Using Facebook ads to connect with your community

Using Facebook ads to connect with your communityA few weeks ago two of my brothers and I were sitting around a table with my father-in-law. My brothers attend a church plant together in their area and were talking about things their church was trying to reach new people in their community. My father-in-law, a life-long pastor in Texas, shared that the most effective mass communication tool they’ve found to introduce their church to new people was Facebook.

He shared that they used to do things like buy print ads, produce radio spots, and hang flyers posted around town, but the number of people who actually responded to those mediums was very, very low. Facebook ads, however, has proven to be very effective because, as he shared, they can be very specifically targeted to exactly the audience you want to reach.

For example, they do a Pumpkin Festival every fall where they sell pumpkins, have areas setup for families to take pictures with pumpkins, do pumpkin carvings, and even let people pick pumpkins from a pumpkin patch. To promote this event, they run Facebook ads targeted specifically to moms and dads in their town who have young children. The ads are only a few pennies per click and provide hundreds of thousands of page impressions where people see their church’s name and event even if they don’t click the ad.

The response? Hundreds of new families come to their Pumpkin Festival each year as a direct result of the Facebook ad.

When I asked about the retention of those new families who come to the event, my father-in-law said that not many come back to church the next Sunday, but it allows them to shake hands they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to shake. Later, when that family experiences some sort of crisis or life circumstance that drives them to seek spiritual direction, they turn to their church giving the church the opportunity to introduce them to the Lord and their faith community.

Personally, I’ve never run a Facebook ad for an event that our church or youth ministry has hosted, but it would be interesting to hear from some of you all who have. Did you have a experience a similar result by using Facebook ads to connect with unchurched people in your community? Any tips and suggestions for how to run those ads to have maximum impact? Do you promote a landing page on your church’s website or the Facebook event page?

Posted on March 22, 2012

  • We just started a Facebook Ad campaign earlier this week to promote an upcoming Easter Egg Hunt. Incredibly simple to set up and easy to focus on your target audience and geographic area. We will see what the results are in the next 2 weeks.

    • I’d love to hear how it works out for ya. Let us know, if you think of it.

  • Frank Zimmerman

    Thanks for posting this Tim! I recently ran across this idea and share the exact questions you have posted. I am looking forward to reading the responses.

    • Let’s hope someone more knowledgeable than us responds then! :) I could follow-up with my father-in-law on some of these details, as well.

  • For our Launch Service of our new Church Plant, we utilized a FB ad campaign. We had 40,300 people click the ad that directed them to a landing page on our site, 16,000+ people clicked through to our facebook page, and 4,000+ people talked about our church in their status updates that week!

    What was the result…
    90 new people through the front doors that heard about us through Facebook! Out of that, about 45 have stayed.

    Here is the key…Never do marketing that you can’t measure. If you are going to do an ad on facebook, make sure you put on your connect card or event registration, “How did you hear about us?” Otherwise, you may be wasting money!

    • Great stats here. Thanks for sharing them, Craig! Are you free to share how much the campaign cost you?

  • Mdsmith4jc

    I’ve always thought this is a great way to target a specific group of ppl that you are trying to reach. My question is do they see the ads on mobile devices?

    • That’s a good question. I don’t think they do. At least I’ve never seen one.

  • Pastortim

    We used a Facebook ad for a youth event and it works the best out of all things we used. Many people came as a result and it didn’t cost alot at all.

    • Nice! What kind of event was it? Did that lend itself at all to its success? For example, do Facebook ads work better for a lock-in event than they do a Bible study? And did you link your ad to a Facebook event or to a landing page your website for the event?

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