Hire a Social Media Intern

I need to warn readers that this post contains a dirty word (at least if you’re a student or teacher): school! That’s right, for many students all across the country, the end of summer is in sight. It’s still off in the distance, but they know it’s looming.

So maybe you took my advice in my post about how summertime = social media time. But if you took an honest look at your church budget, and don’t think it’s possible to spend any money on outsourcing social media consulting, there may be another way to whip your church’s social media presence in shape before the end of the summer. And if that goes really well, you might be able to continue it throughout the school year.

What I’m referring to is hiring a social media intern at your church. Here’s how you could go about doing this:

  1. Start with students in your youth group or college ministry you know are home for the summer. Create an ad and circulate it only internally saying that you’re looking for someone with tech savvy who has an interest in pursuing a college major or career in internet marketing, advertising, PR, writing, computer science, business, or even in ministry :). It’s up to your church’s budget whether or not you are able to offer a small stipend. Either way, the experience gained (and the ability to list it as an accomplishment on their resume) should be the more valuable piece than actual income. And if you’re home town youth summer job market is anything like mine, going in to the church office on a regular basis, getting a sense of the work world, and contributing meaningfully to the life and ministry of your church sure beats sitting on the couch or playing on the internet all day, which is many students’ only other option. Of course, if students are in need of community service hours, this is another great fun way for them to earn those.
  2. Focus on 3 areas in the internship: the church website, Facebook, and Twitter. As I’ve said recently, if your church hasn’t updated its website lately (and I mean totally revamped, not just adding new content or changing a few things), improving your church website should be priority #1. If you have two interns, one who is more interested in web design and graphic design, and one who is more interested in the advertising and marketing side – great! You can have them working simultaneously. Just don’t think that “all you need to do” is work on social media. Check out my Facebook and Twitter post categories for more information about tips on using those social media platforms at your church. If things are already going well with those, have them start writing blog posts for your church’s blog.
  3. Have them read online resources and look at other church websites and social media accounts for tips and ideas. There are a plethora of online resources for learning how to improve your website and use social media well and effectively. Send them to my blog and have them just start reading through my posts for ideas and tips. Check out the blogs in my blogroll, too, for more helpful tips. And see what the biggest and most effective church social media campaigns out there are doing, and think of how you can scale it and personalize it for your church.
As long as your interns are careful about what they post (they should clear things with you in the beginning until they get a feel for what is and is not appropriate to post) then everyone will win, and you’ll have your social media presence rolling in time for the fall busy season.
Those three things are huge, and if you’re able to get them at least started and beginning to gain momentum, you’re in a much better place than were before! And when school comes around, meet with the student(s) who worked as your interns and evaluate their progress. If they don’t have time to continue working on this during the school year, that’s fine. Write them a really great recommendation listing all the things they accomplished (which the interns should be responsible for keeping track of). However, if they can continue on during the school year, consider ways to find room in your budget to bring them on as a part time intern.
What other ideas do you have for hiring social media interns at your church?