Each year we see election candidates come up with amazing ideas of how to campaign and communicate with students, and ultimately win their votes.
This is a basic guide to help you plan out your election campaign and it will offer some tips and advice that can help you win your election. We should point out that you don’t necessarily need to do absolutely everything in this guide, that spending all of your budget isn’t the most important thing, and that there will be things that are completely in the rules that we haven’t thought of and nobody has done before.
Most importantly remember to have fun, and good luck!
For updated Rules & Regulations click here.
Your manifesto is your key material for explaining to other students why you are standing and what you would do if you are elected.
Here are three things you might want to think about and then convey with your manifesto:
- Why are you standing?
- Who are you representing?
- What are your key ideas to make students’ lives better?
If you’re not sure at this stage exactly what you’d put in your manifesto, don’t worry – we will be covering how to create an engaging and realistic manifesto at the Candidate Briefings, so you will have plenty of time to think about it after that.
Planning your campaign
Once you have finalised your manifesto, you can start to plan your campaign. Here are some things you may first want to consider:
- Build your core support – it is possible to campaign, and even win an election entirely from your own efforts. However we strongly recommend that you engage your friends and supporters in helping you campaign and win votes.
- Mobilise your base – Whose vote can you count on? Moreover, what else can they do for you?
- Form alliances – Who else is running in the election with similar goals to your own? You may wish to take a joint approach to campaigning and share the workload.
Next, before you actually go out and start campaigning, consider refining your message so it is easier to convey your manifesto to students when you’re out talking to them:
- Think carefully about your campaign messages – who you are trying to influence?
- Keep it simple – Being concise and to the point doesn’t mean you have to lack substance.
- Find and confront the problem - Tell a story with your campaign that pinpoints exactly what the problem is.
- Create slogans and hashtags.
- Be creative!
Talking to Students
- Talking to students is the cornerstone to your campaign.
- When talking to students, try to be brief and to the point, but make sure you tell them something they will remember.
- Try and ask them a couple of questions before you start to talk about yourself and your ideas, maybe about their ideas and concerns.
- Remember to focus on the changes you are proposing that are relevant to them, remember elections are about the voters.
Canvassing on campus and in halls
- Canvassing is one of the most important forms of direct campaigning. It is one of the most time-consuming ways of conducting a campaign, but it is also one of the most effective.
- How many people should do door-to-door campaigning?
Door-to-door campaigns can be done individually, but experience shows that two-person teams are best.
- One important piece of practical advice for halls: start at the top and work down.
- When should you ask someone to vote for you? Ask at the end of the conversation and do so openly.
Here are some different forms of publicity you can use:
Posters, banners, leaflets, stickers, t-shirts, videos, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Good Publicity helps you:
- to spread information and ideas
- to get more people involved
- to make you stand out from the other candidates
- to be more effective
Things to consider:
- What do you want to get across?
- Who do you need to talk to and how?
- What do you want people to do?
- What's the best way of telling them?
- Do you have the time, skills and resources to do this?
Using Social Media
- Facebook – Largest population. Allows you to make pages that multiple people can manage.
- Twitter – Lower population. But more political and where LBSU has higher engagement.
Facebook and promotion - Facebook gives you the option to ‘advertise’ your page or pay for the promotion of specific posts. Whilst ‘organic’ likes are often seen as more fruitful, Facebook has been moving in a direction where they essentially limit your reach if you are not paying for promotion. If you are going to run a large online campaign, paying for promotion may be something you want to consider – remember that the SU will provide you with a campaign budget so you won’t be out of pocket.