Who are Your "Influencers"?

Killer Mike Steps Up for YouthBuild.

Your Local has access to more social media influence than you may know.

Let's face it….we live in a social media world. It doesn't take long to be on a job site to see any idle moment occupied with a smartphone. Like it or not, our members and prospects are scrolling non-stop, spending more and more time staring into their phones. It used to be with younger members, apprentices, etc. and now it's everybody. It has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with our members.

The main currency of influence on social media are the Influencers. Even local influencers in your jurisdiction have gathered thousands of followers. The good news is you may have access to more it than you know, and it's not that difficult to use it to your advantage. So how do we take advantage of that for the good of the Local?

Who Do You Know?

One thing to consider…Have you examined your social media followers and those who follow them? Do you know who has social influence within your membership (outside of coming to union meetings or on the jobsite) who can help tell your story? Keep a keen eye out with your younger members, who they follow, what their interests and influences are, and how to use that to our advantage to help tell the story of your Local.

Another thing to consider…who do you (or your members) know outside of the membership or industry entirely who believe in what you stand for? Not necessarily political figures we so frequently look to for 'influence', I'm talking about those people who have followers and influence in your community that you can team up with to tell your story. You'd be surprised on who you know if you keep your ear to the ground and think through your network.

One such example is what Georgia Construction Careers (trade name for the Atlanta North Georgia Building Trades) did under the astute leadership of Business Manager Randy Beall. Randy happened to serve on a mayoral transition team committee in Atlanta with rapper/entertainer/entrepreneur Michael Render, better known as "Killer Mike". Randy struck up a conversation with Mike, and as it turns out Mike has a huge affection for the skilled trades unions and was heavily influenced growing up around union members in his neighborhood.

"I'm from a family of trades people and union guys, so that's what raised me, essentially. The trade guys on my street…that's who had the nice cars, that's who's families were well taken care of." - Killer Mike

He is also passionate about bringing opportunity to underserved communities and fundamentally believes in apprenticeship as a pathway to prosperity. Thanks to Randy's good work, a partnership ensued and Killer Mike has been instrumental in helping to promote "YouthBuild", a pre-apprenticeship program to help at-risk youth learn about the trade unions, and get them ready for a pathway to a career. He was instrumental in not only helping raise money but also being a credible pro-labor voice in the community. It all started with one conversation.

So, how can you use this for the good of your Local? It may be someone who knows someone in your church, on a board, in your political network, in your circle of friends. You never know where your alliances may come from or who you may know who knows someone. Done correctly, it can be a win for both the influencer and a win for the Local.

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