5 Ways to Communicate better than these Mayoral Candidates

Huntington just completed its mayoral primary. It was a larger than normal field (7) in the Republican primary….. partly because candidate wanabees smelled blood in the water from the troubles of the current mayor; who had to cut staff, cut budget, and who implemented a trash tax of over $100/yr.

I consider myself friends with at least one of the candidates, have spoken with three of them and know a couple others through experiences and acquaintances. It is not my purpose to slam any of them by name…..but there were things that happened that worked well and didn’t work at all…..and since the marketing of one’s self as a candidate is similar to selling yourself and your products — I consider all of this applicable blog fodder.

Overview of the WINNER! He on my door one Saturday morning, called me by name and mentioned my job. He had several papers with him, so he may have had a list of the homeowners, but the personal greeting was a new experience from a door knocking candidate. I asked several questions and his answers were detailed and direct. When he answered my question about the trash tax, he didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, he told me what he thought. I respect that. When I posted a facebook status aimed at all the candidates, he was the only one who responded even though I had three, and had requested to friend the fourth, on my facebook. This guy utilized a combination of related technologies; a well done web page with an option to sign up for updates and a blog connected to a facebook. I received several appropriately spaced email blasts and blog updates. His multi-colored yard signs included his picture, which is also in the newspaper regularly for his current day job advertisements….so his face was recognizable. Oh, and he was the only candidate (I think) who had graduate degrees in something that would seem to work well with business management. My only disappointment was that I had to find out from someone else that he was actually IN the band years ago.

Band Friendly Candidates….. the current mayor has been supportive, especially the past couple summers when we hosted a Drum & Bugle Corps. One of the other candidates was labeled (to me) “band friendly” by the other director….. so three of the seven. SIDE NOTE…. political candidates in local elections should understand the potential organized voting block that a music parent group can be. Few groups in this county are as active and organized as the two music parent organizations at the high school.

The almost guy had a good web page full of positional information. Between that and the detailed answers he had in a newspaper’s Candidates’ Q&A, convinced me that he could have been a good choice. I received numerous pieces of mail and found information in my door multiple times….so either he or a campaign worker came to my house on his behalf. I was really disappointed when this guy IGNORED my friend request on face book. I would think if you are running for office, you would accept every request so that person could better get to know you….. He could have deleted or blocked me after the election…..I just wanted to learn more about him.

Pie in the sky and lots of mud can sum up one candidate. Without ever telling us how he would pay for any of it, he was going to immediately drop the trash tax (yay), reinstate the city clean up (where the city picks up all your junk) and more. Yeah, all that would be great, but HOW will you do it? No answers there. Much of his campaign, however, was slinging mud at the current mayor. As far as I know, though, there was no web page, no face book, no email campaign ….little/no use of technology other than mail, door hangers and newspaper ads….and mud.

The Find-me-and-figure-me-out-if-you-can candidate was frustrating. He had a personal facebook page, which I used to ask if he had a web page. The response was that he was “using my facebook page”. He didn’t explain that he had a DIFFERENT page about his candidacy. Eventually I found it, but all it had was a picture and a request for a vote. Nothing on the discussions….nothing about positions…. When I communicated an offer to help set up a short-term blog site and requested positional items that I could post for him, the response was that he didn’t really know how to use computers that way. Really? REALLY? You can’t even construct an email with your positions articulated? So, for my vote decision-making, I had to rely on his publicity, which talked about what kind of environment he wanted, or indicated that he would talk to groups of people before making decisions…. Few of his positional responses were actually positions. Judging from his final ranking, apparently I wasn’t the only frustrated voter. Sad, because I trusted his high integrity level.

The fiscal conservative candidate had nothing to say or offer (that I read or received) other than that he was a fiscal conservative. Kinda felt like he was latching on to a “label” that seems to be “politically correct” and popular right now. Translate the label into dollars and cents to make sense….to me.

The embattled mayor put up a galant, although unsuccessful fight. To his credit, much of the financial challenges were beyond his control…. overall economic downturn combined with state shortfalls and budget cuts which forced him to lay off workers (including his wife), reduce services (like the city clean-up) and implement new and unpopular taxes. My original thought, and apparently that of ALL THOSE candidates, was that he didn’t stand a chance. But once he determined to fight, he got out his yard signs, which everyone remembers were EVERYWHERE when HE ousted the then mayor. He used his facebook to put out announcements about holidays, garbage pickup and to promote events in the city. And, although I’m sure it was a lot of copy and pasted text, he sent me a personal facebook message (not a group message) that admitted mistakes, explained some of the problems and promised the future…. I appreciated that.

CONCLUSION = COMMUNICATE

1. Use a BLOG to post updates and put out information. Most blogs also have PAGES, just like more typical web sites.

2. Encourage people to SUBSCRIBE to your blog so that they receive email updates whenever you update the blog….as opposed to their otherwise having to remember to periodically check your site.

3. LINK your blog to social media such as FACEBOOK, TWITTER and LINKEDIN. Each time you post a blog update, a link is posted automatically to each of your social media networks. In addition to the New Feeds of the social/business networks, CREATE PAGES on each. In most cases you can copy/paste from one page to update similar pages on the other sites. You never know from where someone is going to search for something that puts YOU on the list.

4. Encourage your “friends” to SHARE, RETWEET or REPOST on their sites. This is the concept that, when on a large scale, can be referred to as VIRAL marketing.

5. Use an EMAIL BLAST to inform people who have “opted in” or who’s addresses you have collected from a variety of media.

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