Facebook advertising is an easily overlooked church marketing strategy. After all, why bother with paid ads when creating a church page is free?
While a free church page and church groups on Facebook are effective, you still have to rely on users searching for your church or others recommending it.
If you want to get your church noticed faster, investing even just a little on Facebook ads could spur the growth you’re looking for, both in church and online.
Facebook Page Reach Is Limited
Even when you start getting followers to your church’s Facebook page, this doesn’t mean they’ll see everything you post. Facebook may be a free to use platform, but the company still wants to make money. Part of the strategy is to limit pages’ reach. As such, page owners must rely solely on followers sharing details or start using Facebook advertising.
Also, as people following more pages, their newsfeeds get more crowded. Facebook attempted to cut out some of the clutter by using an algorithm to determine which posts were most important. This isn’t always the case, but that’s how it works. Mainly, users see more posts from friends, or at least that’s the intention.
In 2016 alone, organic Facebook page reach declined by over 52%. In fact, some pages may only have 2% organic reach now.
To improve your organic reach, you can add a pinned post to your page with the following instructions for your followers:
- Turn on notifications for your church’s page so they see notifications of new posts.
- Choose to see your church’s content first on their newsfeed. They won’t see everything, but they’ll see more.
- Share, comment on and like posts. Active engagement leads to more of a page’s posts showing up in the main newsfeed.
The moral of the story, though, is you’ll need to invest in paid marketing to reach more of the millions of Facebook users.
Ads Go To The Right People
Do you know which people in your city, county or state are Christian? Do you know how many of those Christians are looking for a new church? How many of them have recently moved close to your church?
Facebook lives on demographic information and even the most minute details about users’ lives. After all, users are happy to share nearly every aspect of their life on the platform. Every post they interact with gives Facebook more data about them.
While this may sound kind of creepy, it’s a benefit for your church. Facebook advertising doesn’t just randomly go out to the 1.59 billion daily active users (as of June 2019). Instead, you choose your target demographic.
Facebook then only displays your ads to users who match your criteria. This means your ad campaign is far more effective and your money is well spent as a result.
Ads Are Affordable For All Churches
If you’re a smaller church, you may have already written Facebook advertising off as too expensive. While you may be eligible for free Google ads, it’s important to note that Facebook ads are an affordable option for churches of all sizes.
You can spend as little as $5 on a campaign and still get results. Or, you’re welcome to spend thousands. Facebook ad pricing varies based on your campaign and strategy. The point is, you don’t have to spend much.
We’ve talked before about how much you may want to spend. The main takeaway is to do what’s best for your church. Start small and as your church grows, you can invest more.
Your Local Community Is Already On Facebook
You could spend money on flyers, pamphlets, newspaper ads and so on. Or, you could invest in a marketing strategy that’s more effective – social media.
Go ahead and take a poll during your next service. You’ll see that many, if not most, of your members are already on Facebook. This means most of your local community is also on the platform.
If you’re using Facebook to drive more church growth, you’ll have a better chance of reaching them on Facebook than other methods. For local church marketing, your ads can target just those in your area. Advertise upcoming events, fundraisers and even just Sunday services.
Reach out and interact with your community via Facebook. It’s a low-cost option to bring your community closer together.
It’s Not About Standard Marketing
Many churches balk at the thought of marketing. After all, it sounds like you’re trying to sell something versus teaching and guiding. However, you’re providing a service, which is something you should market.
On the other hand, you don’t have to use standard marketing. While it’s a good idea to use Facebook advertising to promote a major event, you should also use it to engage users with inspiring videos, scripture and blog posts.
You don’t have to sell anything. Instead, just use your ads to engage with Facebook users. Make it about connection and relationship building versus just asking them to come to church or donate to a cause.
As you build a stronger relationship, users are more likely to visit your church or tithe online. If you’re not comfortable with marketing, then don’t. Instead, just spread the word and let people come to your church’s page or website to learn more.
On important thing to remember is people prefer brands (including churches) that want to build relationships versus those who try to hard sell. It’s more friendly and welcoming, which is exactly how you want people to see your church.
Increase New Visitors
Still not sure if Facebook advertising is right for your church? Do you want to increase new visitors? It’s impossible for your members to know everyone in the area, especially in larger cities. Relying upon them to bring in new people all the time won’t work.
Use Facebook ads to target those who may have recently moved to the area or anyone in your area who lists the same denomination as your church or even just lists themselves as Christian. Now, you’ll be able to reach out with every single ad to those who may be looking for a new church home.
