Union Web Communication
First Base – a Website
Every local or organization needs a website to be the backbone and the known area for accessing information. Things move quickly through a social media page, but your membership will know it can always check the website for complete information on events and other local happenings.
Unions and organizations should be filling their website with the positive actions and photos of their membership. Big media prefers to post the negative about unions because it sells. So unions need to showcase their positive contributions. Your membership’s local action in giving back to the community should always be shared on your website. Every event, no matter how small should be shared on your website.
Always encourage participants to take pictures at events and ask them to email them to you or post them to your social media page so they can be transferred over to the website too. Website articles are more likely to be picked up by search engines than short social media posts. Writing articles doesn’t require a degree in journalism, just cover the who, what, where, why and when about the event and you’ll have a couple of paragraphs to go with your pictures. Putting a couple of minutes into Search Engine Optimization is worth it, too.
Posting articles to a website also shouldn’t require a college degree in web development. When we make a website for an organization we make it easy for their committees to post articles, even from their phones!
Second Base – Email Newsletters
Asking your membership to sign up for your email alerts should be a priority. Sending emails to your organization can be done for free using programs like Mail Chimp. Other low cost solutions include Vertical Response or Constant Contact. Emails are great for announcements and keeping your local up to date. Remember to keep emails short and your pictures small in size for your mobile readers. Instead of putting long articles in an email, offer an excerpt and a link to the article on your website.
A big win is that you can limit your email list to include only your membership, unlike most social media or a website where the public can view messages.
Third Base – Social Media
Right now, the top 5 Social Media Sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. The trick to unions using social media is to create an article on your website, then share it on your social media outlets and watch it spread virally. A good website setup includes automatic “share” buttons, so once an article is posted, its just a matter of clicking a button to share the post out to your social media channels.
Home Run – Communication Management
Managing all these communication outlets can be overwhelming. We recommend having a specific staff member or officer be your communications leader, and then set up a general email box for your membership to send their news to. From there, website posts can be scheduled in programs like WordPress. Emails can be scheduled in programs like Vertical Response and social media can be scheduled using Hootsuite or other social media management platforms. There you have it – a grand slam in online communications, and none of these tools are costly, most of them are free. If you’re looking for more information on any of these communication tools or you’d like a quote on a website for your union or organization, the Appletree Mediaworks is ready to explore your needs in depth and build a plan to achieve your goals.
An Extra RBI:
Keep your eye on the new, fast growing social media sites that focus on people meeting new people with similar interests including Tagged, Meet Me, and Meetup. We’ve got our eye on Meetup where groups of people with similar interests in a local area can make plans to participate in their hobby together. This could be big for unions to come together in a local area to make a huge impact.
For more information on union web communication, contact us – we can answer any questions you have!
Ebizmba.com, (2014). Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites. [online] Available at: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites[Accessed 8 May. 2014].
It’s Appletree MediaWorks’ 5th birthday and we’ve been helping many unions and locals make sure they’re seen out on the web in that time. Things have changed quickly on the internet – technology moves fast – so below are some universal union tech tips for your own personal computing and your union’s presence on the web!
Keep Your Website Up to Date
We all use Facebook for lots of updates, but Facebook has made some changes which result in members missing a lot of posts. This is another example of why you should consider your website to be your hub for info and post all relevant info there. Updating a website regularly also makes it climb higher in Google, and makes viewers feel like something is going on. Give them a reason to check out your site regularly! UWUA Local 304 presents a good example of regular updates with engaging content.
Change your Passwords
After Heartbleed and other various internet threats, it’s become clear the best thing you can do is change your passwords regularly and make sure you don’t use the same password everywhere. Worried you’ll forget your passwords? There’s software for that! Read more at the Appletree Media blog.
Clean Up Your Computer
Does your computer feel like it’s been going slower? Do you have popups and toolbars? Are there fingerprints all over your monitor? Cleaning your PC is a bit of regular maintenance that we don’t always think about. Get some canned air for the PC’s vents, use a dry or slightly damp (with water) microfiber cloth for your monitors. Run a program like Malwarebyte’s AntiMalware or CCleaner, and defrag your computer. It might not be good as new afterwards, but it will be a lot closer.
