Union Leaders: People Want to Connect With You on Social Media
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The American public wants to know more about labor unions. That’s one of the key takeaways from our upcoming survey on public sentiment toward unions.
As workers continue to make headlines about their organizing victories and collective actions, they’re generating interest in the labor movement. As a result, people are actively seeking out information about unions.
This is good news for labor leaders because it means audiences are receptive to union messaging. The challenge for them is to figure out the right media mix to deliver positive union messages so they can inspire greater support for unions and the labor movement.
While that mix should include email, blogs, traditional media, and newsletters, social media needs to be a top focus.
Why Social Media?
People get their union news from a variety of sources; however, our survey results indicate the top tool they use is social media. And with 82 percent of the American people currently using social media, according to data from Statista, these platforms allow unions to reach wide and diverse audiences.
What makes these tools so powerful from the user perspective? It’s that people can consume content that is relevant to them from people they trust in formats they prefer.
From the union perspective, these tools are powerful because they can be used to shape the public’s perception of unions, notes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 28. This has become a particularly critical task for unions in the current economic climate that has seen pro-union sentiment expand rapidly.
Labor leaders can continue to propel this momentum forward by influencing positive union sentiment through pictures, videos, and even live conversations on social media. They can share union information, celebrate union victories, and communicate union values as a means to engage with people who want to know more about unions. They can also dispel common myths about unions that often dominate the narrative of the labor movement.
The key to making those connections and elevating positive union messaging is tasking union members and leaders with spearheading outreach.
Involve Union Members and Leaders in Outreach on Social Media
Our survey results indicate that people overwhelmingly trust union members and leaders for information about unions. They want to talk to others who have had similar experiences at work and learn how unions have helped their peers address workplace issues.
But Eric Blanc, an assistant professor of labor studies at Rutgers University, notes that there’s a disconnect between organized labor and the public that is leaving people floundering in their efforts to connect with unions. Those involved in the labor movement are best positioned to bring these groups together.
To capitalize on people’s current desire for information, union members and leaders must start reaching out to the public to share facts and combat misinformation about unions. The key to maximizing the reach of pro-union messaging is to establish an active presence on a variety of platforms.
Use Different Social Media Platforms to Reach More People
The possibilities for connecting with people on social media are almost limitless. With so many different platforms and delivery methods, there is opportunity for every union to create the perfect mix for maximizing reach and engagement.
Our previous survey of union members indicates that Facebook is the most popular platform for engagement with unions. But people are looking to connect on other platforms, as well. Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter should be included in any outreach plan.
What’s most important to understand is that people have different content format preferences and messaging expectations on each platform. Before starting outreach efforts, unions should study how the platforms differ and “learn what kind of messages break through the noise,” advises the Oregon AFL-CIO.
With pro-union support growing and public hunger for union information increasing, now is the time for unions to ramp up their communication efforts. A tool like UnionTrack® ENGAGE® keeps members and leaders connected so they can coordinate social outreach.
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