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Facebook Campaigning for the 2013 Elections

Believe it or not, launching a simple Facebook campaign is as effective as going from one house to another and shaking hands with voters. Facebook is being used by 29 million Filipinos, roughly 30% of the population.

What are the features of Facebook that makes it an essential element of your political campaign?

1.    Facebook is free. No money is needed for a Facebook sign up.

2.    Besides being used by almost 30% of the population, the average age of Filipinos on Facebook is 23. This means that most users of the social networking site are voters and are active members of the society.

3.    Facebook is not covered by election laws. You can start your 2013 election campaign now on Facebook without worrying that the Commission on Election (COMELEC) will run after you. Even seconds before the casting of votes, you can chat with your neighbors via Facebook to explain why you deserve their trust.

4.    Facebook is easy to manipulate. Even a 102-year old grandmother can maneuver her Facebook account. “Liking” and “posting” of messages are as easy as pie.

It is said that drawing influence is done on Facebook. That is why all influential people use Facebook to spread their ideas and upgrade their reputation. How is the flow of influence on Facebook? On the social networking site, a simple “good morning” message can target specific people -who are potential voters. You must take note that:

1.    Opinion influencers are on Facebook. Journalists, officials and very powerful personality in the society are using Facebook. Once they treat you as a friend, they can talk about you. They mention you in their messages and you will benefit from their “friends” who are reading the messages.

2.    Posted messages on Facebook can reach almost two billion people worldwide. Users can share your posted messages so their friends can also see it. Publicity is unlimited on Facebook.

3.    What you have posted on Facebook stay as long as you do not delete it. Post your letters and campaign messages on Facebook and these will appear every time users visit your page. Unlike in newspaper, paid marketing messages are gone when the next issue is printed and you did not pay for the commercial space.

In creating a Facebook account, it is advisable to use a Google Mail of Gmail account. Yahoo mails are more prone to spamming and hacking. Once you have a Gmail account, you can also use other Google products like Documents, Calendar and Blogger instantly. After creating a free Google mail account, go to Facebook and sign up for an account. The steps are very simple and you can do these two steps in just five minutes. Of course, use your real name (complete name, no title like “Mayor” or “Congressman”).

Now, you have a Facebook account. What should you make sure?

1.    Your profile picture and cover page must look professional and welcoming. Regarding your profile picture, choose an image showing you smiling. In the picture, you do not have to be wearing formal attire. Just be neat-looking and make you’re your face is identifiable as you. It would be better also to use a picture of your place/locality as your cover photo. This technique will surely welcome your own people warmly to browse your account.

2.    In coming up with your profile information or your “about”, make sure to speak the language of your people. Use common words. Use your own dialect in some aspects of the profile. Use Ilocano or Ibaloi if needed to show to the public that you are one of them. Be humble when writing about your achievements. Say “public servant at Baguio City” instead of posting “Councilor at Baguio City”. Do not go for straight English, so your profile will not appear flashy, cold and rude.

It is very important to upload bunches of pictures. Remember, people browse your profile to see your pictures. There are things you should do to make your profile a very important online page that will make you win this 2013 elections.

1.    In uploading pictures, you should never ever post photos of you doing some illegal, unpleasant, immoral and clever things like smoking, getting dead-drunk and doing inappropriate hand gestures.

2.    Minimize uploading pictures of you with your family. You are a public figure and it is not appropriate to see your profile full of pictures of your kids and your private life.

3.    Never post pictures of you and your family enjoying a luxurious day-off or vacation. Profiles of politicians in extravagant places are disgusting and tasteless. This will just create an impression that you are another traditional politician who enjoys life while your people starve in the slum.

What should you post then?

1.    Pictures of you working in the office and meeting new people in session halls. Do not pose for the camera. Appear as if everything was a “stolen” moment.

2.    Pictures of you in the field. When you visit calamities, make sure a photographer is there taking pictures of you in action. Stolen shots again. Do not pose, unless you want to be tagged as a “showy” traditional politician.

3.    Pictures of your people and your place. Take pictures of participants of seminars, competitions and projects. Upload them with captions. Once people know that you have pictures of them in your profile, they will visit your profile immediately.

How do we make quality captions? A perfect caption goes this way “With us is the very beautiful Ms. Mountain Province winner Joy Dela Cruz (a true pride of the Philippines).  On our right is her proud mother Manang Evangeline. Sayang, awan ni tatang na nga Joseph. Manong Joseph is in Dubai working as an OFW. I’m sure he is very proud of her daughter”.

1.    Mention names. People love seeing their names in someone else’s photo.

2.    “Tag” people if needed and they will surely feel good about it.

3.    Do not write in straight English. Use Ilocano and Kankanaey expressions in your sentences.

4.    Be positive always. Say “unfortunate” instead of using “the losing team”.

5.    Appear as if you are very proud of a person/people or place shown in the picture. Say “Pilipino kasi kaya magaling, just like us!”

6.    Have a brief caption if possible. People do not read very long captions.

How do we interact with other Facebook users? Simply, add people who are from your place. Make sure you add only those whom know you. For sure you find your batch-mates, neighbors and strangers on Facebook. After having hundreds of friends online, it is time to boost your image or reputation.

1.    Throw comments on Facebook messages on your wall. Ex. “Wow!”

2.    Hit the “like” buttons of all posts you see to create an impression that you have seen the posts or messages or pictures.

3.    When someone “liked” your photo, make sure to thank the person. This will start a good conversation. Ex. “hey, Marie, thanks sa pag like. Musta ka na”.

4.    Always mention names when interacting. That is magical to a person you are interacting with. Ex. “Bernie, you got it!”.

5.    Use the words “kabsat”, “brother”, “kapatid” or “kailiyan” to address a person. Ex. “Kabsat, are you coming tomorrow?”

6.    Greet all birthday celebrants with a simple “happy bday” message.

7.    Be positive when throwing a comment or posting a shout-out. Ex. “Nice try. Next time, panalo na yan!”

8.    When someone opposes your comment, just thank the person for taking time to express his “intellectual” opinion. Never fight with someone on Facebook. Ex. “wow, you have a very bright opinion. Keep up”.

9.    Be witty. Post jokes that draw the attention of people. Post riddles and many will interact with you for sure.

10. Post announcements and weather forecasts. This is very important. Get brief updates from the authority like PAGASA and just copy-paste to your wall. Give some “care” notes like “ingat mga kapatid” and “be prepared always”.

11. Greet those who have passed in board exams on your wall. When they learn about your greetings, they get interested in your profile and will thank you. Additional pogi points!

12. Never attack another politician on Facebook. Never leak confidential info on Facebook just to prove that someone is doing something wrong.

Everything may sound tough. But in reality, these are just very simple steps on how to use Facebook to win the 2013 elections. What is the best thing to do? Of course, there is what we call “short cut”. Want to know more about it? Email me at christianaligonow@gmail.com. I will share what I know, as a concerned online citizen.

Facebook is a blessing for the upcoming 2013 elections. Utilize it. It’s free. If you want to know more techniques about using the internet to win the 2013 elections, read this. 

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.

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