Make the most of your political
network in the lead up to
‘General Election 2010’
Guide for Parliamentary Candidates to
Congratulations on your selection as a Parliamentary Candidate for the
2010 General Election.
With each of your parties reaching out to as many audiences as possible
and the election campaign widely expected to be Britain’s first ‘digital’
election we wanted to make sure you had the guidance you needed to
speak to the professional community, some of the most influential voters,
Political branding doesn’t only count at the national level. While standing
for Parliament is reflective of your wish to represent your constituency and
to promote the policies of your chosen political party, modern political
candidature is also about ‘personal branding’.
• How do you want voters to see you?
• How can your ‘brand’ reach and influence new audiences?
• How can personal branding and use of social media support your
• How can social media help you to understand and interact with key groups
and take the pulse of professionals and business influencers?
This LinkedIn guide shows you how you can harness professional
networking to support your campaign. In the last couple of years the power
of LinkedIn has been used by the Obama Presidential campaign, and
Kevin Eyres locally by Harriet Harman MP, Ed Vaizey MP and Kenneth Clarke MP and
Managing Director, others.
Our goal is to make our members more productive and successful and as
one of our members we’d like to help you with this too.
Good luck for your campaign ahead.
Kevin Eyres, MD LinkedIn Europe
Why bother with online campaigning?
As you know, the 2010 election campaign
is already unrecognisable and quite Why LinkedIn?
different to any previous General Election
campaign. Times have changed. Political • World’s largest professional network
campaigning has changed. Standard • Used by business leaders worldwide to connect and share information
methods of communication such as • Already used by politicians from President Obama to Ed Vaizey MP
television and newspapers are in decline • 65+ million members globally; 15 million in Europe; over 3 million in the UK
and the public – the voters - flock to the • One new member joining every second
internet and their smartphones for news • Members range from graduates to directors from every FTSE 100
and information. company through to sole traders and entrepreneurs
• The average LinkedIn member is in their early forties, university educated
Voters today expect engagement and the and a decision maker in their organisation
internet permits a dialogue with more • A business focused environment distinct from social networks
people than traditional methods of
campaigning. LinkedIn is the best platform on which to communicate with the business
community, whether that’s to ask opinion of a development in a local
It is an effective way of talking directly community, or to gather country-wide feedback on manifesto points.
with voters. The last US presidential
election campaign in 2008 was a vivid
display of just how powerful the internet
can be in political campaigning.
Using the power of the internet you can
create a strong personal brand. Brand
building is about letting the public know
what to expect from you.
How can LinkedIn help you as a candidate?
How to build a strong profile
During the coming weeks you will meet hundreds
if not thousands of people. They will be drawn • Showcase your experience: list your current
from across local professional or business and past roles as well as your education
groups such as Chambers of Commerce, • Add a photo: help people to identify you
voluntary groups and civic organizations. • Tell your story: add a summary paragraph. This
LinkedIn provides an opportunity to maintain is your chance to say who you are and what you
these connections. It allows you to build a can do
professional network, in your own constituency, • Bring your ‘real world’ contacts online: use
of valuable contacts with whom you can stay in the tools available to import your contacts from
touch, consult, or just keep up to date on your Outlook, Mac Address and others in seconds.
campaign. LinkedIn helps you as a candidate, or The larger your personal network the wider the
as an MP to: potential reach for your messages
• Increase your visibility
• Highlight your political and
• Raise funds
• Interact with constituents on key political
• Share your tweets
• Manage your contacts
1. Create or enhance your profile on
LinkedIn allows candidates to get input and
increase visibility among the professional
community in your constituency as well as
nationally. It is free to join and has the
advantage of being specialised so you can
reach directly into the business community.
2. Use ‘LinkedIn Answers’
All three major party leaders have promised to ‘reach out’ to voters who can often not
be reached through traditional campaigning techniques. Some of the hardest but
most influential voters to reach are often local business leaders or professionals who
are working long hours. LinkedIn can help you to reach and build relationships with
such influential voters.
LinkedIn can help candidates gain access to an invaluable resource of knowledge,
experience and feedback from the professional community – a crucial target group of
voters for any candidate.
This is a forum where people are likely to care about and have a view on the issues
that you raise
Participating on answers gives you a better insight into the issues facing
professionals to shape your campaign
Asking a Question Answering a Question
Any question that allows members to share their Demonstrate your own expertise and interests, which
knowledge, experience or opinion will produce will also help boost your profile.
insightful answers. Questions can be found in these places:
Asking a question is quick and easy: 1. Through your Network Update on your home page
1. Enter your question 2. Under the Answers tab you can check new
2. Select the appropriate category to place it under questions from people in your network or by category
3. Consider if additionally, you want to send your 3. Using the advanced answers search
question by email to specific connections
What will happen?
