January 2016

Social Media

Apprentice coordinators spend countless hours recruiting new members. They are forever contacting apprentices and JIWs with regard to classes and general training center information. Normally, this is done by posting notices at the training center and union hall and also mailing letters. Business managers also spend time communicating with their membership either by phone calls, email, and/or business letters to keep their membership up to date on what’s happening at the union hall. All very time consuming tasks while many times taking too long to get the information out. 

To battle this some of our coordinators and BMs are using social media as a tool to accomplish these tasks and are discovering great results.

Social media is defined as the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Facebook and Linkedin are two examples of how locals are communicating with current and potential members. 

Local 782 Apprentice Coordinator Robert Sterling stated, “We use a Facebook page to get information out to members for upcoming events as well as reminding apprentices of union meeting times and dates. Social media seems to be the best way to get the word out. We have had several reinstatements of prior members from social media.”

Many coordinators have stated that they use Facebook to share information to members, apprentices and anyone interested in our trade.  It also has been fairly successful in sharing upcoming training, as well as political information. Some training centers have also included openings for applications as well. Others post photographs to showcase some of the training we do as well as broadcast upcoming training and application dates and open houses.

LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. Local 720 Coordinator/Training Instructor Scott Papineau stated, “I am currently using both Facebook and LinkedIn to communicate with both apprentices and journeymen, as well as our signatory contractors. I update our training courses being offered at the local via social media along with our local website training calendar. In many cases I get more hits from the Facebook and LinkedIn posts than those on the website. Social media has also been a great way of updating our contractors of changes to the apprenticeship system and training opportunities for their workers.”

Next time you are in a mall, movie theater, restaurant or any other populated place look around to see how many people have cell phones. Social media is at their fingertips. Whether it is to announce opening for applications, the new training schedule or canceling class or a meeting because of inclement weather social media is a fast and cost-effective way to get the message out. Just like any new tool, as we learn to use it properly we become more effective and efficient at our jobs.