Gareth Fairhurst, a local councillor on Wigan Council, has used online communications and social media, including his blog, Twitter @cllrgwfairhurst, and Facebook to communicate with his constituents in Standish, a village in Greater Manchester, England.
In 2012 Gareth, an independent, won re-election with twice the number of votes as his nearest major party rival. He credits his content marketing efforts as instrumental in his success.
"In the last local elections [May, 2012] I knew I had to try the online experience, as I was an independent candidate and that is always a disadvantage to the mainstream parties," Gareth told me. "There was a particular issue that people where concerned with so I used the blog as a starting point to set up an online petition. This allowed people to share the issue with their friends, which in turned associated my name with the campaign. It also helped me get 1000 peoples' email addresses over the election campaign."
While Gareth has been blogging since 2009, he recently changed his strategy. "I update my blog once a week on Sunday with what had been happening each week," he says. "Then I update my Twitter and Facebook account during the week with snippets," pointing people from the social networks to his blog. "This has seen an increase in my blog by over 60%."
While his rivals from The Labour Party and The Conservative Party used traditional leaflet drops during the 2012 campaign campaign, Gareth focused his efforts on social media and web content combined with personal meetings with constituents. "Here is the link to the result, which I believe demonstrates not only a massive win but you have to use new tools to connect with voters," he says.
Nice work Gareth! Keep going.