Use your union’s Facebook page to build your email list

Facebook is a tremendous communications tool for unions – especially white-collar unions – and with only a small amount of technical know-how, it can also be super-charged for organising and campaigning.

[box border=”full”]UPDATE: There have been big changes to Facebook since this post was written, so check out my more recent posts on Facebook, here and here.[/box]

If you haven’t already, check my earlier articles about unions using Facebook: Best practice use of Facebook for unions and Using Facebook as an organising tool.

Many unions now sporting a Facebook Group, Profile or Page. What few unions know however is that Facebook allows you to add HTML into a Page to embed mailing list applications.

Build your union’s email list with Facebook

There is no doubt that Facebook is an essential place for unions to be present. With over 100 million monthly users in the USA alone, there is little point for unions to try to recreate their own social networking site (although unions should of course be aware that different demographics use different sites). Many union members and potential members are already regular users of Facebook.

Similarly, email is the most cost-effective means to reach large numbers of people – whether they are members, supporters, non-members and the general community.

The screenshot above is from the Creative Unions Facebook page. With only around an hours worth of fiddling, we were able to add a sign up form from our MailChimp account, with a nifty little graphic. This means that anyone who fills out the form will be automatically added to our MailChimp database.

By no means are we the first to do this. The SEIU Facebook page has a splash sign up form – presumably attached to whatever email service provider they use.

Facebook fans can be passionate fans of their union. Facebook allows fans to easily interact with your union – through the “like” feature or comments. By cultivating these fans, you can build a group of passionate online advocates. By keeping a regular stream of content, events and activities for your fans, you can keep them engaged, and build relationships with them. Facebook users are far more likely to use the “like” function than leave a comment – so it’s a good idea to treat comments like you would an email.

By adding an online email sign up form to your Facebook page, you can start to turn your Facebook fans into real campaign assets. While many unions will already have email addresses for members, the Facebook page can attract supporters and non-members as well. These are crucial groups to have contact information for.

Facebook pages are also easy to promote online. Once a person becomes a fan, it is far easier to encourage them to sign up for emails than if they had no other contact with your union.


There are two great tutorials on how to set up an email sign up form on your Facebook page. The MailChimp one is obviously focused on how to add a MailChimp form, but the theory is the same.

Note: this only works for Facebook pages. It does not work (yet) for groups or profiles. If your union does not yet have a Facebook page, I suggest you set one up as soon as possible.

MailChimp: Adding a Newsletter Subscribe Form to Your Facebook Fan Page

Return on Subscriber: Add a Newsletter Opt-In Box to your Facebook Page

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