Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Mar
2011
18

HOW TO FACEBOOK: Discover the Power That Social Networking Holds for the Labor Movement



Recently, the creator of We Party Patriots had the honor of giving a presentation to the Building Trades leaders of Massachusetts about the value of Facebook for the labor movement. We have decided to publish a portion of the presentation here as a web resource. If this interests you, you might also consider our HOW TO TWITTER guide, published last year. The We Party Patriots Facebook page is HERE.

HOW TO FACEBOOK

-Why You Should Set Up a Page, Not a Group-

A) Groups are private — This is the old model. While it may be useful for making internal decisions or discussing intra-union issues, private “Groups” on Facebook can be a drain on the precious computer minutes your members have in a day. Transparency is solidarity online, and the lion’s share of your work-related Facebook use should be spent broadcasting and advertising for the organization.

B) Pages are public — This is the new model. A “Page” enables the amplification of your message, allows it to ‘go viral’ and allows any person on the planet to find out what you’re fighting for. You are rallying, demonstrating and protesting 24 hours a day online. You are planting picket signs in cyberspace. You have to out-broadcast your opposition and re-broadcast your supporters. This is how information age tactics are able to force policy’s hand.

-Setting Up Your Page-

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: You have to have a ‘personal Facebook profile’ to set up a “Page” for an organization. When you travel to www.facebook.com and click “Create a Page” at the bottom, it will then ask you to sign in to Facebook or sign up for Facebook. I strongly suggest using the ‘personal profile’ you have been using in your daily life or creating one for your actual self, but if you prefer not to you can create a new one with an alternate email address, an alias, and make that “person” the administrator of your local or council “Page.” Remember, if you are signing up a new profile, make sure to use a birth year of 1980 or earlier so Facebook does not think you are a small child who should not be wandering the ‘Net.

A) Go to www.Facebook.com. On the bottom right click “Create a Page.” Next, click “Company, Organization or Institution.”

B) Choose what “category” the organization falls under. Choose “Organization” if you do not want to classify what you do as Political or otherwise. There are plenty of choices and you can change this later. Fill in the name of your organization (SMWIA 145 or Ironworkers 7, for instance). Be wise with the name. Double check the spelling and think about how your union is most frequently identified. Avoid vagueness such as “Painters 9″ or “Electrical Workers 17.” Search Google for other locals in your trade and see how their pages are set up. You can look at Facebook pages without signing up. Here is a good one to look at as an example:

http://www.facebook.com/ibewlocal11

C) Fill in the information about your organization. You can always add to this and change it later.

D) Upload a picture when given the option. Now, you’re ready to broadcast..

-Post an article-

Before you start making friends, populate your page with articles and posts for a couple of days. This is the main function you’ll use on Facebook, so get the hang of using the tool and worry about interacting next.

Set a goal such as “I’m going to post 5 articles every day” or “I’m going to spend 15 minutes on Facebook before lunch and 15 minutes before I leave the office” to start out. The manner and frequency with which you use the tool will develop naturally.

You’re reading about TOPIC X on the BLANK CITY TIMES website. You think ‘everyone needs to read this article.’ In order to post it to your Facebook page:

A) Highlight and copy the WEBSITE ADDRESS of the article. This is commonly called the URL (yew-are-el) or LINK.

B) Go to your Facebook Page or have it open already in another window.

C) click “Link”

D) Paste the website address into the “Link” field. Click ATTACH. It will appear in the box. If you want to say something about the article or explain what it is about in a sentence or two, type it in the rectangle below. When you are ready to post it, click “Share.” It will now appear on your page. The people who “Like” your page will now see it and can “Share” it, too.

NOTE: There is often a Facebook “SHARE” button at the top or bottom of an article or under a video. Clicking this button can post it to your Facebook page in many cases as well.

PRO-TIP: You can change the headline of any article you post. After pasting the website address into the “Link” field, click the title and type what you want instead in the box. This is particularly handy for the Trades because of the diverse political makeup of the members. It is not always appropriate to have a GOP-bashing headline, or to attack a specific politician, but the information in the article might strongly support your position. You still need people to read it. You can change the headline to something more broadly accessible, less partisan, more engaging or shorter and easier to read.

-Post a video-

Same process as the article. It works with many video sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

PRO-TIP: One of the most useful and under-rated tools on Facebook is the posting of articles to OTHER PEOPLE’S PAGES. You simply travel to their page and click the “Like” button. Now, follow the same steps you did to post an article or video on your own page, and it will appear on their page. Some pages will have settings that disallow your posts. But, that is infrequent. Post things you think that page’s readers might be interested in. Then, imagine doing this to your opponent’s page so all of the people visiting that page have to get your side of the story. It is powerful.

-Share-

On Facebook you have to give to get. Make a habit of clicking SHARE on other people’s posts. This will post their articles on your wall. You will help your people find out about other causes and pages. They will reciprocate.

PRO-TIP: Sometimes writing MUST-WATCH or PLEASE SHARE can be effective on the Internet. If you truly need people to take action, it’s ok sometimes to ask for something specific.

-Building Your Base-

A) Get likes by…LIKING.

Start by going to a page that is already developed, like We Party Patriots or the AFL-CIO page. You can find these pages either by searching in the Facebook search box or by Googling “AFLCIO Facebook” or “We Party Patriots Facebook” etc.

On the left side you see who “Likes” this page. Click “See All” and a box appears with all of the people who like this page. You can now “Like” and “Friend” the people who already have friended and liked the pages you are interested in. The more pages you “Like” and “Friends” you make, the more information will show up in your news feed.

Eventually, you’ll want to reach people who are not in your circle, who are outside of your echo chamber, but that can wait until you have established your identity and committed to using Facebook.

B) Get friends by…FRIENDING.

It is their choice whether to accept your friend request. No harm in asking. You need to get EYEBALLS to your posts and you only ask someone to be your friend once, so it is impossible for them to be annoyed by you. It might feel like you’re asking a lot of people, but it is only once per person. Nobody knows how many people you’re friending and since they’re human, they’ll probably assume they’re the ONLY one :)

NOTE: You can “Like” as many pages as you want, endlessly. But you should limit your “Friend Requests” to 15 per day to avoid being flagged for Spam by Facebook.

C) Use the “Mutual Friends” suggestions in the right margin. This is another case of the tool doing the work for you. Once you have some friends and have “Liked” a bunch of pages, Facebook will suggest to you some people you have mutual friends with. Bob and Tina and Sandy “and 49 others” are friends with Jim? You should probably know Jim, too.

In Social Media, you create-your-own audience. Facebook is a broadcast tool. Some people will tune in to your channel more frequently than others. Some hardly at all. And some will not only tune in, but tell others to tune in by sharing your message with their friends.

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