Technology & Innovation

Getting Your Campaign to Go Viral

Few technological changes have been as disruptive to society like social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and the endless new startups emerging each year have reshaped the ways people organize, communicate, and build relationships. The world of work and labor, like all things, has been impacted by these tools. Using social network technology has plenty of downsides but used effectively, and ensuring user data is protected, these platforms can help win vital labor campaigns.

The Fight for $15, the campaign to secure union rights and a $15/hr wage for millions of workers, is a great example of how to effectively use social media. The effort first launched in New York in 2012 by those working in fast food. By 2015 their organizing efforts had grown into a National movement with hundreds of organizing efforts in cities across the US. This award-winning campaign used social media to amplify their organizing efforts, using Facebook to reach out to and organize prospective supporters and Twitter to amplify their message. Today, largely due to their efforts, there is a national policy conversation on a $15/hr minimum wage. What are some lessons that your Union can apply to your organizing efforts?

  • Be memorable: People are inundated by countless Tweets and Facebook posts. Catching their attention and conveying your message simply is critical. The Fight for $15 is catchy and short, allowing users to easily understand what the effort is about. The organizers were able to turn their campaign into a hashtag, #FightFor15, that went viral.
  • Humanize the fight: Center your effort around the workers leading the fight. Embrace and showcase the human impact of the issue you’re fighting for. Humanizing the fight makes it easy for others to relate to the current struggle and difficult to dismiss.
  • Converting followers into supporters: Engaging with social media is extremely passive. It’s critical to create pathways for followers to engage in more meaningful ways. You can push them to purchase products on your store, sign-up for your newsletter, donate to your campaign, or join the organizing effort. We have plenty of tools at Unionly that help you convert your followers into active and engaged supporters.

The Fight for $15 has been successful in part because it's been able to use social media, along with other technology tools like those offered by Unionly. They used these tools to supplement and amplify their organizing tactics. By doing so they were able to build support for workers and their allies, not only supporting their members but also shaping the discussion on National and State policy.

Academic writing: https://www.etui.org/publications/policy-briefs/european-economic-employment-and-social-policy/the-power-of-social-media-as-a-labour-campaigning-tool-lessons-from-our-walmart-and-the-fight-for-15

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