For growth, your union should invest in your website

In Australia, more people are using social media than ever before, but when it comes to actually joining your union , they will still go to your website first.

It’s no secret that social media has become an integral part of our lives, and unions are increasingly using it as a tool to reach out to their members (and should continue to do so).

While it is a great way to engage and interact with members, social media shouldn’t be considered the primary platform for union communications with members or potential members until you have an effective, modern website.

Your union’s website should be seen as the central hub for your union’s activities — this is where people can find out more about their union, contact an organiser or the union’s call centre, get active in a campaign and join your union.

Unfortunately, many unions have outdated websites, leaving members with little information or opportunities to get involved.

Now is the time for unions to invest in a website update. A modern website should be easy to use and visually appealing, with up-to-date information about the union and how members can get involved.

It should also be optimised for search engines, connect to your union’s membership database, have online campaign tools, and make it as easy as possible for non-members to join online.

By investing in a website refresh, unions can ensure that their members have access to all the information they need (e.g. via a member portal — something that the IMIS membership system does), as well as creating a greater sense of community among the membership.

If your union’s website is out of date, make sure you take the necessary steps to bring it into the modern era.

Here are five reasons why you should fix your union’s website before you devote significant time and resources into social media:

1. Branding

Most unions today have come to realise the importance of a modern, user-friendly website to establish their digital presence and promote their offerings. Not only does a website help create a powerful first impression, it also allows organisations to control their branding and deliver consistent messaging across all channels.

Moreover, a website provides an opportunity to customise the member experience, enabling unions to better meet the needs of their members and promote campaigns, organising and industrial priorities.

In contrast, relying on third-party channels like Facebook and Twitter limits you in terms of how much you can customise your presence.

Ultimately, a modern website is essential for any union that wants to grow and have an impact.

2. Control

Having control over your website is invaluable. With the power to edit and modify the code, hosting environment, page count, content and plug-ins, you have the capability to fine-tune your website to support any organising, campaigns or communications you may have.

On Facebook or Twitter, where you can only adjust minor elements such as graphics.

You are also at the mercy of changing social media algorithms. The regular changes on Facebook, or wholesale recent upheaval for Twitter demonstrates the risks of relying primarily on social media. Just two years ago for example, Facebook effectively shut down almost every union Facebook page during a dispute with the Australian Government.

3. Content

Creating content for your union’s website is essential to ensure that your union’s message and campaigns. While leveraging social media platforms to spread the word of your union and its members used to be effective, increasingly social platforms are “pay to play” or de-prioritise content from Pages (vs content from friends or family).

The primary benefit of having your own website is that it gives you control over your content. Having an up-to-date blog or news page on your website helps with SEO rankings and keeps members engaged with new, compelling content. It also makes it far easier for non-members to find you via a Google or search engine search.

Third party sites like Facebook always carry the risk of content being deleted or lost, so having your own website is the most effective way to guarantee that your content will remain intact.

In short, having a presence on third-party sites is important for spreading the word about your union and its campaigns, but it’s essential to maintain a website of your own in order to ensure that your content remains available and searchable.

4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Are you wondering how to drive more traffic to your union website?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the key to increasing the visibility of your union’s website and increasing awareness of your union amongst potential members. Making sure your website meets current usability standards and is properly coded can help you achieve organic, long-term increases in online visitors that you can then target with recruitment messages. (This can get technical very quickly, and may need you to invest in getting specialist developers to do this — it is not something that a communications officer or digital organiser will be easily able to do.)

For unions especially, having an optimised website is vital to ensuring that you’re visible online. With a modern website, you can ensure your content is more visible and finds its way to the top page of search engine results.

At the same time, it’s important to remember that SEO isn’t just about coding, it is also about content that is relevant to your members and potential members. This could include information about rights at work, WHS, professional and career development or industrial campaigns.

5. Analytics

We all know that social networking analytics are still quite limited.

Unions understand that making informed decisions is the key to success, but how can you leverage data-driven insights?

For your website, there are plenty of free options out there. Google Analytics is the main (free) tool that provides valuable insights into a union’s website and online campaigns, allowing them to make better decisions and strengthen their strategy.

Google Analytics has a wide range of features including searcher demographics, content performance, and user experience analytics. With this data, unions can make more informed decisions about their campaigns, target specific audiences more accurately, and design better content for their websites.

Google Analytics also allows unions to track the success of their campaigns by providing detailed tracking reports. This data can be used to optimise campaigns for maximum impact and pinpoint areas where improvements can be made.

Finally, Google Analytics can track online recruitment through your membership form, so you can determine where new online members come from, and what is most effective in getting them to join.

Overall, Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for unions looking to gain meaningful insights into their online activities. With its comprehensive data tracking capabilities, unions can make smart decisions with confidence and maximise your campaigns for success.

Setting up Google Analytics effectively can be a bit technical, so talk with your web agency, or contact the ACTU for assistance.

6. Online recruitment

When it comes to growing your union, there are a few key things you need to have in place in order to draw in potential members and make it easy for them to join online.

One of the most crucial pieces of this puzzle is a simple and intuitive join page or online membership form on your website.

Sure, you can use hard-copy forms and even promote your union on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter (and should do both of these things), but having an easy-to-navigate website with a dedicated online membership form will make all the difference.

Not only does having a high-quality join page help people find and join your union, it’s also incredibly important from an outward-facing perspective. A well-designed and fast-loading join page can give a good impression of your union, and encourage workers to sign up.

Furthermore, a contemporary online membership form means you can run A/B tests to see whether changing elements of the form increases the rate of joining.

No matter how whiz-bang your Facebook or Twitter page is, potential members can’t join through social media. Ultimately, having a good quality online membership form on your website is one of the most important tools for growth that your union has at its disposal – so don’t wait any longer – improve yours today!

If you’re not sure how to go about improving your own customised online join page, don’t worry – contact the ACTU to guide you through the process.

Now, I’m not suggesting you drop social media (quite the opposite — having an effective, engaging social media presence is also essential for union communications).

I’m advocating that your union should invest in a quality, professional and modern website that acts as the central portal to your other online presences and tools — including email, social networking, mobile and so on.

%d bloggers like this: