On TikTok, Knitting, Rapping and Promoting the Child Tax Credit

Their focus is on reaching young voters of color, a famously hard-to-reach demographic that tends to tune out politics. For Democrats, they are an important constituency, but a fickle one. President Biden remains especially unpopular among younger voters of color, who gravitated toward his more left-leaning opponents during the 2020 presidential primary. It’s this constituency that has consistently expressed discontent with his presidency in polls.

Both strategists are young people of color themselves: Macdonald, the creative director of Community Change Action, is a 28-year-old of Japanese and Scottish origin, while Narayanan, the founder and chief executive of Social Currant, is an Indian-American who graduated from college in the spring. He only recently became legally allowed to buy alcohol.

Narayanan’s company, which he founded a little over a year ago, bills itself as “a next-generation, youth-powered emerging media agency.” More simply, he specializes in connecting nonprofit groups to influencers on TikTok, Instagram (focusing on its TikTok-like Reels video feature) and other social media platforms. Community Change Action, a nonprofit that seeks to mobilize low-income voters of color for progressive causes, is one of his clients.

To gauge the success of their idea, Macdonald and Narayanan set up an exercise extending over the course of 48 hours in June 2021, linking their efforts up to a White House push involving the Child Tax Credit.

Their goal, they said, was to find out if they could get 100,000 TikTok views for videos on the subject. So Narayanan scoured the platform for plausible influencers who might be suitable messengers, settling on a group of 15.

To their surprise, the videos generated 400,000 views and drove 1,000 clicks to Community Change Action’s page explaining the Child Tax Credit in greater depth and asking people to urge Congress to keep the policy in place.

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