Marketing
May 15, 2021

Should Your Church Outsource Social Media?

Should Your Church Outsource Social Media?

Outsourcing certain areas of your church can bring the time freedom you need.

But it can also cause more work and wasted money if not done properly. 

You have to choose the right companies to work with and the right roles in your social media team to outsource to make it worthwhile.

In this post you will learn the most important things to consider when deciding to outsource your social media so that you don’t end up wasting time and money.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Social Media

First let’s go over the pros and cons of outsourcing social media tasks in general.

These tasks include: design, video, social media management and marketing, photography and copywriting.

Outsourcing Pros 

Outsourcing Pro #1: Cheaper Than Hiring a Full Time or Part Time Staff Member

In some cases, hiring a company to feed you graphics, videos and stock photos can be cheaper than hiring a full time or part time staff member or contract employee. 

You don’t have to pay them benefits or overtime.

You can usually pay a monthly fee and get some resources to get you started.

Outsourcing Pro #2: Easier to Hand it All Over to Someone Else to Handle 

Creating content can be the hardest part of keeping up with your social media presence and current trends.

Outsourcing your church social media can ease your mind because you know you’ll have something to post and some sort of support.

It can be easier to hand it all over to someone, than to try to find volunteers who are good at it.

Outsourcing Cons

Outsourcing Con #1: Less Authentic and Effective

Using a company can cause your social media to feel less authentic because they will never really know your church or be able to talk like your church.

Your community can feel that anyone could have made the posts if it’s too generic. 

Authenticity is key when growing and cultivating your social media following.

This is especially true for businesses because businesses already feel… business-y.

People are looking to connect with real people on social media, which means businesses already have to overcome that stigma. 

Most companies you can outsource to may give you tools that aren’t as effective as they could be. 

For example: a lot of companies give graphics, which are not effective for most churches.

To be effective, you need to test different strategies for your church, which requires more than “plus-and-play” templates or stock video or images. 

You can get stock images and video for free.

Outsourcing Con #2: Money wasted if you don’t have systems to implement internally

Although some outsourcing can work, if you don’t have the systems or people to implement internally, what you are paying for will be a waste.

If you are getting videos created for you for social media, but you don’t have a good system to manage your social media as a whole the videos will not be as effective as they could be. 

You need someone to select great timestamps, write great captions to go with the videos, keep your schedule organized and plan what is coming up.

Pros and Cons of Training Your In-House Social Media Team

Now, let’s compare to the pros and cons of training your own in-house social media team.

In-House Team Cons

In-House Team Con #1: More expensive to hire staff 

You have to pay people more than companies so they can make a living.

Benefits can add up for full time staff. 

You’ll need your staff to manage volunteers and if they don’t work effectively you could be wasting money.

In-House Team Con #2: More work to train your own people

It is more work to train your own people because they probably don’t have a ton of experience.

They also may be volunteers, which requires more time for training and you run the risk of the volunteers being flakey or too much hand-holding to get things done.

In-House Team Con #3: No time to train them and become an expert 

You or your staff do not have the time to train them or become experts yourselves, so how are you supposed to train volunteers to do a great job at social media? 

There are so many tools, apps, programs and new updating coming out all of the time, it’s impossible to stay up on everything when you wear so many hats besides this one.

In-House Team Pros

In-House Team Pro #1: You can be authentic instead of generic  

Even if your volunteers or staff aren’t experienced you can err on the side of being authentic, genuine, and showing who your church is, instead of generic. 

I would choose authentic and messy over generic and polished when it comes to what is most effective on social media.

In-House Team Pro #2: Potential to develop your own people to build a lasting team

Training an in house team is a good way to have a great social media team in the long run. 

Even though it may take more up front work, you will have people who can carry this team and maybe even hire some of them eventually.

In-House Team Pro #3: Building a scalable and reproducible system as your church expands 

If you have an in-house team you’ll need to build scalable and reproducible systems inside your church.

These will help you build the foundation for growth in your communications department.

In-House Team Pro #4: Potential of great volunteers getting involved  

Social media can be a great ministry for some people.

They can learn to connect with others digitally and help them take their next steps at your church. 

Because social media is widely used, you most likely have people in your church who are passionate about it and willing to learn.

If you give them an opportunity to volunteer and grow in social media, you never know where that will take them in serving at your church.

Creating as many volunteer opportunities as possible helps people to take ownership of your church alongside you.  

How to Combine In-House Work and Outsourcing Seamlessly 

There are many pros and cons to both outsourcing and building an in-house social media team.

You can choose which direction to take depending on the size of your church and your budget. 

Most churches do some sort of combination of the two.

Here are three levels your church can choose to take.

Level 1: The Volunteer Run Church

Includes: Part time or full time staff member to direct volunteer run team 

This is what we do.

We have 6 social media volunteers, 2 photographers and 2 designers that are all volunteers.

The photographers and designers both work in that field and graciously volunteer their time for free. 

Level 2:  The Contract Employee Church

Includes: A part time or full time staff member to direct a volunteer team and contract workers 

Hiring contract designers, videographers or photographers is a great way to supplement what you are doing, for a reasonable price.

You can pay per project, instead of an hourly rate.

You can find contract workers on sites like upwork.com, fiver.com, putting an Ad on Craigslist or asking your church community who they know.

Level 3: The Little Bit of Everything Church 

Includes: A part time or full time staff member to direct a volunteer team, contract workers and a social media or marketing type company for churches 

This can get messy. The director needs to make a system and communicate well and give clear projects to everyone involved. 

I recommend a free shared project management system like Asana, Basecamp or Airtable.

Level 4: The Paid Staff Church with Volunteers

Includes: Multiple full time and/or part time staff members who manage all communications with volunteers to help

I recommend always building you volunteer base even if you think you staff can handle the social media work. 

There can be a lot of talent out in your church and it’s important to provide the opportunity for people to use their gifts to serve God.

The Most Important Role to Keep In-House 

In all the levels, the most important social media role to keep in-house is the person you have directing it all.

You need someone dedicated to pulling all the pieces together, someone who is a great project manager and has a grid for most aspects of social media (design, video, copywriting, different platforms).

This can be a part time person (10 hours a week!). It can be done.

This person will hold everything together because there are so many moving parts.

Conclusion 

There are pros and cons to outsourcing and building up an in-house team to run your social media.

I believe to be authentic and effective you need some form of in-house team, even if it is all volunteers willing to learn.

I know it can be hard to find the time to train your team and to keep up with the trends to stay relevant. 

That’s why I write this blog and give out free resources every week to churches so you can use them to train your team.

Ask your whole team to subscribe below and I will send them tips and instructions to use every week. 

Ask them to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for short tips to stay relevant. 

tl;dr 

  • Invest in an in-house volunteer team so you can be effective and authentic on social media. 
  • Don’t rely too much on paid “done-for-you” solutions at the risk of coming across as general and not communicating who you are 
  • Make sure to have one part time or full time staff member dedicated to direct the volunteer team. 
  • Ask your whole team to subscribe below & follow me on Instagram and Facebook so I can help you train them little by little each week 

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