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 of these major events, you know planning isn’t the most challenging part. You’ve set the menu, booked the speaker, and the band is ready. All that’s left is getting people in the door. Easy enough, right?
Only sometimes. However, advertising and marketing continue to become more centralized, which can help. Social media and the internet are relatively easy to use and offer cost-effective ways to draw people into your church’s events. As we discuss using 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’s discussion area to post more details about the event and answer any questions people have asked.
- Keep the information for upcoming events front-and-center on your website where visitors can easily find them. But be careful not to 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 the graphics on the event page and your church’s social media, and encourage others to share them on their social channels.
- When advertising and inviting guests to your events, provide more than logistical details. Pique interest and compel attendees by sharing powerful stories from past events. You can use video, written word, or images to share someone’s story 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 objective 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. Focus on the potential guest, their needs, and what questions (implicitly or explicitly) the person most likely to attend is asking—and how this event answers that need.
- 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 and ask them to share and repost it on their own personal Facebook profiles. Sharing the event with their network of friends 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? Are you purchasing food from a local catering business? Consider tagging them in your posts, adding them as a co-host, or mentioning the partnership in other ways 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 try to reduce barriers to them attending your event.
One last tip. 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!