There are a number of ways that school board candidates can build support online. Here is a brief overview of the most effective ways of promoting yourself on the web and through social media.
Include in your site a campaign press kit for voters and the local media. This can include:
- A cover letter describing the candidate and school board campaign.
- A candidate biography.
- Press releases in file form.
- Digital copies of logos, brochures, flyers and any other print materials.
- Photographs of the candidate and campaign events. Consider offering several versions for download. Low-res files can be used for web, but print requires larger, high-resolution images for decent results.
- Newspaper or other media excerpts. Rather than reprinting the material outright, you could create a document or PDF file with links.
- A Question and Answer sheet covering the major issues. This could include standard platform information and cover basic questions about the candidate.
Avoid fluff about how great you are. Keep your information professional and up to date.
How to win the online battle, particularly if your opponent is using social media? Create a Facebook page and a Twitter account to promote your campaign. These accounts should be linked from your campaign website, inviting others to follow you. These accounts should be updated (at a minimum) with anything you update on your website. If you do not plan to update your accounts, then don’t bother creating them.
Listen, engage, and monitor what is being said. Social media should be integrated into your existing marketing program. It’s simply another communication channel. It can be a powerful channel, but at the end of the day it’s still just another way to communicate.
You may want to promote yourself through email marketing, Pay Per Click advertising, Facebook advertising and even text campaigns. Online advertising is fairly affordable, and it can help build traffic and support.
The above is recommended for school board campaigns that have limited resources. Reaching out online is not necessary for every campaign. How much you choose to do will depend on your comfort level with new media technology and how much you really want to take on.