It’s kind of a hobby I have to listen to podcasts and read books/articles about Main Street marketing (business to consumer) through social media. That’s what we do…market and promote our ministries to and on Main Street USA. We can argue all day that ‘ministry isn’t business’, but there are many best practices in business that can benefit ministry. From 2005 to 2016, the percentage of Americans on at least one social media platform has climbed from 5 percent to 69 percent. Who doesn’t want a piece of that? (Pew Research Center, January 2016)
One easy way to market your ministry is collecting email addresses because email is still king. Do you have a system in place to get and use email addresses? When folks register for events or the basketball program or apply to be volunteers, include a line for email addresses. As tedious as it is, I use the first couple of weeks following VBS and the start of basketball season to update and input email addresses into an excel worksheet started when I first arrived at WC six years ago. Just the email addresses. Larger churches can use Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or other online tools, but for a small to mid-size church, excel still rocks.
At least once every other month I will send an email to that huge email list inviting them to an upcoming event. People expect to get emails once they’ve joined us for something. If someone wants off the email list, they’ll let me know and I oblige quickly. Many are reading emails on their phones, so the email should be short, sweet, and to the point.
This is the email that went out this week:
Let us help you get your student ready for a great school year with Grow Day Camp at Wesley Chapel, Monday-Friday July 24-28 (9-5:30 Mon-Thur; 9-12:30 Fri). For only $135 for the entire week your rising 1st through rising 6th grader can enjoy camp, small groups, archery, and still sleep in their own beds! Register today at http://www.ngumc.org/grow … then plan to join us for the Blessing of the Backpacks at 11am service on Sunday, July 30th! ~ DeDe Reilly, Wesley Chapel UMC, 4495 Sandy Plains Rd, Marietta, 770-993-4919
The next most-often used vehicle for marketing your ministry is Facebook. Most of the Mamas are on Facebook, so it’s a great way to communicate with families. Posting at least once a day is easy and helps your posts appear regularly in their timeline. Schedule it! Most of my families are on Facebook first thing in the morning, so my window of posting needs to be before 8am.
The following content stats about Facebook I found very helpful to me:
- 50% of the posts/content should be information/announcements – get an image and rock out the basics of who, when, where, how to get more info and a registration link. We have found that if we use an ‘outside’ registration link in the Atlanta metro area like Eventbrite, we get more of the community and not just our own church folk.
- 40% should be ‘shared content’ – what do you find interesting that supports what you are trying to do and ‘share’ it. Since what we do in ministry with children is faith formation, I subscribe to several blogs offering parents easy wins to champion for their kids with a faith bent. The blogs I shared this last month included TodaysMama.com, iMom.com, AllProDad.com, Kidzmatter.com, ChurchLeaders.com, Parent Cue. A sentence or two why you think it’s important to share that content let’s folk know why you chose it and sometimes initiates followup conversation.
- 10% should be personality content which gives information about who we are, who you are. This is when we share content about who we are as a denomination, where the nearest voting precinct is to the church, the local community fireworks schedule, last day of school info.
THEN, ask the church staff to ‘LIKE’ everything you put out there and to engage in commenting to help with the algorithms of frequency. Ask your families to ‘SHARE’ upcoming events on their Facebook pages.
Our youth (the best children’s ministry volunteers on the planet!) use Instagram so the experts say to be sure the image there is close up, clear, a little off-center. Colors of the images that are brown, green, and blue cause the eye to linger longer. Steer clear of red and orange images. Think ‘nature’, not ‘fire.’
There are even gender preferences. Guys linger on images with straight edges, lines, and corners. Chicks on the other hand linger on images with curves, drapery, and the impression of movement. I’ll just let that sit there for a bit…
You can post all day on Facebook. It helps the algorithms. Post only once a day on Instagram and let it reflect the story of who you are since it’s more personal. Your peeps will recognize it’s you and won’t just scroll through. My personal story on Instagram has to do with tea and daily reading through the bible. I use WordSwag and Text over Image apps on my phone to market on Instagram which will let me share straight to Facebook and Twitter as well.
I use Twitter when I watch TV to find out if everyone else is thinking the same thing I am, or not. Crazy, I know! And I use Twitter when I’m at a conference, learning event, or to quote folks when I hear good stuff on podcasts.
The best all-in info ebook that is free and can guide you through a strategy and a plan can be found here.
What’s your plan for marketing your ministry next week?
Churches that don’t take social media seriously will soon lose any opportunity to engage emerging generations with the gospel. – from the Definitive Guide To Social Media in the Church (ChurchLeaders.com)