The whole point of a Facebook page is to get traffic to it so you can spread your message and engage others in spreading it for you. A Facebook page with no fans isn’t really going to achieve your union’s online campaigning goals – just like a campaign website with no visitors isn’t likely to be a success.
Growing the number of fans you have for your union’s Facebook page isn’t a mystery – unions can use the same real-world campaigning and outreach techniques that work in organising, and apply them to social media.
Here’s three tips that may work for you in growing your union’s Facebook page.
1. Ask people to like your page
When you’re campaigning online, use every opportuntity to ask people to like your Facebook page. Send them an email with the explicit purpose of asking your members to “like” your union on Facebook. (If you use an email marketing service like Mailchimp, then it should be able to directly target emails to only members who are already on Facebook.)
Send out tweets from your union’s Twitter account asking your followers to like your union. If your union’s website has a prominent “call to action” area (such as a scrolling image carosel, like the NTEU‘s) then make one of the images a big “like your union on Facebook” message.
Asking people to like your union on Facebook may sound a bit “naff” but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Unions are used to asking non-members to join the union – why not ask members to like the union on Facebook? (Also, don’t forget to get all your organisers and union staff to like your page!)
2. Make your content interesting, relevant
The Facebook secret algorithim – the way it decides what gets put up on everyone’s Facebook news-feed – prioritises content that has more comments and “likes”. By making your page’s updates interesting and encouraging people to comment or like them, you are increasing the likelihood that your union’s updates will appear far and wide.
There’s no shame in asking people to like your status update – although don’t abuse this – and asking questions is more likely to get people to comment. Of course, getting your content mix right can be trial and error. You could consider a mix of content – such as videos, photos and text updates. Photos are especially good as the people in them, such as delegates or activists, may “tag” themselves.
You should also consider adding Facebook “like” buttons to your union’s website or campaign sites. This allows your supporters to promote your website and have it appear in the Facebook news-feed.
3. Reach out to like-minded groups and related pages
No Facebook page is an island, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use your Facebook page to build relationships with like-minded organisations that also have Facebook pages.
For example, if you represent low-paid workers, then the Council of Social Services is a natural group to interact with. You can interact on Facebook using status updates using the “@” symbol. Promoting a related page to your union’s fans can create a sense of reciprocity with the other group who may then promote your page to their fans (although beware that you don’t abuse this). The new Facebook pages also allow you to “act” as your page (rather than your personal profile) – so you can leave comments on other pages.
This can be time consuming, but may be worth it down the line when you really need friends to promote a major event or initiative.