July 8, 2020: That day on Tiktok nobody was ready to go from the swaying hips of Charlie d’Amelio to the videos of Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Formal speech for one, parody of the hit Anissa for the other, the two politicians make a grand entrance in the Tiktok Game. While some internet users found it daring and fun, others are skeptical as to their place on the social network. Far from being trivial, the foray of the political sphere into the playground of Generation Z echoes the electoral challenges to come. A look back at a phenomenon that goes beyond French borders.
Tiktok: a great among the great
That some haven’t heard of Tiktok today (and two lockdowns later) is nearly impossible. Humorous videos, choreographies or even crazy challenges, the platform has become a key player in the social media landscape. Confinement and boredom oblige, you are challenged to find someone around you who has not tried it. The figures are there to confirm it: just 4 years after its launch, Tiktok has recorded more than *689 million active users and 2 billion downloads. This is unheard of for such a recent application that does not belong to the Facebook group.
In France, all indicators are also green; 11 million active users, + 90% of users between January and April 2020 and a miraculous organic reach. Adopted by an audience of adolescents in its infancy, the platform is now growing strongly among young adults of 18 to 24 years old. They currently represent 37% of users. A native digital audience that is difficult to capture, but very attractive to marketers. It is therefore not surprising to find that brands, personalities and other celebrities are investing the platform head on. What was our astonishment, however, when the President of the French Republic “himself” posted his first video and paved the way for his colleagues.
18-24 year olds represent 37% of users on Tiktok. An attractive audience for marketers, but not only
Policies attacking “young people “
@emmanuelmacronIf you have just graduated, this message is for you! ## tray ## bac2020♬ original sound – Emmanuel Macron
“If you just graduated from high school, this message is for you, well done first. »Far (very far) from the uses of the platform, Emmanuel Macron congratulates the new graduates and makes its official entry into the world of Tiktokers. Full box for the head of state, the video counts more than 12 million views and 1.4 million likes. Is it because his content was incredibly relevant or because he is President of the Republic, we let you decide. That said, this is not Emmanuel Macron’s first attempt off the beaten track. We remember his Konbini interview during the presidential elections in 2017, his interview with the YouTuber Hugodecrypte in 2019 or more recently from its live with the media Gross. Wouldn’t this sudden interest be a disguised strategy to capture the youngest in view of the elections? Especially since it is difficult for politicians to capture the youngest who consume news differently. Today, 73% of 18-24 year olds get information via social networks.
34% of 18-24 year olds did not vote in the last presidential elections and we are not even talking about the legislative elections … Emmanuel Macron is initiating an operation to seduce a key audience by spring 2022.
Not sure that his rival Jean-Luc Mélenchon either in the same approach. Provocative, he trolls the head of state in his first video parodying the tube Anissa by singer Wejdene. If the first was considered too sober, the second was perceived as “funny” or even “ridiculous” by Internet users. The president of rebellious France seems more aware of the codes of the platform. However, his humor seems mainly focused on provoking the head of government.
To date, the two politicians barely have a few videos on their respective accounts, but it is difficult to see a strong editorial strategy emerging. It is above all curiosity and notoriety that has enabled them to achieve such strong engagement scores. Anyway, they did get the ball rolling and now we find Agnes Buzyn (160 subscribers), Marlene Schiappa (5,700 subscribers), and the MEP Raphael Gluskmann (16,000 subscribers) with rather mixed success.
From Emmanuel Macron to Nicolas Maduro, politicians are looking for their place
The French are of course not the only ones to attempt the exercise, our neighbours Europeans also enter the dance. This is how we find the President of the Polish Republic Andrzej Duda, 400,000 subscribers for the head of state and surprisingly for a public figure, a private account. We launched a subscription request which, to this day, remains pending, Andrzej if you are reading this article …
Among our neighbors, the Belgians, the Minister-President of Wallonia Elio Di Rupo reaps some success. Natural and humorous, the 69-year-old invites us to take a behind-the-scenes look at his travels. There is no doubt he can count on an efficient social team: slow motion, trendy music, video editing dynamics, sound effects… Elio Di Rupo lets his team carry him and it works.
