TikTok may be operating under the specter of a U.S.-wide ban, but that’s not stopping innovative users and organizations from using the wildly popular platform to make an impact on the upcoming election.
Through a partnership with the voter engagement nonprofit Vote.org (an ACM Strategies client), a creator-led coalition called Tok the Vote recently launched a two-day voter registration campaign aimed at reaching Gen Z in its natural habitat (over 60% of TikTok’s users are under the age of 29). Users were encouraged to change the link in their TikTok bio to www.tokthevote.com, where an embedded voter registration tool powered by Vote.org enabled visitors to register to vote in less than two minutes. The coalition sent participants a Tok the Vote image to use as a profile picture and encouraged creators to make videos in their own personal style, whether it be a dance video, a trending meme, or something more sincere. Creators shared videos with the #TokTheVote hashtag and the official Tok the Vote account reposted and shared the top performing videos with their 21,000 followers.
The videos reshared by Tok the Vote alone received over a million views and half a million likes, with the views on videos featuring the campaign hashtag totalling over eight million. The viral success of these videos is due in part to the open-ended nature of the campaign: TikTok works best when creators’ content is organic, original, and true to the creator’s unique personality. By encouraging participants to create a video that amplified the voter registration message while still staying true to their personal style, Tok the Vote inspired a collection of engaging videos that were made for and by the Gen Z audience they were aiming to reach. Here are some of our favorites:
With voter registrations continuing to come in as a result of Tok the Vote, this campaign shows the power of a well-honed strategy that meets an audience where they are. Tok the Vote harnessed the power of popular creators to propel their messaging to a sizable audience in a short period of time and by utilizing Vote.org’s voter toolset, they offered users a clear action that could be completed with ease in minutes.
Tok the Vote is an example of smart strategy that shows a consideration of the nuances of its platform of choice. Although presidential candidates may be absent from the app, politics are happening without them. Political expression is a cornerstone of TikTok content: from the organization of the thousands of fake RSVPs to President Trump’s Tulsa rally this past June to the proliferation of homegrown pundits who have inspired TikTok’s description of “cable news for young people,” the youth of TikTok are organizing and it’s clear that they’re ready, willing, and eager to engage with political content. The question is: do you have the strategy to reach them?
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