How to Use Social Media for Outreach Events
Large events and holiday celebrations can lead to huge boosts in church attendance, growth, and engagement. But if you’ve ever planned one, you know planning isn’t the hardest part. The menu is set, the band has practiced, the speaker is booked. All that’s left is getting people in the door. Easy enough, right?
Not always. But advertising and marketing are becoming more centralized, and that can help. Social media and the internet mean there are ways to draw people into your church’s events that are relatively easy and extremely cost-effective. As we discuss how to use social media to draw people in for these events, we’ll identify three steps: inform, compel, and invite.
- Start by creating a Facebook event with all the necessary information for your event — date, time, location, etc. Make sure to update the event if there are any changes or additional information. You can also use the event to answer any questions people have asked.
- Keep the information for upcoming events front-and-center on your website where a visitor can find them easily. However, don’t clutter your homepage with details. Draw the viewer in (we’ll talk about that next), then lead them to more details with a “more information” or “for details, click here” call-to-action.
- Create shareable graphics that present all necessary event details in a digestible way. Share these on the event page and your church’s social media. Encourage others to share them as well.
- When advertising and inviting guests to your events, provide more than just logistical details. Pique interest and compel attendees by sharing powerful stories from past events. This can be done through pictures and videos shown in service, on your website, and on social media.
- Make explicit the value your event can bring to potential visitors through testimonies and stories. Can they expect to be spiritually refreshed? Meet new friends? Receive parenting resources? Give real evidence of what people have gained from this event in the past.
- Emphasize the “why” of the event, as in, why should someone take time out of their busy schedule to attend your event? Make the benefits obvious. For example: rather than simply advertising your event as a “Marriage and Family Class,” explain that your event helps strengthen marital bonds and gives practical advice for struggling parents.
- Once you have all the information readily available and organized on a Facebook event, encourage your church members to mark themselves as “going” to the event, then to share and repost it on their own personal Facebook pages. This will help spread the word to a larger audience (and help combat the pesky Facebook algorithm we all love so much)!
- Encourage engagement on social media from church leaders and those with influence in your community. Are you partnering with another organization on this event? Purchasing food from a local catering business? Include them in your posts to enhance visibility for all parties involved.
- Spread the word beyond just social media. Make announcements when appropriate, but first and foremost, get out into your community and share. Invite people face-to-face and make an effort to reduce any barriers to them attending your event.
At the end of the day, remember that while social media can bring people in, genuine community and connection will keep them coming back. And after you’ve had a successful event, don’t forget to follow up!