In a recently released Pew Research Center study, it was found that 77% of Americans own a smartphone and 73% have some sort of broadband internet service. Want to hear an even more incredible statistic? Nearly 240 million Americans have a Facebook account. Those stats leave no question that today’s culture is fully immersed in the digital world. And it will only become more so as time goes on. What does this mean for you church? Well, it means that if you haven’t gotten online, you’re getting left behind. And the longer you wait to create a ministry digital outreach strategy for your church, the harder it will be to catch up.
The Rule of Seven
In our first article, “Effective Church Marketing: Using Awareness and Experience to Get Results“, we discussed using the Rule of Seven to create awareness and attract people to your church. The Rule of Seven states that it takes seven “touches” with your chosen audience before they will do what you want. Essentially, the more you are on your audience’s mind, the easier it will be to motivate them.
The best way to accomplish those touches is to utilize multiple outreach methods—create an integrated marketing strategy. This includes tools such as direct mail, invite cards, work of mouth and, of course, social media.
Why is Social Media Important for Your Church?
If you think social media tools like Facebook are limited to teens posting selfies or playing Candy Crush, it’s time to change your mind. Remember, 240 million Americans have a Facebook page. And all 240 million of those people can’t be just teenagers. Facebook is the dominating platform for engaging, sharing and communication between people of every age category and social group. In fact, so many people use it daily that it has become a key part of many business’s advertising strategies. Which means it should be a part of your church outreach strategy. Why? Because just like a business, you adapt your attraction methods to the current trends.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are excellent tools for creating awareness around your church. Through sharing content, photos and events, you keep your church top of mind in your community. Each post is a connection to your audience that reinforces your message. Every share is the chance to spread your message further. And the best part? It’s completely organic. People want to share your content! Facebook gives your church a chance to share the Gospel in the digital world. Show people who you are through photos and stories. By doing so, you’ll create an online presence that can be found by those who are seeking answers about faith, the bible and God.
Tips for Creating Your Ministry Digital Outreach Strategy
Creating a ministry digital outreach strategy might seem a bit intimidating at first. Here are a few tips for creating an online presence with today’s biggest platform, Facebook.
Creating a Page
- Create a public page for your church with the proper address, website, service times, denomination and other important information about your church.
- Upload a high-resolution cover photo (820 x 340) that is interesting and relevant to your church. Use your church logo as your profile picture, not a picture of a person.
- Invite your members to “like” your new page and encourage them to share it in their individual networks.
- Also, take some time to follow other pages, such as local nonprofits/organizations. Those pages will often follow you back, growing your network even more.
- Once you have your page set up, you should begin posting daily. If you find you don’t have the time to devote to curating and sharing content, consider using a daily posting service to support your efforts.
- What to post, what to post? The trick to Facebook is to post inspiring, shareable content. And according to Facebook’s own studies, the best types of posts are videos and photos. This article has some great insights on the dos and don’ts of sharing photos and videos.
- Show off your church! Your photo section should begin to fill with photos of your events, members and staff so that your online visitors get an idea of who you are.
- Share your events and encourage your members to invite their friends and family and share it on their own page.
Don’t let your church get left behind. Create a ministry digital outreach strategy and an online presence. Social media (and other online tools) is a critical part of an integrated marketing strategy. As such, it is also an important part of building awareness and hitting the Rule of Seven goal. By building your online presence, your church will meet people where they are in today’s culture—online.