What will happen? If you post an answer it will appear:
Your question will immediately appear: 1. Under the question you answered
1. Listed under the Answers tab 2. As a network update on the homepages of your
2. On your profile connections
3. On the LinkedIn homepage of your connections 3. On your profile
4. In email, if you sent your question to any specific 4. In an email to the person who asked the question
3. Build your own group and join others How to get started in four easy steps
LinkedIn can help you to build a community of 1. Clear goals: Decide what your message is, what is the purpose
local SMEs and larger businesses in your of the group? Who should join and what should they expect?
constituency. Groups are specialist communities 2. Personality: Identify a primary contact who can coordinate the
of like-minded professionals who share a activities of the group and keep engaged
common expertise, experience, passion, interest, 3. Grow the membership: Invite others to join your group to help
affiliation or goal. to engage with your discussions or kick start their own.
• Joining a group allows you to show your support 4. Set your guidelines: Choose whether to make it an ‘open’ or
for an issue or cause ‘closed’ group. Remember while the latter gives you more
• Updating your group(s) is a great way to update control over membership it will take more time to manage the
professionals about your policies which may work group
to their advantage • Open groups: automatically accept any member that
• Surveying the group(s) on key issues affecting wants to be part of the group
professionals: e.g. rail surveys, SME assistance, • Closed groups: require the group owner to invite or
red tape or business rates enables you to individually approve members before they can participate
interact with their concerns and questions
Get the most out of your group(s)
1. Keep it visual: Use a relevant logo to help potential members
find you easily
2. Keep it manageable: If a core group becomes too big, use
sub-groups to help to generate specialist conversations.
e.g. a central party group might then have sub-groups by
3. Keep it lively: Enhance your group by using the unique
messaging features and adding custom content such as
blog posts, twitter feeds, photos and stand alone videos
with interviews, event coverage etc.
4. Keep talking: Get real-time feedback and insights from your
group members. Post regular questions to drive
discussions and acknowledge and respond to those who do
the same. Use other social media and online tools to
promote interesting discussions in the group
4. Reach more people
LinkedIn is fully integrated with Twitter so if you are a
‘tweeting’ politician then you can share your tweets with
those that are connected to you.
You can also use LinkedIn to:
• Highlight your own website or blog to professionals
• Find out what people are saying about you on Twitter via
the Company Buzz application
• Share files and slide presentations with your network
using SlideShare or Box.net Files
• Capture facts, figures and opinions to share with others
by polling your network or a wider selection of members
5. On the go
• With a suite of mobile applications, LinkedIn is
available to more business people than any
other professional network in the world
• LinkedIn has applications for the iPhone,
Blackberry and Palm Pre, so you can keep up
to date with your network updates, manage
your inbox and make new connections on the
Shadow Business Secretary of State Kenneth Clarke Examples of those who have already used
received 171 answers to his question about what LinkedIn to engage with professionals seeking
Government could do to help businesses in the their views and opinions
economic climate during the recession.
Harriet Harman received over
900 responses to a series of
polls on equality
Examples of those who have already used
LinkedIn to engage with professionals during
Two of the most popular profiles for
US presidential candidates in 2008
When Barack Obama posed a
business related question on LinkedIn
he immediately reached the US site’s
13 million members.
It doesn’t need to be time consuming. If you have just…
• Update your status
• Read your network updates
• Connect to someone you’ve met on the trail
• Ask a question to gather views
• Join a group to build up your network
• Track the Twitter buzz around an issue you are following Useful links for you to find out more
Answer a question to share your opinion 1. New starters can find more out here -
Find out what people in your network are attending, reading, http://learn.linkedinlabs.com/new-users/
or even where they are travelling to 2. Learning centre for more information
about everything you might want to do -
3. Regular news from LinkedIn -
About LinkedIn http://blog.linkedin.com/
4. Download apps for your smart phone -
LinkedIn Corporation is an Internet company focused on http://www.linkedin.com/mobile
connecting the world’s professionals. The company is privately
5. List your event for free and invite your
held and has a diversified business model with revenues
network or check what is happening in your
driven from user subscriptions, advertising sales and software
local town – http://events.linkedin.com/
licensing. The LinkedIn web site was launched in 2003 and is
the largest professional networking site in the world with more 6. Integrate your email and web browsers by
than 65 million members representing 200 countries and downloading the additional tools –
executives from every FTSE 100 company. The company’s http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=tools
worldwide corporate headquarters is based in Mountain View, 7. Browse the other tools and applications
Calif. available - http://www.linkedin.com/apps
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