How Trudeau Captured the Youth Vote

The youth vote was a hot topic during our latest federal election, and rightly so.

Voter apathy had been steadily building since the previous two elections, and pollsters and journalists alike were suggesting that a strong youth turnout could tip the scales of power. How exciting!

The people have obviously spoken. So now that our new government is officially in the driver’s seat, does Prime Minister Trudeau, who also happens to be the Minister of Youth and a former teacher, understand the values of this scale-tipping cohort? I think so, and here are four examples of what I think the Liberal team did right in their campaign strategy to connect with youth voters.

Platform focused on ch-ch-ch-changes.

When you’re young and figuring out your path, adapting to change is exciting and scary. So it comes as no surprise that championing ‘real change’ strongly resonated with young voters, especially around issues like education, jobs and the environment. Plus the Trudeau team used some good old fashioned politics to engage youth, like this $1.5B youth employment strategy.

Social media engagement.

Trudeau and his campaign team put emphasis on social listening and made adjustments to their strategy based on what they were hearing. Whether it was responding to a letter on Facebook that went viral, or content the Liberal party promoted on Twitter instead of traditional attack ads, — the point is, when everyone is watching your every move, authentic engagement builds trust with all ages, especially young people.

Trudeau’s interview with Vice Daily.

Vice has grown into a reputable news source run by millennials and devoted to looking closely at hard hitting issues young people care about. Party leaders were invited to a panel style interview with Vice reporters with a live studio audience Q&A. Trudeau was the first to accept and appear, and reaffirmed his commitment to media accessibility. This kind of transparency is extremely important to the youth audience.

Meet your audience where they hangout.

A Google Hangout is not revolutionary technology, but on the day of his swearing in, the media was abuzz and seemingly confused about what it meant for the new leader to host a Hangout will school kids. I wonder what people thought when hisPeriscope feed went live? Or that time he surprised commuters in a Montreal subway station and posed for selfies?

I’m looking forward to seeing how the Prime Minister and members of cabinet keep up the pace and continue to keep an open dialogue with young Canadians. Delivering his first speech to 16,000 students and teachers at We Day today, is certainly a good sign of what’s ahead.

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