My classes are back in full swing. I taught five last week and will teach six this coming week. I'm regularly interacting with anywhere between 120 and 150 churches in an online class setting and during office hours.
This interaction gives me an opportunity, yes, to teach but more importantly to better understand the challenges churches are facing in this moment and to think creatively in response to them.
The concept of a digital ambassador originally came out of this type of interaction and it's recently gained some traction.
Most of the churches I work with have small staffs and limited resources. They rely heavily on volunteers. In fact, volunteers have sat in on many of my "kick-off calls," attended my classes, and written to me with questions about how to maximize the online visibility of their congregations.
As churches, we assign them tasks as wide-reaching as maintaining the church website, helping with the recording of the virtual service, and greeting guests at the front door. But rarely have I come across a church that has assigned volunteers the task of social media engagement. Occasionally a volunteer may contribute to a church's social media posting but that's not what I'm talking about here.
Churches often ask me why they're not getting more likes on Facebook, for example. As I've explained in past blog posts, they likely have not yet convinced the Facebook algorithm that their followers are interested in the content they post. Facebook will increase organic reach (the number of followers who see your posts without paid advertising) once it sees a rise in engagement—comments, likes, and shares.
I recommend to those churches that they find 3-5 digital ambassadors—individuals who are personally active on social media and who enjoy the use of these platforms.
Ask them to regularly engage with your church's content by liking your posts, commenting on them when appropriate, sharing them from time to time, and even tagging church friends who may be missing what you're publishing.
If you've asked your church members to participate in content creation—writing blog posts, submitting photos, recording a prayer, etc.—these ambassadors can not only contribute themselves but also identify others who may be willing to contribute.
One church I spoke with has what they call "virtual ushers," volunteers who engage in the comments during the virtual worship service with congregants and visitors alike. Another idea is to ask these ambassadors to host virtual watch parties (especially on Facebook) once a month to grow your page's reach.
A digital ambassador's specific tasks will differ depending on your church's needs and the platforms you use. Ultimately, however, their responsibility would be one of engagement with the goals of increased visibility, greater welcoming, and stronger community.
If you like this concept but are having trouble figuring out how a digital ambassador might most benefit your church's digital strategy, never hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to brainstorm with you!