So you’ve decided you want to run for a position in the Spring 2021 Elections and become a part of the CSU team, you’ve nominated yourself via the website but now what?

Well, you’re going to need to make an impact and convince students (across all campuses) that they want you in the role. By this point you will have some ideas already which are written in your manifesto, but your campaign will help to bring this alive and become your strategy for winning votes.

Let's start with some general tips to start thinking about before planning your campaign: 

  • Know the rules – Make sure you know what you can and can’t do when campaigning to avoid elimination from the process 
  • Believe that you're the best person for the job - Have confidence in yourself and truly believe in what you stand for if you want people to vote for you. If you don't believe you can win, nobody else will.
  • Organise your manifesto - Know in advance what your campaign will focus on. This involves combining your personal beliefs with those of your peers. Figure out your 'brand' and capitalise on your unique selling points. Keep the message simple and recruit a good support team.
  • Practice public speaking - You'll be doing plenty of this before and during your tenure, so it's important to hone your communication abilities. Take up every opportunity to practice speaking in front of an audience - be this through course assignments, work presentations or hobbies.
  • Be visible - If you want to win an election you need to be recognisable to student voters. You won't win by just printing your face on a few posters. Get out and about on-campus - chat to students face-to-face or virtually. 
  • Don't over-promise - Be realistic and honest throughout your campaign and don't make promises you can't keep. If you need a bit of guidance on what's plausible speak to current union officers.

 

How to run a successful campaign: 

 

1. Plan your time
When planning a campaign you need to have a clear timescale, you have between the 17th Feb and the First of March to campaign (minus your current commitments e.g. work, lectures, coursework, caring responsibilities) so make sure you plan a reasonable amount of time to produce posters, videos and get out and speak to a range of students.

Writing up a campaign plan will help you organise your time and resources and help you to budget for things like printing or travel costs. 

 

2. Enlist help

Are any of your friends graphic design queens? A pro proof-reader or a natural people person? Identify where you could do with help and share the tasks! Remember you can’t reimburse them for their work from your campaign budget but perhaps offer them something with your first paycheck when you’re elected in!  Your campaigns team can go and speak to students on your behalf so make sure you pick people who you trust to represent you fairly. 

 

3. Identify your voter 

When you campaign for votes, it’s good to know the kind of person who you’d like to vote for you. That way, you can create a message to appeals to them, to put on your posters and flyers, or in your speeches.

 

4. Build your brand 

Look at official elections, and political parties everyone has an official logo. But why do they do this? It’s because it makes your campaign easy to remember It also adds a level of authority and makes your campaign feel trustworthy. They’re both great psychological techniques to help win over voters. And, if you can combine it with a slogan, it becomes a message they can get behind. Create something that represents you and use it on your campaign materials. (Remember you cannot use the CSU logo whilst campaigning!). 

 

5. Promote, promote, promote 

Once you have a strong idea of your message, target voter and logo/slogan you have something to promote! 

Now is the time to create campaign materials to promote you as a worthy candidate, this includes posters, flyers and social media content. The more they see it, the more they’ll associate it with you. 

Think about how many votes you will need to secure the position, and how you might reach that number of students, via course groups, sports or societies. 

Keep your message clear and simple as most people won’t spend long looking at it*:

Facebook - posts with 80 characters or less receive 66% higher engagement
Twitter - experts recommend keeping posts under 100 characters and the hashtag under 6 characters
Instagram – aim for 138 to 150 characters to capture people’s attention without being cut off by an ellipsis. 

Be creative and use video updates and blogs to keep people up to date with your campaign and remind them of your manifesto (30 to 60 seconds is the ideal video length*).

When campaigning in person be friendly and open, remember you can’t force people to vote but you have the chance to sell your manifesto points and listen to students feedback on issues. 


*Social media engagement statistics from https://blog.hootsuite.com/ideal-social-media-post-length/
 

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