When it comes to planning an event at your church, there are several moving pieces to consider. You have to coordinate all of the details that go into making it a success, collaborate with your team, and then figure out a way to raise awareness about it.
Now, announcing your event in your church’s weekly bulletin or at the end of every sermon are two surefire ways to get your church community involved.
But what about everyone else? How can you raise awareness outside of your immediate church community?
If you guessed social media, you’d be correct!
With social media, you can invite the whole community, instead of just the immediate church community.
In our article, Social Media Platforms: Which Ones Should Your Church Be Using?, we looked at the top social media platforms for churches and even explored the differences between each of them.
We’ll take this information a step further in today’s article and show you exactly how to use social media to raise awareness for your next event.
Step 1: Plan Ahead & Make a Brief Announcement
To make this event a success, you’ll need to plan it as early as possible. The sooner you know the event details— such as the date, time, and location— the better chances of success you’ll have.
This gives your community enough time to mark the event on their calendars, coordinate their schedules, and hopefully, share the details with friends and family.
Once you’ve narrowed down the details, you can make a quick announcement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think of this quick announcement like you would a ‘Save the Date’ for a wedding.
Let your community know that you have an exciting event coming up on that date. You can also use this announcement to briefly mention what the event is by giving them a short teaser.
Here’s an example of what this would look like:
“We’re so excited to announce our upcoming holiday event on December 18th! Keep your schedule open and be on the lookout for more details. We can’t wait to share what we have in store!”
In this example, we mentioned the date and the fact that the event is holiday-themed, but we haven’t said much more. This message also lets people know to keep an eye out for more details.
Step 2: Create Two Event Pages
Now that you’ve narrowed down a date, it’s time to create two event pages: one on your website calendar and one on Facebook.
You may be wondering why you have to do this twice— and that’s a good question.
We want to inform everyone in our community about our event, but not everyone uses Facebook. Many are, but some members prefer platforms such as Twitter and Google+.
Plus, with a Facebook Event page, members have to log in to see the comments and interactions. If you invite a non-Facebook user to your Facebook Event page, they may be hesitant to check it out if they’re required to log in or sign up.
By giving users multiple options, they’ll be more inclined to learn information about your event on their preferred social media platform.
You can think of your church’s website as the hub of your community’s social media wheel, connecting all your members and users from the other social media platform spokes. All social media posts should direct back to here.
We talked about how to create a calendar on your website in this post so we won’t spend too much time on this one. Essentially, you’ll need to create a new event post that lives on your website’s calendar.
This post will include important details such as the date, time, and location, and will a description of the event. Let users know if they need to RSVP by a certain date or budget an admission price.
It’s also helpful to add photos or images to make the event visually appealing.
Whenever you create an event on your website, your site will automatically generate a link that can be shared on platforms such as Twitter and Google+ to welcome those other users.
Next, you’ll want to repeat this process, except this time you’ll be creating a Facebook event page.
Using that link, you’ll create a new page each time your church holds an event, just like you would with your website calendar.
Add important details and images to really make the page stand out. Include your church’s website event link for additional details, such as parking or dress attire, that you don’t want to include on Facebook.
Step 3: Promote Your Event
Once you’ve set up your event pages, you’ll want to share the good news with your community.
First, you can use your Facebook Event page to invite all of your community members who are already connected through Facebook. Encourage them to invite their friends and family to the event and send users to the event page or your website event link to learn more.
Use your website event link on platforms like Twitter or Google+, too.
As for platforms such as Instagram, you’ll want to create a special graphic that points users to your website so they can learn more. Your posts should include a visually appealing image and have a caption that points users to the link in your profile description.
Instagram can be a little tricky since you can only share a website link in your profile description. That’s why it’s a good idea to change your link to the specific event link any time you’re holding an event. This guides users directly to the event page, and if they want to learn more about your church, they’ll already be on your website.
Check out what I mean by looking at the image below. Where this church has their website URL, you’ll want to change yours to the specific event link.
In the early stages of promoting an event, it’s a good idea to post something related to the upcoming event at least once a week. Vary and change these posts up so users don’t see the same information every time.
A good way to mix things up is to share a new detail about the event in between your regular posts. You could release fun details like the name of a certain artist who’ll be performing at the event, or the fact that face painting and games will be available for the kids.
This keeps your members interested and could turn someone who was on the fence about going to your event into an attendee.
As the event gets closer, you’ll want to remind your community members a bit more frequently about the upcoming occasion. You should aim to post around 2–3 times per week. You don’t want to go overboard, but you want everyone to know that the event is right around the corner.
Sprinkle in a few posts that answer questions your community members may have too. Here’s what that might look like:
“We can’t wait to see everyone at our upcoming holiday event! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this post. The countdown is officially on and we’re excited to see you all there!”
Chances are, many of your community members will have the same questions. Posting this publicly will encourage users to learn more and may even help members who are too shy to ask outright.
To increase engagement even more, end some of your posts with a question. For example, you could end your regularly scheduled post with:
“Don’t forget, we encourage you to bring your friends to this event. Who will you be asking to join you for this festive time? Tag a friend to invite them!”
As you can see, there are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you’re promoting your upcoming event on social media. You’ll want to plan ahead, create two event pages, and promote the event as early and as often as possible.
To keep users interested, try not to post the same information too many times. Mixing it up and offering new information will encourage on-the-fence members to become event attendees.