FamilySearch Communities: Administrator Best Practices
|This article is about an aspect of the Genealogy Research Communities sponsored by FamilySearch.|
As a volunteer administrator for a FamilySearch Genealogy Research Community you are in a position to reach thousands of individuals and provide helpful research resources. There are countless blogs and classes available online which are available to help define best practices for social media. These best practices can change on a regular basis as the tools we use for social media continue to evolve. The following resources and tips will help you stay up to date with this ever changing world.
- Get help from the Genealogy Research Community Admins Facebook group (membership in this group is included with volunteering as a FamilySearch Genealogy Research Community admin)
- Join the Genealogical Society Webmasters Facebook group
- Understand how Facebook and Skype can be used for genealogy
- Follow ✭FACEBOOK Experts & Resources! Interest List on Facebook
The following best practices are divided into the three responsibilities of volunteer administrators:
Responding to questions and posts
- Facilitate the asking of questions by asking questions that spark conversation. Be creative. This may include:
- Welcoming new members to the community
- Themed questions near special holidays or events (Christmas e.g.: Christmas is getting ever nearer and we're thinking of our families. What were some of your ancestors' Christmas traditions? Please share your favorite old Christmas photo and tell us about it.)
- Share an interesting photograph and ask a question (be sure to check for copyright before sharing photos)
- Pay attention to who is helping to answer questions on the page. Recognize them for their efforts by thanking them and making them feel welcome. Identify people in your community who want to reach out and share information. As you notice these people, feel free to ask them to be an administrator. Make sure you give them the information they need to decide. It could be as simple as giving them this link: https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Facebook_and_Skype_Community_Administrators
- Find out what counties/parishes or specific topics your community members are interested in and share resources about those.
- Choose some blogs relevant to your community and follow them. GeneaBloggers lists over 2,500 blogs
- Use a blog reader like Google Reader to keep up on the blog posts that are written, or a Twitter aggregator such as TweetDeck or HootSuite
- Add resources to the FamilySearch Wiki so that there will be a place for these resources to be held
- Consider creating "Mini-lessons" -- little text post snippets that demonstrate how to use specific resources, etc. (example)
- On the Administrator Responsibilities wiki page we learn to reach out to other organizations on Facebook. Now we suggest reaching out to other organizations in person. Let them know they are welcome to post when they have news-worthy things to share. Keep in mind that you are contacting individuals, not organizations--be careful that your contact not be mistaken for official FamilySearch communication. As volunteers we're not trying to build organizational partnerships, but simply to strengthen the grassroots genealogical community.
- You may also want to contact genealogy bloggers, and other genealogists interested in social media, to offer our page as a place for them to share appropriate resources
- Send a personal e-mail invite to friends to join a specific community or one that interests them. Provide a link to the community or the Join a Facebook Research Community page.
- Include a link to the Join a Facebook Research Community page in your e-mail signature. If you usually e-mail people about genealogy it might be useful to list that you are a volunteer for a certain community.
- Encourage community members to share research successes
- Create Facebook events and invite your community members. This will create a more active community and provide a way to share more resources. Some event ideas include:
- Indexing hour
- Q&A sessions (can be held on Skype or another chat tool)
- Research sharing sessions