LabourStart has had both a Page and Group on Facebook in English for several years, and has groups, pages and other accounts in other languages as well. But growth to the English page, which we use to promote both top stories and our campaigns, has stalled recently.
A year ago, we had 10,078 followers of our main Facebook page in English; by the end of last week, that had risen to just 10,689 — a gain of only 611 new people in a whole year, or less than two per day.
I took two steps to increase our audience on Facebook which has resulted in significant gains for us.
First, I invited 225 of my Facebook friends to like LabourStart’s page.
And second, I purchased an inexpensive Facebook ad to promote the page.
As a result, we’re up to 10,828, a gain of 139 in just 3 days, or an average of 46 new followers per day.
No, not the Olympics. But Euan Gibb has been hard at work for the last year promoting LabourStart to Brazilian trade unionists and he’s produced an impressive report on what’s been accomplished so far.
August is a month when many our readers go on holiday; some unions maintain only skeletal staffs. The only comparable time of year is Christmas, when many union headquarters simply shut down for a week or two. As a result, our campaigns launched at this time of year tend to do rather poorly.
Of our 7 current campaigns, none have more than 6,700 supporters. We usually have at least one with 10,000 or more, but that’s not the case in summer.
The most recent campaign on Ecuador, where the government is trying to break the teachers’ union, is a case in point. This would normally be quite a large campaign, and we would expect many members of teachers’ unions to be signing up. But this is not the case. (And teachers often do get a summer break, which may explain why many of them are not online to respond to the appeal.)
I’d like your help to promote this campaign — which is available in 13 languages — and to help bring it up from its current 5,104 supporters to a more respectable number. How do we do this? Here are some ideas:
If you know anyone in the teachers’ union in your country or region, can you please write directly to them, sending a personal email encouraging them to get involved and sign up their members?
Can you share the campaign’s URL – http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=3156 – in an email message to your trade union contacts, including those who are not teachers? This is a major violation of workers rights and should be the concern of workers everywhere.
If you have an account on Facebook, can you post that link, telling people that you supported this campaign and encouraging them to do the same?
If you are fluent in a language which is NOT one of the 13 this campaign appears in, can you help us translate the campaign and mass mailing? We are missing translations, for example, into Dutch, Finnish, Korean, Japanese, Arabic and Chinese and yet we have mailing lists in those languages, with thousands of names of trade unionists who would support this campaign if they only knew about it.
Finally, can you print out the campaign page and a numbered list, and ask people at meetings if they would support the campaign? If you get a list of people who support it, please send us their names and email addresses (ideally in a plain text file) and do indicate which language they speak, so we can add them to the correct mailing list.
I know that our volunteer correspondents trawl the net every day and find over 200 labour news stories every day, which is amazing. Many of them are already familiar to people who follow the news, but we add value by offering comprehensive coverage of stories that otherwise get little play.
But this story is exactly the sort of thing our readers won’t normally come across, that’s not being talked about on the traditional left and labour websites, and yet is the classic example of a labour news story.
Thanks to our correspondent Andrew Casey for finding it!
Nearly four months after it was launched, yesterday we closed down our campaign in support of Uzbek human rights defender Uktam Pardaev. The campaign, which ran in 15 languages, had the support of 10,474 trade unionists. It was our largest current campaign and one of the rare ones to break the 10,000 mark. We are currently waiting to hear what effect, if any, it had on the ground.
All the remaining campaigns have fewer supporters than these three.
So, how do we get campaigns to regularly have 10,000 or more supporters? Part of it has to do with the campaigns themselves. Usually campaigns that focus on extreme violations of workers’ rights (such as the case of Pardaev in Uzbekistan) tend to attract more supporters than campaigns which focus on bread-and-butter issues such as disputes over collective bargaining and union recognition. Nevertheless those campaigns, while not as popular, sometimes have a great effect on the ground.
I spent the last couple of weeks in the United States, mostly attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, I managed to do a few LabourStart tasks:
Following the abortive military coup and the increase of repression, I contacted our comrades in Turkey as well as a couple of global union federations about a campaign. So far, there has not been any interest.
DISK did issue a statement, which we publicized widely. We’ve also given extensive publicity to statements issued by global unions about the situation in Turkey.
A request came in for another Turkey campaign, unrelated to the coup. However, it appears to be an internal union dispute, so we will not pursue this.
I followed up with the International Federation of Journalists, which has launched an online effort in support of Turkish journalists, and they are considering working with us on a campaign.
I sent out the campaign mailing in additional languages. I also added a link to the LabourRadio interview. I did a followup email to English list; the campaign had 4,289 supporters; the follow-up mailing went out to 74,008 people. As a result, the campaign now has 5,341, a gain of over 1,000 people. It remains, however, a small campaign.
At the request of BWI, we’ve launched another campaign in support of forestry workers in Malaysia. It has 3,367 supporters as of today and appears in 9 languages with more coming. Our mailing also promoted the IUF’s current campaign on India, which has received a boost due to our effort. I publicized this campaign on Facebook and Twitter and sent out mailings promoting it in a number of languages.
As three months have now passed, I’d asked for permission to close this down. It’s our largest current campaign with well over 10,000 supporters.
I offered LabourStart’s help with a Philadelphia airport workers campaign. The strike however was settled on the eve of the Democratic Convention.
I’ve informed the Workers Independent News Service that I’ll not be submitting additional “Working World” broadcasts as I did for several months this year.