Creative ways to reach young people with social media

Young people embrace technology and communicate in new ways. Government needs to change how it reaches out to young people to hear from a representative range of young voices.

About this case study

Young people tell us they want to use social media as one of the main ways to share their views and to hear from government.

In 2020, as part of development of the new Victorian youth strategy, the Office for Youth trialled the use of social media in two creative campaigns:

  1. ‘tell us about your hero’ online stories
  2. first ever Victorian Government use of TikTok as an engagement tool by creating TikTok challenges.

Tell us about your hero

Young people were asked to describe their hero, giving insight into young people’s values and priorities.

Young graphic designer, Mick McCaffrey (mickmac_design) illustrated a team of five heroes (based on character design by HM Design) that was inspired by and reflects the stories young people shared.

The hero team includes:

  • The Teacher – he fights for education
  • The Activist – they fight for equality
  • The Grandma – she fights for justice and the environment
  • The Mum – she fights for inclusion
  • The Teenager – he fights for physical and mental health
Meet your hero team - brightly coloured caricatures

TikTok challenges

Young Victorian influencers on TikTok were engaged to share two TikTok challenges designed to provide insight into their challenges, hopes and dreams.

Challenge 1: #DayInMyLife, invited young people to record their day with snapshots across different aspects of their lives including:

  • ‘My People’
  • ‘My Commute’
  • ‘My Studies’
  • ‘My Work’
  • ‘My Self-Care’

Challenge 2: #YouthVisionfortheFuture, called on young Victorians to express their goals for the future, including career and lifestyle goals, or social causes

For an example of the second challenge, see ItsLucindasWorld’s Tiktok video.


Online platforms support engagement that:

  • is accessible to a wide range of young people
  • can happen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, when face-to-face engagement opportunities were limited or non-existent
  • is less daunting to many young people than participating in a face-to-face forum or preparing a formal written submission
  • is creative and enables young people to express themselves in ways that suit them.

Success factors

Young people were invited to join the conversation in ways that make sense to them, on the issues that matter most to them and in ways that were relatable:

  • asking young people to tell us about their hero draws on the popularity of superheroes in youth culture (see, for example, the Marvel Cinematic Universe)
  • asking young people to share ‘a day in the life of’ and ‘their vision for the future’ are ways to find out more about young people’s experiences and goals or aspirations in a way that’s relatable and connected to their everyday life.

Young people being engaged in their own spaces rather than being asked to step into spaces that are traditionally used by government for consultation which may be unfamiliar or not easily accessible.

Engagement that produces creative outcomes that resonate with many young people and more accurately represent their voices. Creativity and fun are not often driving premises of government consultation strategies but are important elements of making engagement appealing.


While the youth strategy consultation was a great opportunity to use TikTok as a platform, more work needs to be done:

  • to understand how to use this channel effectively as an engagement tool
  • to support videos to reach greater numbers of people
  • encourage engagement from target demographics.

The Office for Youth considers that, at this stage, TikTok is more effective as a communication tool with young people rather than as an engagement tool for two-way engagement and conversation.

The use of TikTok ‘influencers’ in the TikTok challenges was a key strategy to increase the reach of the campaign. More exploration can be done in targeting specific audiences through appropriate influencers (for example, opportunity to engage the Premier’s new TikTok account).

The hero campaign proved to be a creative and fun activity, resonating well with a younger demographic.

Online and social media activities support wider reach to young people who have access to mobile phones and relevant digital technologies. Such engagement strategies should be coupled with appropriate methods of engagement to reach young people who do not have such access or preferences.

What young people say

  • 57 per cent of young people who responded to a youth strategy consultation survey want to have a say on issues affecting them via social media.
  • 78 per cent want to receive information via social media.

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