31 May 2024

TikTok election: leaders have ‘work cut out’ to appeal to Gen Z

Culture Correspondent

Social media expert Sean Topham explains why TikTok matters in this election campaign.

As mainstream political parties race to attract younger voters on TikTok ahead of the general election, social media expert Sean Topham explains why TikTok matters in this election campaign.

Sean Topham: Both leaders, Keir and Rishi, have have got their work cut out for them to appeal to Gen Z in a really accessible and authentic way. I’m sure they’re both nice guys and they’ve got friends and family who obviously like them. So revealing who they are is going to be a bit of a challenge for them over the next few weeks, too.

Minnie Stephenson: Do you think that our mainstream politicians are natural TikTokers?

Sean Topham: I wouldn’t have picked them out to be natural TikTok influencers, but there’s a bit of time for them to lean into those sorts of qualities the influencers who have built up followings on the platform do do. So maybe we’ll see them giving a cooking class or a get ready with me at some point. You need to talk to voters where they are. And there’s a lot of voters on TikTok, and yes, they do skew younger. So Gen Z deserve to be part of the conversation in this election. TikTok is the battleground for Gen Z and increasingly for older demographics, too, who are joining the platform.

‘You can reach millions of voters’

If you take a clear look at it, you can’t spend a dollar as a political party to advertise on TikTok, but you can reach millions of voters, particularly in that Gen Z group and in others, without spending a dollar, with good content. And that’s why they really need to be on it. It is the biggest platform for reach, I think, in this whole election campaign, and that’s why it’ll be really interesting to see how the parties leverage it and lean into it over the next few weeks.