Church Marketing 101: Become a Facebook Power User
There are a ton of social media channels that exist and new ones are sprouting up every day, but the end all be all is the behemoth we know as Facebook and Instagram. Currently, Facebook has roughly 2.06 billion users worldwide, Instagram with approximately 700 million active users every month.
Platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter and others have huge user bases as well, but the flexibility and powerful marketing features that Facebook is equipping users with has paved a way for church marketers and church leaders to get their message in front of their audience in the most effective way possible.
Church leaders and volunteers have an incredible opportunity to help lead out and strategize their church's online marketing campaigns by becoming better users of Facebook.
This isn't to say that a volunteer can replace the resources or knowledge of an agency - if you want professional results, trust and partner with an agency to help you get there - but rather, for smaller projects, maintaining your online presence and supporting your church's efforts using social media.
Becoming a Facebook Power User also means that you are able to vet the people who you plan on working with and bring your valuable insight to the strategy being developed.
It might take some time, some practice and some studying, but becoming a Facebook Power User is not impossible and with a little bit of sweat equity you can start developing, launching, executing and measuring your own campaigns!
Let's get started - the first step is to...
Setup your Facebook Pixel
If you have a website or blog, you need to have your Facebook Pixel setup. Having Facebook Pixel setup on your website or blog is as essential as setting up Google Analytics - it's just a must!
Not only you can see incredible insights on how your audience behaves outside of Facebook, but you can retarget the ones who interact with your content more often.
This is excellent for a number of reasons - that's pretty obvious - but often times church marketing leaders will miss this crucial step in their strategy and go months, dare I say, years without having any of this information.
Don't miss this step, setup your Facebook Pixel.
And here is the kind of information you can get from having it live...
Complete this step before going ANY FURTHER! (Just trust me on this)
Explore Your Facebook Page's Insights
By default, Facebook provides Page Administrators (people who own or operate a Facebook Page) a ton of insight into how the page is performing and audience reach at a granular level. With Facebook Page Insights you can not only see how far your Facebook Page reaches, but also when your audience is the most engaged, what kinds of content they like the most and more.
Your Facebook's Page Summary dashboard for example provides a bird's eye view on what is going on with your Facebook page. You can see how many Actions, Page views and Page Likes are happening as well as how far your posts are getting to your audience (Post Reach).
From the insights I can see when my audience is the most active, what post types they are most engaged with, and which of my posts they interacted with the most organically vs. paid.
Even with a quick glance, you can see how powerful looking at this information can be. Making content and posting it without any idea of what your audience is responsive to can result in lost time and energy, not to mention money if you're spending money on content creation.
Discover your Audience using Insights
Knowing your audience is one of the most important things you can know as a leader in your organization. Whether you are looking to nurture your current audience or reach new people to bring them into your organization or get your message in front of them, you need to know them and understand them intimately.
Before I start any campaign, whether social media marketing or not, I always do as much research as I possibly can so I can understand who I am speaking to and what they need to hear.
Using Facebook's Audience Insights tool, you can do just that. Their incredible suite of features allow you to do a deep dive into your audience with powerful information about;
- Audience demographics
- Household income
- Employment status
- Device usage
- Spending habits
- Facebook advertiser/admin info.
There are literally hundreds of different ways that you can research your audience using Audience Insights - you can even see what pages your audience likes more than others, giving you incredible control of how you market to them.
'Do' use Ad Manager - 'Don't' Boost
Let me clear this up, using Facebook Boost isn't a bad thing and can actually be a great tool. However, that tool is too often a crutch to Facebook Page Admins looking to pump out a quick advertisement to get results or at least the illusion of results.
If you want to launch a Facebook Ad Campaign, start with the Ad Manager, not with boosting a single post.
Boosting a post can have a lot of advantages if your content is performing well, but if you want to have a strategic approach to how you spend your advertising dollars, setting up a Campaign, Ad Set and Advertisement within Ad Manager is your best bet.
First, some basics on boosting...
When you boost you are limited to the audience (unless you are intentional about setting one up) the placements you can use (more about that in the next point) and the content that you can promote.
If you ever boost a post and then look in Ad Manager you will also notice that it is linear once it is setup: Campaign, Ad Set and Ad are all the same thing, a straight shot all the way through.
Edit your Placements
With Facebook Ads you can customize where your advertisements will appear to your end-user.
For example, you can choose to only display your advertisement on your audience's Newsfeed and Sidebar, or even limit it to the 'Audience Network' that Facebook makes available.
You can also exclusively limit your advertisement to Instagram or an Instagram Story even - really there are a ton of different options and customizations available that you can use to get your message in front of your audience.
Placements are often one of the most overlooked customizations that Facebook Ads have available, but can significantly impact how your advertisement appears to your audience and interacts with your brand.
Facebook also recently announced that their Audience Network is expanding and customization options exist for users looking to Exclude Audience Network members or specific categories that they don't want their advertisements appearing on.
Here is a quick breakdown of the different Placement options
- Feeds: These are your most common placements that you are familiar with and still some of the most effective ones. This placement will put your advertisement directly in your audience's newsfeed. While these are some of the most effective placements, they can also be skipped over very easily as users are scrolling their timeline.
- In-Stream Videos: These are the equivalent of video advertisements. When someone is watching a video on Facebook and an advertisement cues up, that is your advertisement that will be played. If you have ever used YouTube, this works similarly.
