church facebook

Online Church Facebook Page reaches 500,000 Likes!

500K A little more than 4 years ago we launched the Facebook page for CBC Online  (now  I had a very simple strategy:

  1. I invited all of my friends to like the page
  2. I posted over and over and over again asking for the people on the page to visit Online Church

While this is a common practice for church/ministry Facebook pages, our experience was much like everyone else who follows this strategy: it failed.  Few people liked the page and even fewer people clicked the links to go to Online Church.

So we tried something different.  We started ministering to people right there on Facebook.  We began posting Bible verses, song lyrics, sermon quotes, etc.  People responded by liking and sharing those posts.  Facebook responded to this engagement by showing these posts to more people.  More people responded by "Liking" our page.  Well, actually they "Became a Fan" of our page.

I won't lie and tell you that it was really that simple.  We didn't just make this one change and grow to half of a million likes.  We applied significant strategy, utilized Facebook ads, invested significantly in content development, built a team of 1,000+ Facebook community leaders, and more.  I also can't take too much credit as it took me 2 years to grow the page to 100,000 Facebook Likes and our Social Media Manager, Nick Ovalle, has more than doubled the following of the page since he took over leadership of the platform.

So, today we're celebrating a significant milestone in our journey of reaching, teaching, and helping people in Jesus' name on Facebook.  I would love for you to join us in this celebration as we're doing a bunch of giveaways and having a lot of fun.   Check out our Heyo page and join the party!

My encouragement to you when it comes to your Facebook page is to analyze and rethink how you are using this platform.  Is it a marketing tool or a ministry opportunity?  Honestly, it can be both, but it will be a far better marketing tool if you first see it as a ministry opportunity.


Book Tour Questions - Website & Conversation Starters

Questions from Rebecca: How do I make the church's website more relevant...more likely to draw people in?

Do you have a good set of questions that have started good conversations?  Our church has a FaceBook page already.  We are in the process of transformation...

My Response:

Great questions Rebecca!

First, on the website I recommend 3 things: a good design, a simple structure, and clear communication.  You need your website to look good and make a great first impression.  The site needs to be easy to navigate and communicate clearly what you want the visitor to see/read.  The biggest mistake that I see churches making on websites is not having services times and location on the front page.  This is the primary thing that most visitors to a website are searching for.  Make this clear and easy to find (and appealing to attend).

On the conversation starters I recommend starting casual and then going deep.  Here are some good ones that we have found:

Casual: What's the best burger in town? or What football team are you cheering on this weekend?

Personal: What one person has impacted your life more than anyone else?  or What is your favorite childhood memory?

Spiritual: Type 1 word to describe God  or  How can we pray for you today?

I would lean on the Spiritual, but don't hesitate to start casual and then get personal.  I don't think you can ask too many questions on Facebook!


Facebook Ads- How I Started

I love trying new things, especially when it comes to technology!  About 5 years ago I began experimenting with Facebook Ads for our College Ministry with a budget of $5 a day.  I had already found Facebook to be a great ministry tool, but did not realize the hidden opportunity behind ads when it came to ministry.  My perception was that advertising online seemed like it was only for businesses and too expensive for a small ministry.  I was very wrong! At the time I was spending almost $500/month advertising in college newspapers and radio stations with fairly decent success by most standards.  I decided to try an experiment for a month and spend $150 of that budget on Facebook Ads.

I found that I could advertise to individuals in my city between certain ages with specific likes or whatever parameters I could filter through.  I was only charged when someone noticed our ad and they clicked to visit our website.  It didn't take long before we saw immediate impact and literally our ministry grew from 35-75 in just a couple months and then to over 200 over the next year. Our "brand" became recognizable around the city among all college students  and I was spending a fraction of the money than I did on print advertising.  I quickly pulled all other advertising expenditures and fully invested in Facebook ads.

My experience from running local ads 5 years ago has been a springboard to the global ads that I run today.  Facebook Ads have been the primary tool that we have used with CBC Online to reach into regions that would cost us thousands of dollars to minister to previously, but for pennies we can make a ministry connection with people from all over the world instantly.

Over the next couple of weeks I will share what I have learned these past 5 years in using Facebook Ads from reaching local college students to individuals in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the more than 100 other countries that we minister to on a weekly basis through CBC Online.

Have you tried using Facebook Ads yet in your ministry or organization?  What success have you seen?