Your union’s website should be at the centre of your digital strategy. A good website will help bring together the many disparate elements of your online campaigning and provides the bridge between the various social media networks your union may be active on.
There’s no doubt unions should be active on social media. Over eighty percent of Internet users have a social media account. Facebook has over 3.5 billion visitors per month and over 800 million users. LinkedIn has over 50 million visitors per month. YouTube has over 1 billion visitors per month. Twitter has over 100 million visitors per month. Over 40,000 new blogs are created every day. New social media sites are being created every day. Australia is one of the largest per capita users of social media in the world.
People want to connect online with other like-minded people on these popular social media websites. Why wouldn’t your union want to put its website in the middle of these popular online communities?
Just imagine if you could capture the smallest fraction of the web traffic generated by Facebook. What would that do for your union and its campaigns?
Diversify your traffic
I regularly advise that your union’s website should be the hub for your online campaigning and social media efforts. This doesn’t mean however that all of your efforts should be aimed at getting people to leave their social media accounts to visit your site. It is a big deal for someone to leave the “frictionless” environment of Facebook or Twitter to go to another website, so it needs to be worth it. If your union’s website isn’t going to give them a relevant, useful experience, then it can be a mistake.
Remember, the point of social media is engagement with your union. If you can continue to engage potential supporters or members elsewhere, driving them to your website isn’t always a priority. Also remember that your website should contain different elements, such as a blog, to generate interesting content.
For example, you could use your union’s Facebook page to send people to a blog post; your tweet could link to a Facebook event; your email newsletter may direct people to like your Facebook page, and so on.
By diversifying your traffic you’re introducing people to your different social media properties so you can engage them in different ways. Some people like to engage on Facebook while others like to engage on LinkedIn. Other people love to Tweet and engage with people on Twitter. There is no right or wrong answer so you have to test to see where your target audience resides. Engage them where they like to hang out and they’ll be more willing to engage with you.
Remember, go where your members are.
Once you engage with a potential supporter or member on a social media site, you converse and build a relationship. As the trust builds over time, you can introduce your new supporters to your other social media properties and to your website. You should also introduce people to other useful websites and blogs that aren’t necessarily related to your union (e.g. news articles, other union and non-profits’ blogs, etc). This extends your friendship and they trust you more. If you only share your own websites and social media communities then they’ll trust you less.
Approach it from the perspective of creating a long-term relationship and trust. Never try to “sell” your union on social media.