It’s a far less intrusive method. Often times, people may feel put on the spot when asked in person. This allows them to keep your church in mind for when it’s most convenient for them to visit. Just giving them that open invitation without any pressure means a lot.
Build An Online Presence
Of course, Facebook advertising doesn’t have to be just about getting new members. Instead, it can also be about improving your online engagement. Maybe you just want a more active Facebook page or more views on your blog posts.
Use ads to promote blog posts that you’re particularly happy about or you think will resonant with the most people. Showcase a video showing your volunteers doing good in the community with call-to-action to help out online.
Your church’s online presence is more important than you might think. While your church might only have room for 200 members, your church’s site and Facebook page aren’t limited. You could be reaching thousands of people with your words and interactions.
For those people, this may be the only church they have for whatever reason. However, if they don’t know your church exists, they may remain lost.
Instead, reach out to those who want to explore their faith further, even if they can only do it online. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to worship from literally anywhere.
Ads Are Easy To Set Up
At first, this might not seem true, but didn’t using social media just to connect with friends seem complicated at first? Now, it’s second nature.
Facebook advertising isn’t complicated to use. Facebook even provides step-by-step instructions for getting started. Ideally, you should choose the Guided option your first time to make sure you don’t miss anything. You go through guided prompts to set up your ad campaigns.
The Quick option is more experienced users, which you’ll be after only a short while. Of course, use whichever method you feel most comfortable with.
When you’re first getting started, read over all the Facebook guidelines for ads first. This will help you better understand the Ad Manager tool and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Improve Your Online Engagement
Facebook advertising doesn’t only affect your church’s Facebook page or church visitors. It has the power to affect your entire online presence, including boosting online engagement.
In fact, the right Facebook ad has the power to turn a quiet blog into a thriving community. The key is letting people know where to go and encouraging them to interact.
Use call-to-action style ads to get users to take action. Perhaps you want them to sign up for your newsletter. If so, tell them to sign up to stay up to date on what’s going on in your church and community. If you have other newsletters, such as one with daily devotionals or Bible studies, promote it.
Drive more traffic to your website or promote various Facebook ministry groups you have. Thanks to these seemingly simple ads, you can create a thriving online community where people share questions, talk about their faith and grow stronger spiritually together.
Create More Organic Marketing
Organic marketing is a dream come true. However, sometimes you have to invest in more traditional marketing first, such as using Facebook advertising.
You could wait for weeks, months or years for people to find your church’s website through search engines. Or, hope enough members share your church’s site or Facebook page to boost engagement.
Or, you could invest in ads initially to promote growth. Google and Facebook both rank sites and pages based on engagement. So, if you only have a handful of people visiting your site, you may not rank that highly, leading to fewer people finding your church.
If you promote your site via Facebook advertising, more people see your church’s site immediately. This leads to more traffic and engagement.
Finally, those numbers add up to boost your rank. Plus, if people are liking what they see, they share details about your church with their friends and family too. An initial investment leads to incredible organic marketing potential.
An often overlooked benefit of Facebook ads is recruiting volunteers. What church couldn’t use a few more volunteers? Let people know your church is in need.
Too often, people think the only way they can give back to the church is by tithing. However, volunteering is just as useful. While funds are a good thing, you still need people to help with daily tasks, events and ministry.
Post ads about the need for volunteers. Showcase all the projects your current volunteers are involved in. Offer ways for volunteers to give as little or as much time as they can, including online. For example, having someone to moderate your church Facebook page is incredibly useful.
Other Churches Are Using Facebook Ads
If you’ve considered Facebook advertising even once, you know other churches have too. Why not use the platform too? Ads have been an effective strategy for churches for years.
It’s no different than running an ad in a local newspaper. Facebook ads just reach more people.
Create Successful Facebook Advertising Campaigns
Of course, the biggest obstacle might be learning how to create successful campaigns. Using the right words, calls-to-action and links take practice. A great start is the Pro Church Tools podcast episode A Proven Facebook Ads Strategy For Smaller Churches.
The most important things to remember with your Facebook strategy include:
- Choose your demographics carefully
- Run multiple campaigns
- Have a set goal
- Have a way to measure results
- Test different ads to see which ones work better
Remember, it’s okay to change your strategy whenever you need to for better results. If one type isn’t getting clicks, then make some tweaks.
Pay attention to any church-based ads you see on your own Facebook account. Would you click them? If not, what would you change to make them more appealing? Get your members involved too to see if the ads you’re creating would appeal to them. If not, find out why and how to make them more effective.
Keep Facebook followers engaged with an active church website. Find out more about our church website creation services and why a dedicated church site developer makes a major difference.