Facebook ads are consistently one of the most effective ways to reach people in your community—both in terms of results and cost. And if you have experimented with them at all, you likely used them to send people to your website or generate likes for your church’s Facebook page. This is generally a one-way form of communication. But more and more, people are looking for conversation online and a chance to form a connection, not just receive information.
That is why another option that could be of strategic value for ministries is to use Facebook ads to start this kind of dialogue. This is done by selecting the “Traffic” marketing objective and then choosing one of the options under the “Messenger” heading as the destination. When users click on this type of ad, Facebook will create a Messenger conversation between the user and your ministry’s page.
Most of the ad creation process is the same. You have access to all of the same targeting, scheduling, budgeting, and creative options. An extra feature you have access to is the “Message Text” box. Whatever you type here will appear as the first message from you in the conversation Facebook creates. You can use this short block of text to ask a specific question or simply thank them for reaching out.
Before we jump into some examples, there are a couple key things you need to have in place. First, be sure that messaging is turned on for your Facebook page. This can be found by going to your page’s settings, and while on the “General” tab, look at the “Messages” option.
Second, be sure that you or a team of people are ready and able to respond while the ad is running. Anyone with admin, editor, or moderator roles for your Facebook page can send and receive messages as your ministry. Not responding promptly (or at all) will diminish the success of the campaign. Facebook’s “Pages” app—a separate, standalone app—can send you notifications and allow you to respond on mobile.
One last tip: if you are looking to have general conversations, you can have the ad run on any day(s). If you are looking to have a conversation specifically about worship, run your ads later in the week—Thursday through Saturday night or Sunday morning—as most people aren’t thinking about going to church until closer to the weekend.
Some potential applications for this include:
Answering Questions About Worship
You might have a great website with everything you think a new visitor needs to know. But that doesn’t mean everyone has read the whole thing, that it makes sense, or that you have answered every possible question. Being able to answer someone’s specific question not only dispels an unknown that might have kept them away, but it is a personal touch from the church reinforcing that you really do care about them.
Have questions about worship? We have answers!
It is hard to get the family ready and out the door for church — especially if you’re visiting someplace for the first time. Don’t let unanswered questions keep you away this weekend! Message us any question you might have between now and Sunday morning, and we will make sure you get the information you need.
Smiling faces are always a great option for church posts/ads, but make sure they’re actually people from your community – not stock photos. You could also use a video with scenes from worship, a personal invitation from the pastor (with subtitles), or a “what to expect” video.
There are no questions too small or too silly. Whether you’d like information about where to park, what to do with your kids when you get here, or even what to wear (it doesn’t have to be fancy!), we’re here to help. Thanks for reaching out!
Answering Questions About Life Events
Facebook gives you the ability to target audiences based on life events like anniversaries, long distance relationships, engagements, new jobs, and having recently moved. Think about what kinds of questions these life events spur that your church could help answer.
Just moved to ? We’d love to help you get plugged in.
Moving to a new city can be overwhelming. We love this community and want to do everything we can to make it feel like home for you. How can we help you get settled here in ?
Choose imagery that matches the topic you’re targeting. For this example, I might use a photo of a stack of moving boxes, or imagery (photo or video) of iconic landmarks/buildings/signs in your city.
Whether you’re looking for a church to call home, or you want to know who has the best tacos in town, we want to help you get plugged in here in !
Answering the “Big Questions” of Life
Everyone wonders about their purpose and calling. Sometimes things happen in the world that make us question whether a loving God exists. This approach isn’t so much about actually answering these questions via Facebook, but providing a safe place to ask questions may begin to build a relationship of trust.
What is love?
Love is a word that gets thrown around a lot, doesn’t it? Sometimes, it is so full of meaning that we might be scared to even say it. Other times, it seems to lack any meaning at all. So what’s your take? Message us and answer this deceptively tricky question: What is love?
I would consider running this particular campaign in the weeks running up to Valentine’s Day when “love” seems to be everywhere. The tricky part is finding imagery that would communicate love without blending in with all of the other ads featuring flowers, hearts, chocolate, or jewelry. Maybe even just use a bright red background with a white question mark.
What is love? We really want to know what you think! All answers are welcome.
Answering Questions About Faith
Similar to the example above, you could ask people directly for their questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, or the Church. With this campaign, you may get questions you can’t answer off the top of your head. You can always reply “That’s a great question! I might need a day or two to get you a full answer. Is that ok?”
The Bible can be confusing, but we’re here to help!
Churches say that the Bible is the Word of God, but it’s also a historical document written down by humans. And the Bible says that God is love, but it seems like some bad stuff happens in there too. We are a church that is not afraid of questions or doubt. Is there anything you’ve been dying to ask?
For this one, I would look for or take a photo of someone reading a Bible. If you want to take it to the next level, set up audiences ahead of time broken down by gender and/or age. You can design multiple ads that all pull from the same budget, but you can use imagery that matches the demographics of each audience. This way, people only see the version with which they are most likely to connect.
Got questions about the Bible or a specific passage? We don’t have all the answers, but we’d still love to be in conversation with you!
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