All too often our members don’t know the organization to which they belong. We send them emails and mailings that they delete. We invite them to membership meetings they don’t attend. We post information on our websites which they don’t view.
They do know their co-workers and often friend or follow them on social media. By turning your activist members into brand promoters, your union can expand its reach and engage members you currently are not reaching.
Make it easy for members to share about your organization using a unique hashtag with your organization’s name. #UnionName #UnionNameRally #UnionNameStrong. Encourage staff and activist members to use the designated hashtag for any organizational events. Adding hashtags with photos and updates on Twitter and Facebook will expand your organizations reach with their co-workers.
Analyze Your Reach
Hashtags are searchable and will provide you with additional metrics about your organizational reach. In addition to the Insights section of your Facebook page and Twitter Analytics there are multiple sites that will give you critical data about the reach, impressions and most influential people using your hashtags. Some of these sites require a fee while others provide limited free data. Check out keyhole.co and hashtracking.com for examples.
Acknowledge Your Activists
Sharing, liking, favoriting and retweeting your activist members’ posts and photos on your social media sites will provide positive reinforcement, encouraging them to do it more often.
Give special shout-outs to your most influential members who participate. Using analytics mentioned above will show who these members are and the kind of reach they have to help get your message out.
Put Members in Charge
After analyzing the use of organizational branding in a few events, consider inviting in your most active members to brainstorm other ways they can help spread your organization’s brand in social media.
Do you have some worksites or parts of the state where you reach very few members? Consider making an activist member from that area an organizational promoter tasked with posting, sharing or retweeting something from the organization on a regular basis.
Sometimes the most influential person in a location isn’t an officer or building rep. Use your analytics to find out who the influentials are in your organization. Then recruit them to help build branding awareness.
Video has become one of the most powerful means of communication. Looking for proof of something? Video provides it. So, how can unions use video evidence to further their goals? Here’s one example.
Lobby Day Activism
Many unions hold lobby days at their state legislature for their members. Union members meet with union officers, political directors and lobbyists to learn about key pieces of legislation and the message the union wants to deliver to legislators.
Political directors and lobbyists generally know prior to the lobby day what issues members will be covering and may also have a vote count of legislators on those issues.
By creating teams of member lobbyists, one to speak with their legislator and one to video the conversation on their smartphone, unions can get legislators on the record.
“Senator, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. As your constituent and a member of the union, I want to know if you will be supporting SB 100 which protects my pension.”
Depending on the legislators answer, that video can immediately be uploaded to the Internet (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) and then emailed out to members in that legislators district (e.g. Salsa, Blue State Digital, etc.) asking them to take action.
Legislator Supports: This email and their subsequent contact thanking the legislator will help reinforce their position on the issue.
Subject: Thank Senator Smith for protecting your pension
Senator Smith is supporting SB 100 which will protect your pension. Here’s what Senator Smith had to say.
Contact Senator Smith and thank him for protecting your pension.
Legislator Waffles: This email and their subsequent contact requesting the legislator’s support may help move their position on the issue.
Subject: Tell Senator Smith to support your pension
Senator Smith hasn’t committed to supporting SB 100 which will protect your pension. Here’s what Senator Smith had to say.
Contact Senator Smith today and ask him to support SB 100 and protect your pension.
Legislator Opposes: This email and their subsequent contact requesting the legislator change their position may help move their position on the issue.
Subject: Demand Senator Smith protect your pension
Senator Smith is opposing SB 100 which will protect your pension. Here’s what Senator Smith had to say.
Contact Senator Smith today and demand he support SB 100 and protect your pension.
When a legislator changes their position on the issue it is important to get that information out to members immediately and have them contact those legislators again, especially if their position has changed to a positive one.