Back Up Your Files
Many people never think to backup their files until the worst happens and you lose access to them. Maybe your hard drive dies, or maybe you get hit with some bad malware, but it’s always better to backup your important files before that happens. Software exists to automatically back things up to a cloud server or a network server, but even copying your important images and documents to a USB drive regularly is a good start. If you don’t have a USB Flash Drive or would like to receive another one for FREE, Appletree MediaWorks is giving them away for our birthday celebration.
That’s right, Appletree MediaWorks is celebrating our birthday by giving away 25 8GB USB drives. The drives are the size and shape of a credit card, fit in a wallet, and have plenty of room to backup and transport documents and images. Take our quiz to help us celebrate, and you could win one of these drives!
Why Labor Unions Need the Internet
People under the age of 30 just don’t reach for the phone book anymore. Instead, they hop online with their smart phone to search with Google. If your union doesn’t have a website, you are missing out on a great opportunity to attract new members.
A regularly updated website linked to social media is an essential part of outreach and communication. Because the Internet allows unions to publish information to their members in real-time, it has become an essential tool for pulling members together in an increasingly vicious political climate. The Internet enables unions to mobilize more effectively than ever before. Labor unions stand to benefit immensely from embracing all that the newest technologies have to offer.
Your Website and Social Media
A website is your public face to prospective members. To have an outdated or utterly absent website is to lose out on both attracting new members and keeping current ones engaged. Modern websites have evolved into hubs of information and interaction, seamlessly utilizing the power of social media. Posts on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and even YouTube help to drive new traffic to and from your website. Once there, web forms and other types of communication help to establish contact with your visitors. Social media is one of the quickest and simplest forms of mass communication.
Websites are an excellent organizing tool as well. Many unions develop a ‘members only’ area that allows for discussion and conversation among members. Some also add private calendars, online dues payment systems, grievance reporting systems, and more. Offering your members the option to interact directly with the union helps to establish good will and solidarity.
Information moves fast – as politicians push anti labor bills through congress, it is up to union organizers to contact their membership in real time so that they can react and show up in solidarity at a moment’s notice. Having immediate access to your membership and to the public is essential. Technology has enabled savvy union organizers to stay on top of this game with impressive results.
The Future of Labor
At a time when hostile political fights have dwindled union membership, it is necessary for union leaders to stay on top of recruitment. The good news is that many younger workers are supportive of labor unions in general. Speaking their language is important. Presently, that language involves the use of social media, search engines, and online videos. Bringing this all together might seem overwhelming, but it is essential for the future of labor.
Appletree MediaWorks and Labor Unions
Appletree MediaWorks is a union company that specializes in union web development, design, and communication. With our wealth of experience, we can assist your union with every step of the online communication process. We even offer training for those not completely comfortable with all aspects of the technology. Contact us today and we can discuss your needs, get your web presence on its feet, and get your union up to where it needs to be. Labor unions need social media.
Union Tools for Websites
Appletree MediaWorks joined Charles Showalter on The Union Edge Talk Radio Show yesterday. Mentioned were some of the custom-built union tools that both the UWUA and P4A use on their websites. The full episode can be streamed from the Appltree Media page. Click “Listen” under the 12/5/2012 heading. Excerpts from the program can also be found below.
Here are some of the topics they discussed:
- Affordable, customizable union-made website packages that include social media integration.
- Social media is an important growth tool for unions – allows you to further your reach and share with other unions.
- Social media is easily updated and can be rapidly shared – this allows news and information to “go viral” – not only putting pressure on companies to resolve union matters faster, but also allows union members to organize quickly and efficiently when time is of the essence.
- Custom union tools for websites.
- Secure Intranets – areas for members and officers to log into, share information, and securely upload and store documents.
- Expense and Payroll Tracking Programs for Unions – including uploading of receipts for audit purposes.
- Member Dues Program – track, bill, and accept payments online for members. This includes custom reports and mail/email ready monthly statements.
- Certification Tracking System – Power for America Training Trust Fund utilizes this system in order to keep track of apprentice training and schooling. Also used by Utility Workers Military Assistance Program in Chicago for instructors to track grades.
- Test Taker Program – new program for P4A and Consumers Energy students to take tests online. Tests are secure, timed, and instructors get detailed results instantly.
- Currently in the works.
- New website for UWUA on WordPress featuring Web 2.0 upgrades.