German publisher Funke is using TikTok to take Gen Z readers by the hand and introduce them to the world of politics.
Social media head at the Berlin central editorial office Amelie Marie Weber says the publisher is using the platform to reach “lots of people who we would otherwise have missed”.
TikTok – one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, with millions of young users – has been used for a new channel called DuHastDieWahl (It’sYourChoice).
“Especially in the year of Germany’s federal election, we wanted to take young people by the virtual hands and introduce them to the world of politics,” she says. “We had to take this chance and so we did.”
Founded in February 2021, the channel is dedicated to imparting political knowledge to young people between the ages of 14 and 19. “As the host and manager of the channel, it is my role to explain important issues to the target audience,” says Weber. “That includes bringing top politicians to the platform and asking them questions that are interesting to young people.”
For a traditional media company such as Funke, it was important to reach new potential readers and prove how advanced journalism can be. “We want young people to know that they can trust professional journalists like us – and that we’re not as boring as they may think,” she says.
Funke is one of the first media companies in Germany to cover political topics on TikTok, a platform originally known for comedy and dance videos. So Funke’s TikTok videos deal with serious issues but still look fun and modern.
“We use typical TikTok tools to adapt to the creative environment of the platform. With filters, emojis, and sounds, Funke is creating entertaining videos which provide educational value. Young people are learning new things while simply having fun with us.”
The approach is that of a big sister who is here to explain everything to the community. Questions from the viewers can be the basis for new videos, but they are not the only sources of new topics to explain. “I also talk about current political events to make sure our followers are always well informed.
“To do this, I often take articles from Funke’s newspapers and use the information to create new videos – which makes for a great symbiosis between traditional journalism and the modern TikTok channel,” says Weber.
In less than a year, DuHastDieWahl gained almost 70,000 followers, with some of the videos reaching more than three million viewers. It is Funke’s most successful social media channel of all time. “But to us, this project is far more than an effective step to raise brand awareness,” she says. “Thanks to this channel, young people get to know the importance of independent journalism. Funke acts against hate speech and fake news on social media.
“If we want educated citizens, we have to teach them the values of democracy as early as possible. The perfect place for this mission is the place where they spend most of their time: TikTok.”