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Monday, September 27, 2021

Party leaders using social media to connect with young voters during election campaign

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TORONTO — With each federal election, more and more native social media users are turning 18 and becoming eligible to vote. And increasingly, Canadian politicians are harnessing the power of different social media platforms to spread their message.

“The election is a hot topic on TikTok right now,” TikTok marketing expert Wave Wyld told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “All you have to do is go to the hashtags of any of the party leaders and you will see that it has millions of views.”

Wyld said social media is something all political parties should use in elections, especially with so many young Canadians frequently glued to their phones.

Among the short clips of new dance moves and funny cats, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is amassing a large following of young voters with videos about his party’s platform on TikTok ahead of election day on Sept. 20.

In one video, Singh plays a trendy sound clip from TikTok’s library of songs, voices and funny noises in which the voice of a man asks “why are you smiling like that?” Dancing to some background music, Singh points to the space above him, where messages such as “taxing the Super Rich so we can invest in people” and “building homes you can actually afford” appear.

While none of the other party leaders currently have TikTok, they are active on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram.

For example, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau often takes to Instagram after policy announcements for a selfie-style story or reel, offering a behind-the-scene look at his election campaign.

In one of his recent Instagram videos, Trudeau was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in the backyard of a house in Markham, Ont. as they discussed what the Liberal party is planning to do to create affordable child care.

On Twitter, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole will regularly speak to follows in short video clips, detailing promises in two minutes or less with Canadian flags prominently featured behind him.

O’Toole also works to engage with Canadians who reach out to him through social media, responding in a video to Facebook comments from voters on affordable housing.

While it seems Green Leader Annamie Paul is trying to reach more young voters on social media with Instagram video posted on Friday showing her rapping and dancing with campaign staffers, her social media presence focuses primarily on highlighting the party’s policies and critiquing other party leaders.

Wyld said being responsive on social media can help party leaders gain attention and connect with Canadians they may not have otherwise.

“Make those connections and showcase how relatable you are, and really get younger voters out to the polls,” she said. 

RELATED IMAGES

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  • Jagmeet Singh

    NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses supporters while campaigning in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

  • O’Toole selfie

    Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole poses for photos with supporters during a rally at the exhibition grounds Friday, August 20, 2021 in Saskatoon. Canadians will vote in a federal election Sept. 20th. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

  • Trudeau selfie

    Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau and Liberal candidate Linda Lapointe, right, pose for a selfie with a supporter as he makes a whistle-stop at a coffee shop in Blainville, Que., Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021, on the first day of the election campaign. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

  • Annamie Paul

    Green Party Leader Annamie Paul canvasses a neighbourhood after launching her election campaign in the riding of Toronto Centre, on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)


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