2021: The year of virtual campaigning

2021 is a year like no other and for the candidates of the Students’ Unions electionscampaigning is certainly different. 

 

The Coronavirus pandemic has meant that physical campaigning is not allowed this year.

Before the pandemic, campaigning was all about talking to voters’ face to face, handing out flyers and putting up posters.

Although candidates still have the virtual elections debate night to voice their manifesto, being off campus means building up their social media presence.

So, I asked this years’ candidates: “How will you be campaigning online.” 

Here’s what some of them said…

 

Every Social Media Platform

Dan Bichener is running for Union President. He said; “not being able to go out to speak to students in person is unfortunate.” But, he is going to be using social media to his full advantage when campaigning. Dan is using a range of social media platforms to reach ‘a variety of students.’ He added; “The good thing is nearly everyone is online.”

Oliver King is also running for Union President. He said: “It’s challenging not having a physical presence on campus, but I am trying my best to gain an online following.” Oliver thinks it is difficult to portray your true self online. But, as a commuting student, he said going fully online has given him more time.

Bethany Elwood is currently the president of Development and is running to be re-elected as President of Campaigns and Societies.  She said: ‘Normally during campaigning, it would be all about speaking to as many students physically as possible and handing out flyers. This year, it is all about building up a social media presence. Branding is key this year. I have been trying to think of fun ways to engage students, in the hope to get a big turnout!’

Frankie McGregor is running for President of Community, Diversity and Inclusion. Frankie thinks social media allows candidates to campaign across campuses easily. She also believes it will help her to find the right audience. She said that she will be using her ‘campaign team to spread the message about her social media pages, which allow students to follow her campaign process.’

Bethan O’Dea is also running for President of Community, Diversity and Inclusion. So far, she has found that students have been “very supportive and receptive” to having a chat on a direct message. Despite the power of social media, Bethan thinks it can be difficult to reach students, and being off campus makes it harder for students to immerse themselves in university life and get involved in the elections.

All in all, the candidates are having to work very hard to use social media to reach as many students as possible.

 

Catchy Hashtags

Lots of candidates have made hashtags this year as well as pages on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get their campaign trending.

Beth has decided to keep it “nice and simple this year” with #believeinbeth.

Beth Elwood’s Online Campaign Poster

Dan has created a catchy hashtag #DanTheMan. He kept it “short and simple” and believes it is “a phrase that everyone knows and hopefully will think of when they go to vote.”

Dan Bichener’s Online Campaign Poster

Frankie’s hashtag is #Vote4Frankie.

Frankie McGregor’s Online Campaign Poster

Oliver is using #voteolly. He believes this will help ‘to trend his campaign and collate his posts across platforms.’

Oliver King’s Online Campaign Poster

Bethan is using the hashtag #VOTE4ODEA. She is currently figuring out a slogan too.

Bethan O’Dea’s Online Campaign Poster

To read up the candidates manifestos, follow the link. https://ccsu.co.uk/elections/candidates/86/

Don’t forget to follow UNIfied on Twitter for all the latest updates on the elections.

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