@eliodirupoCommemoration of the attachment of the Eastern Townships to ## Malmedy ! 🤵🏻 ##for you ## eliodirupo ## ptp ## foryou ## Belgium ## politic ## leflowestpresent♬ original sound – Elio Di Rupo
In the country of Dolce & Vita, we find the Italian Matteo salvini, leader of the La Lega political party. Known for his media outings and his strong opinions, he is very present on the Tiktok platform. Alternating video in selfie format, moments of private life and institutional subjects, he masters the exercise. The key to its success? Play proximity while sharing his political ideas in an innocuous way. 378,000 subscribers later a few 4 million likes and videos over 500,000 miles viewed, Matteo Salvini has found his place. For the latter, Tiktok is definitely establishing itself as a formidable communication (propaganda?) Tool.
For Andrea Borello, student and political influencer, the success of the politician is not so surprising “Matteo Salvini has an incredible communication team, he’s the best on social networks in Italy, he even has more Instagram followers than Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (…) He is the only politician on Tiktok, c ‘is a modern man who listens to societal developments ”.
Across the Atlantic, we find the Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro. With more than 200 videos on the counter for the head of state, the use of Tiktok appears to be anchored in his communications strategy. Yet with 52,000 subscribers and sometimes 1000 views on his videos, it’s not a big success. This is explained by very institutional videos and in horizontal format, far from meeting the codes expected on the social network.
@nicolasmaduromOur preparations for a 2021 de recuperación y prosperidad para Venezuela. Será el año del Bicentenario de Carabobo y del nuevo ciclo para la Patria.♬ original sonido – Nicolas Maduro
What about our American friends in this story? With the escapades and media outings we know about him, we could legitimately think that Donald trump would make a thunderous entry on Tiktok. And then no, nothing, we are almost disappointed. No account for the ex-president or any other strong American politician. So far, the Americans have invested more in the network of Twitch gaming and left the video sharing app out.
A platform above all based on humor and fun
Small reminder: the content of the Chinese social network is mainly funny, fun and entertaining. In short, poles apart from the representation and image we have of politicians. It is therefore interesting to question the place of humor in the sphere Politics. If Emmanuel Macron has been criticized for his exacerbated sobriety on Tiktok, not sure if we had found him dancing he would not have been more so. We remember François Hollande, often mocked for his humorous little trips. The “hollanderies” as they were called at the time, left journalists perplexed and rivals annoyed. And if you don’t run a country with humor and witticisms, this clearly softens the elitist image of politicians.
When * 7 French out of 10 feel mistrust with regard to the president, Tiktok can become a relevant tool for renewing a weakened link with citizens
What place for humor in politics
Emmanuel Macron has despite himself the image of a man cold and distant. So hard to imagine it in another register on social networks. Handle the ” humou politicsr ”remains a complicated exercise. “ Humor is not for all politicians, explain to us Andrea Borello. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, whether we like it or not, has contributed to desecrate the political office by bringing his touch of humor. He was good at it, he had this thing that other people didn’t. “ We can also cite a master in the field: Barack obama. Humor, punchline and good humor far from the prevailing political cynicism. It’s almost flawless for the former president whose valves are known the world over.
First come, first served
When I started making political videos on Tiktok, there were comments like “Politics in this format? I’m interested ! “, They weren’t interested people at first and then when this type of content came along they were like, “Oh, why not! “. The unexpected appearance of political figures and creators has created demand. A demand that creates supply and so on. It’s a virtuous circle that begins. ” Andrea Borello
AT Like Instagram which in its early days was geared only to photographers, Tiktok is destined to grow with those users. The success of the hashtag #blacklivesmatter (10 billion mentions!) Demonstrates the interest of Tiktokers in subjects social and societal. So how will users take ownership of the app? How will they draw the contours of its evolution? We can already imagine a greater political presence in a few months and completely trivialized in a few years. And when that happens, the first to arrive will already have a head start. AT good hearer.