives on the internet, so they’ve developed a language of their own when it comes to memes. This is extremely important for their generational identity and sense of humor.
The most common example of “memes” are humorous images with texts on them. People find the image funny, and so they share, alter and remix the image, often combining it with other images and memes. Oftentimes, the remixing becomes more and more abstract, until the original is no longer recognizable.
TikTok and Memes
The culture of TikTok is a meme culture.
The way it usually works is like this: someone will come up with a dance to a particular song, post it on their page, it will blow up in popularity, someone else will like it, repeat the dance change it, more people and more people are exposed to it, repeat the dance, change the dance, until it’s a cultural phenomenon.
The rapid-paced nature of TikTok means that this can happen several times a day with several different memes at once.
It’s also important to note that Generation Z cares a great deal about politics.
The intersection of these two things has combined together for an extremely important effect.
As TikTok got more and more popular through the Covid-19 Pandemic (young, energetic people were stuck inside without much else to do), TikTok became more and more political. If a person thought that there was something going on in the wide world of politics that not enough common people knew about, they could post about it on TikTok and let the mimetic cycle take its course.
This has led to many young people becoming more informed than ever before. Imagine a group of young people with the passion of the youth of the ’60s but with access to way more information and expertise. Now, people no longer need to rely on mainstream news sources and can get their news free of bias.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you’re involved in politics, this should be making your ears perk up. Making use of the meme cycle TikTok — if you use it right — is the perfect way to get widespread, youth-centered, cheap publicity.
Why pay for a TV ad that most people will miss because they’re looking at their phones anyway? Attention has gone to different places. You’ll get a larger audience size by focusing on social media over traditional media.
What Can You Do?
While this is all well and good, let’s face the facts. If you’re a politician, you’re probably not the type of person whose dance moves goes viral on TikTok. You specialize in policy, public relations, standing up for your beliefs, not internet culture.
That’s why you need to make use of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is a type of marketing that relies on internet content creators to get your message across. In influencer marketing, you’ll be paying a popular internet celebrity to endorse you themselves, and gaining the benefits of the meme cycle.
This can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Depending on how much you pay, the influencer can create promotional videos, text posts, or simply just mention you here and there.
You can talk to whoever specializes in your campaigns to devise a strategy that attacks from multiple sides. Perhaps you can buy TV ads for the older viewers, but hone in on social media advertising across several apps and several influencers to truly double down on the attention you get.
You can also buy Tik Tok likes. This is a wonderful way of combining traditional advertising with online advertising. In this way, you’ll be able to make use of the mimetic cycle, but not have to worry about the element of luck and chance that usually comes with it.
Social Boost has a great service to help you get TikTok likes. With them, you’ll be able to ensure that your message blows up and seems important. Think of it as a way to get the ball rolling and help the youth understand just how important your message is.
How to Make the Most of It
If you’re considering using TikTok for campaign marketing, you can already give yourself a pat on the back. Carvin out money for internet advertising choice is a wise decision that many politicians aren’t making. You’re giving yourself a leg up.
But there are some important things to remember when advertising online.
First of all, the mimetic cycle works like the news cycle. You need to focus on issues that are relevant and timely.
Work out with your assistants what issues the youth care about most right now. If you can get the youth to care about these topics, they’ll be more receptive to your other ideas. If you can reach the hearts of the youth, they’ll help you reach the hearts of their parents, teachers, and older friends.
After you figure out which topic youths care about this month, study the news. If a big news event happens that relates to your topic — much the better; strike while the iron is hot. If big news even happens that isn’t relevant to you, hang back for a little bit; wait for a time to shine where you won’t be overshadowed.
Politics In Social Media
No matter how you look at it, politics in social media are here to stay. The meme cycle has made social media — like TikTok — one of the most important influences on our cultures.
If you’re a politician in today’s world, study the history of TikTok, the history of the meme cycle, how TikTok relates to it, and how you can capitalize on it the most. If you want to stay relevant, you have to get online.
For more information like this, check out our “technology” section.