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 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+.1 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 in programs like Hootsuite. 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, contact Appletree MediaWorks, LLC, we’d be happy to talk to you about your organization’s needs.
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].