Odds are if you're reading this article you probably have a Facebook account and are at least somewhat interested in running for a local office... If that's you then this article just might have been custom written for your situation.
Without question Facebook is fundamentally changing the world each of us live in. It has become so integrated into our culture that we hear it mentioned nearly every time we go out in public. Its chat room has replaced the old town's square, its message center is replacing our email and its farm games are replacing the time that Mom used to spend washing dishes...
Regardless of your opinion concerning this new and strange concept we simply refer to as Facebook, one thing that is becoming more clear with each passing day- it is fundamentally changing American culture and one area of change that I am really beginning to observe is when it comes to how we interact and communicate with each other. The two essential ingredients needed to win a local election.
Luckily for you, however, all those pasty, rich, old men you pass everyday at the courthouse have no idea of the hidden potential locked away in a single Facebook account.
Suddenly, those old political hounds that once seemed so invincible are brought to a level playing field... Just like everybody else.
Things You Will Need
You'll need to choose which local office you want to run for as well as get listed on the ballot for that particular office- As each local municipality's rules vary so greatly concerning getting listed we recommend you contact your local board of election.
Let's say you live in the little town of Edgefield, South Carolina and you want to run for town council. What do you do first?
We recommend as early as eight months prior to the election creating a Facebook profile simply named "Beautiful Edgefield" with a picture of the most recognizable landmark in the town as the profile picture.
We know that you'll be anxious to get your campaigning started, however, this profile is to be kept completely non-partisan. Include the town's history and scenery... Make it a profile that would appeal to as many residents of the town as possible. (Make sure you are creating an actual profile and not a page or a group, as neither of them permits their users to request friendships)
After the profile is completed recommend this page to everyone on your friends list- Enlist your spouse and friends to assist you... You'll be amazed at how quickly nearly everyone in the town will have "Beautiful Edgefield" as their friend. Pretty soon you'll have to confirm countless friend requests from people you don't even know- all the while your contact list will be ever increasing.
This is what will be used as your "net profile"- in which you will use to build contacts with unexpecting local voters- voters that will be necessary to earning you an election victory.
Take a few weeks and read the posts of your hundreds or thousands of new found friends- they very well could hold the key to your election victory.
A few weeks after you have created your version of the non-partisan "Beautiful Edgefield" profile you should also create an "Elect 'Whateveryourlastnameis'" profile.
This profile is to be used as your actual political profile. Here you should clearly lay out your campaign promises/platform- again your platform/profile should be something that would appear to the largest swath of voters and is something that we whole heartedly believe should be kept positive most of the time.
Once you are ready to go public announce your candidacy for whichever particular office you so choose on your "Vote 4me" profile.
Then write a short article (maybe even send out a message) to all the friends of "Beautiful Edgefield" announcing that "so and so" has announced his candidacy for whichever office, providing a link to both the 'Vote 4me profile' as well as your actual website (providing that you have one that actually looks professional). Also this would be the perfect time to go through and one by one click "Recommend" to all the friends of the "Beautiful Edgefield" profile to the newly released political profile.
Three or four months before the local election (maybe longer or shorter... all depends on how long election season lasts in your area!) Announce your candidacy
Continue to grow both profiles befriending as many people as Facebook will allow (be sure to take a break from clicking everyone of your friend's friends once the automatic counter tells you to or they will close your account.)
Don't worry, this is not spamming at all... This is simply networking- the thing the majority of Facebook users claim in their profile to be on their for.
As both profiles build up steam and begin to take momentum continue to send out weekly messages encouraging potential voters to register, and reminding registered voters of your stances as well as the actual date.
Here's the dirty little secret when it comes to local American elections- Average Americans couldn't care less, which translates into this- Average Americans don't vote in them.
The voter's lack of interest and low turnout will be your key to winning this election.
Your opponent- "Doc Brown" has been elected and re-elected and re-elected by the same 300 people every election. They are his base and nothing you can do short of offering them the moon will win their vote. However, unlike your opponent, you have two facebooks profiles with over 3,000 friends.
Never forget this- The key to winning any election (outside of an American Presidential election) is to have more votes than the other guy after everything is said and done. This does not mean that you're going to have to be more liked than the other person it simply means that you're going to have to get more people to the polls that like you than like him.
While your opponent will be scoworing through the phone book trying to remind Jed's Aunt Maggie that today's election day you would have already emailed / messaged nearly the entire town that today's the day to come out and vote for you!
If you can somehow encourage only 11% of those Facebook friends to get out and vote for you on election day you have accomplished a feat that both the local bank president and PTA Vice President have been failing for years to do.
As I hope you already know, there is no "magic formula" that guarantees a won election. Elections are for the most part much like everything else in life- you will only get out as much as you put into it.
By no means are we suggesting that you limit your campaign to cyberspace and not shake a single hand. We are merely offering potential candidates a tool to assist them in getting elected.
Tips & Warnings
Elections are draining on one's body, family and finances- Although it can be one of the greatest experiences of your life bewarned that it can also be one of the most disastrous. Therefore we strongly advice for any person contemplating a run for any office to take time and truly weigh out the pros and cons in an honest manner.