- Right Column: Similar to the 'Feeds' placement, this will put your ads in front of your audience in their newsfeed area in the right sidebar. Unlike the newsfeed area, the right sidebar is sticky and will follow your audience in the case that they scroll down the page. The placement itself is much smaller however and for me (historically) has not performed as well as the newsfeed placement.
- Suggested Videos: Based on the preferences set up in your Audience section, Facebook will suggest your video content to your audience through the videos that they are already watching. If your audience is engaged with content already and what you are bringing is great quality content that connects with them, they will watch your video based on Facebook's suggestion. I've seen video suggestions perform phenomenally well with the right budget and creative.
- Instagram Feed: You can place your advertisement directly in your audience's Instagram feed. This is similar to the Facebook Feeds option listed above. Each advertisement has the option for a Call to Action button as well, though it is not required. This is great for getting engagement for younger audiences who are frequent on mobile devices.
- Instagram Stories: The Stories feature on Instagram is relatively new, showing portrait styled videos and images similar to Snapchat. Facebook allows you to place advertisements directly into Instagram Stories - these have performed incredibly well for me in the past. It's not uncommon for a campaign to have .33 to .60 cents a click with low bounce rates and long session times (based on the website). Instagram and Facebook stories could be huge for engagement, don't miss the section below where I cover that in more detail.
- Native, Banner and Interstitial: These ads are often used within mobile applications and can be extremely powerful if leveraged correctly. I have never had the pleasure of launching a campaign that was aggressive with these types of advertisements, but in a nutshell - banner ads display a banner with a call to action button, native ads are typically rectangle ads that occupy space within an application screen and interstitial ads are full screen ads that cover the entire applications screen.
- Audience Network In-Stream Videos: This is the same as Facebook's option except within their Audience Network. If someone isn't watching videos on Facebook's platform directly, you can still advertise to them if they are on an affiliate network, which is great.
- Rewarded Videos: If you have ever played a game on a phone or mobile device, it's likely that you have seen a Rewarded Video. These are video advertisements that give users in-app purchases or premiums once they finish the advertisement. This is a great way to guarantee that your audience is actually watching your advertisement all the way through, although, that is no indication (truly) of engagement, these ads are great for brand awareness and remarketing/retargeting.
- Messenger Home: This placement puts your advertisements directly in front of your audience members who use Messenger. Messenger has now (mostly) become it's own standalone application with a unique newsfeed with content tailored for Messenger users. This means that a user on Messenger is not guaranteed to see the same content or the same advertisements as on their Facebook account. Users behave differently on Messenger than other apps as well, which is important to know and consider when developing your campaign.
- Sponsored Messages: This placement allows you to send advertisements directly to audience members who you have already engaged with on Facebook Messenger with previously. This is a great tool that you can leverage and keep conversations open and
Promote on Instagram
While I say this with a grain of salt, not knowing every single market and industry, the fact still remains for many campaigns - Promoting on Instagram is a must for your campaign, especially if you're using images and video.
I can cite countless examples where I've had the exact same image content on both Instagram and Facebook, and without a doubt Instagram performs much better with a smaller audience than Facebook. Considering that Facebook is becoming increasingly strict with how they show content to their audiences now.
In the example above, we can see an almost 2000% better performance on Instagram when compared to Facebook for the exact same content. It's also worth noting that the Facebook page for this account has 17k+ 'Fans' and on Instagram there are roughly 3k+ followers.
Instagram has about 17% of followers that the Facebook page has, yet it performs astronomically better.
This isn't an uncommon thing - skipping out on Instagram could cost you valuable traffic and engagement if not done correctly.
Measure Performance (Daily)
Something that is often forgotten, even with successful campaigns, is to measure your campaign's success (or failure) on a daily basis, gauging how things are performing.
If you are aware of what is performing well and what isn't, you can improve on the areas that are giving you the most value while changing your strategy or approach on the things that aren't.
Here are some simple questions that you can ask and some basic formulas you can use to see how your posts are performing and how your advertisements are performing (these are subjective based on my experience, so take it with a grain of salt):
- What types of content are performing the best? (Insights -> Posts -> Post Type)
- What time of day are my users/audience members most active? (Insights -> Posts)
- Are we getting or losing 'Likes' (Insights -> People -> Where Your Page Likes Happened)
- What posts get the most 'Reactions', 'Comments' and 'Shares'?
- How are the responses to my content? Positive, negative?
- What is my Campaign Objective? (There are a number of different objectives that you can choose from)
- What are my Key Performance Indicators? (Clicks, Cost Per Click, Click Through Rate, Reach, etc.)
- Which one of my Ad Sets is performing best?
- Which one of my Advertisements is performing best?
- What is my average Cost per Click?
- What is my Click Through Rate?
- What is my Event Response cost? (For events only)
- What is my Average View Time? (Videos only)
- How should I adjust my budget? More money, less money?
Evaluate and Optimize (Repeat)
This is the shortest and most straight-forward point that I can make - constantly watch what you are doing and find ways to do it better.
Use data to drive your decision making but allow your instincts to have their place in the scheme of strategy - your gut feeling shouldn't be entirely discounted and the data will rarely give you 100% of a reason to do something.
What do you currently use Facebook for?
Let me know on Twitter at @thedigitalpew