Reaching out to your target audience with advertising has never been as easy as it is now. With the advent of Google AdWords and now Facebook and Twitter, getting your message out is only a few steps away.
But, how do you choose which service to use? For that answer, we turned to Leticia Lafontaine on United Methodist Communications’ digital marketing team for some professional advice.
When it comes to reaching the average user with your ad, making it easy to select your audience and leveraging your own social connections, Lafontaine says, “The most bang for the buck is really on Facebook.”
Facebook stands far above the rest for effectively distributing the kinds of advertisements the average church is going to be using. The power of Facebook ads come from its unique ability to target people who like your page and their friends. The people who are most likely to respond to your Facebook post, attend an event or care about your message are the friends of the people currently involved in your church.
When you set up your ad, there is a simple option that allows you to select “friends of people who like your page.” For tips on boosting that number, check out our previous MyCom articles on how to launch successful Facebook ads:
- Should your church advertise on Facebook? (part one)
- 7 rules to reach the masses via Facebook (part two)
- How to reach newcomers to your area with Facebook ads
One of Facebook’s other advantages is that it owns Instagram. Once you buy an ad on Facebook, you also can choose for it to appear on Instagram. Lafontaine says that for those who are looking to advertise to a younger generation, Instagram is a no-brainer. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 6 out of 10 online adults in the United States between the age of 18-29 use Instagram.
Twitter has a much smaller number of monthly active users. While Facebook has two billion users, and a rapidly increasing 700 million on Instagram, Twitter comes in at a much smaller 330 million and seems to have hit a plateau in terms of growth. In the end, you have less likelihood of reaching the friends of your congregation members.
In addition, the social connection is lower on Twitter. Whereas people generally use Facebook to connect with people they know in the real world, people use Twitter to follow everyone from Oprah to their favorite news organization. Though that is powerful in some arenas, most churches will find it less helpful for reaching their local community.
There is one exception, according to Lafontaine. Twitter has passionate communities gathered around specific issues and social causes. If you are targeting people concerned about one of those issues, Twitter can be useful. You could target a group who are interested in participating in the local breast cancer awareness walk. Ads could show up for those following any number of hashtags such as #WeWalkAsOne #SpringfieldStrides, etc.
Outside of using Twitter’s search function to do some digging yourself, the best way to find that information is to poll the people you know who are on Twitter. Ask them if they can pay attention and notice whether or not there seems to be interest in a particular subject.
In addition, there are some very helpful tools to help you easily analyze Twitter.
Though Google is not necessarily a player in social media, one of its properties leans in that direction: YouTube. Though Google will not help you boost your message on Facebook or Twitter, if you are using YouTube video as part of your advertising mix, consider AdWords. Not only will it place your videos in the search results on Google, but it will also do so when people go to YouTube and search for content.
Whether you are advertising to a followers of a specific issue on Twitter or reaching out to the friends of your members on Facebook, social media empowers you to target your ads easily. Use these tips to try it for yourself.
When Jeremy and his wife are not playing with their four children, he oversees youth and college ministries and leads the evening worship service at Christ UMC in Mobile, Ala. Jeremy is an author of several books and resources that you can find at JeremyWords.com or follow him on Twitter!