By Phil Bowdle
One of the most frequent questions I get about social media for churches is how to run a volunteer based social media team. Reality is, for most churches, social media is too big of a job for one person to handle. So how do we fix that? Through building a volunteer social media dream team.
Volunteer teams don’t develop overnight. They develop through strong leadership and easy on-ramps to get people involved. Here’s a quick overview of key roles on the team and steps for engaging new volunteers in social media.
ROLES ON THE TEAM
- Team Leader
- This is the most important role on the team.
- Could be a staff member or a volunteer.
- Often is the main writer for posts.
- Filter for the direction, strategy and quality.
- Facilitates the scheduling/posting/monitoring of content. We do this throughHootSuite.
- Point person for volunteers and assigns projects to the team.
- Writers: Write creative content to promote, engage and encourage your audience. See strategy for content here.
- Photographers: Tell stories through photos of what’s happening in and through your church.
- Listeners: People that are active on social media and answering questions from other users on the page.
- Designers: Graphics can really enhance your social media posts and profiles. Designers can work with the team through designing Facebook cover photos, post graphics, edit photos, and more.
4 STEPS FOR ENGAGING NEW VOLUNTEERS IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Step One: Recruit
- At West Ridge, we often have some people show interest in serving through our onlinevolunteer page or through visiting our Help Center during services.
- Another great place to find volunteers for social media is on social media! Look around at who is already active and engaged on your page or in your news feed.
- Post about the needs on your church and personal pages along with a basic job description.
Step Two: Interview & Communicate Expectations
Once someone has shown interest in volunteering with social media, it’s time to get to know them and see if it’s a good fit. The two deal breakers here in my experience have been: 1) Do they have the time, dedication and passion to serve consistently, and 2) Do they have the skills necessary to do the job well.
Step Three: Assign A Project
- Establish what the project need and objective is. Give them all the information they need and a completion deadline.
- For writers, we include all of the project details in an info sheet document. This includes things like: resources, ministry contact, general info, writing methods and approaches, strategy, deadline and sample posts. View an example and download a template info sheet.
- As an example, we recently assigned a project for promoting Easter At West Ridge. The assignment was to write 10 different posts promoting the Easter. We attached the info sheet and gave them a deadline of a week. These posts are then submitted to the team leader.
Step Four: Evaluate & Encourage
- The process doesn’t end after they have submitted posts. The main reason we have volunteers write 10+ posts is that it gives us an opportunity to evaluate the posts on what was right, wrong, missing, and confusing. It’s this feedback that will help them improve next time and have an understanding of what you’re looking for.
- Encourage them with what they did great, and THANK THEM for their time and efforts!
- This is also your chance to talk with the volunteer to see if serving in this area will be a good fit for them.
There’s a lot of things that I love about my job as Communications Director at West Ridge. The #1 thing for me is unleashing a passion in volunteers to use the gifts God has given them. I had a chance to see that happen with my friend Julia. I had been overwhelmed trying to handle all of the social media needs myself and praying for the right volunteer to be our social media team leader. After sharing what I was looking for with a co-worker, they introduced me to Julia. Through talking with her, I quickly learned that she had some incredible talents, but didn’t know there was an opportunity to use her love of Facebook and gifts as a writer to serve at the church. Here’s her story: