Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Facebook and Church Advertising for the 21st Century

Ah, the venerable print display ad. I'm thinking specifically of the ones I was forced to place for Christmas and Easter; newspaper ads that drained money from the already shallow pool of finances allocated for communications. 

As a pastoral associate for communications, I hated wasting the money. No creativity, let alone strategic thinking allowed, no integrated communications possible, given the limitations of print. Yes, I'm remembering a time before social media. (Insert shuddering here.)

"Just put up our mass schedule," I was told. 

Poverty, chastity, obedience. Two out of three? The ads went up. 

Absolutely no evidence that anyone ever showed up for those  holy days because of our display ads. Was that even the goal? Who knew? 

I've never been a fan of advertising for churches, but am tempted to revisit it now -- on Facebook. 

Facebook makes it simple to place economical, highly targeted ads and then track their performance. Simple but not necessarily easy to do because all the standard rules of marketing strategy must still be applied: 1) Identify what you're trying to accomplish; 2) Define what constitutes success; and 3) Craft compelling copy.  

Have you given Facebook ads a try for your church? If so, what would you suggest to anyone wanting to get started? Worth the effort? Not? If you're thinking of giving Facebook advertising a try, what do you need to know? 

For some basics, check out these articles by Darby Jones, eMarketing Coordinator at United Methodist Communications: Should your church advertise on Facebook? and 7 rules to reach the masses via Facebook. And while 2009 might seem like yesteryear, Why Should a Church Do Facebook Advertising by Dick Hardy, has some durable tips.

It's Tuesday, let's chat!


Unknown said...

I used to design these beautiful ads for Christmas, Easter and other events that no one - I mean no one - responded to. I worked for newspapers for 13 years, but finally talked the church into not wasting their money. They can't bring themselves to stop the weekly listing of service times, though. Think I will explore the Facebook ads. - Lee Ann

Meredith Gould said...

Oh Lee Ann, I feel your drain. I never won that battle and finally died during the website war.

Unknown said...

Re T2 We've used FB ads for Christmas and Easter plus occasional (maybe 1 per year) other special events. $50 max per campaign (they usually use exactly the amount you specify), pay per click.

In the past I had linked them to our FB page or our website.

For Easter this year I linked it to a FB event describing the services instead (http://www.facebook.com/events/199661286816893/)

According to FB ads stats, for our $50 this past Easter we got:
198,030 impressions (122,238 social impressions)
74 clicks (56 social clicks)
15,452 social reach
17 connections (people who RSVPd to event within 24 hours of viewing ad)

All of those who RSVPd were already associated with our congregation BUT we don't typically get that kind of RSVP rate so I do think it helped create more stories about us on those people's walls etc

Meredith Gould said...

Note: This comment was left by Angela (@mnplatypus). Many thanks, Angela!