3 (Almost) Effortless Ways to Recruit New Church Members with Social Media

priest with laptop

This is a guest blog post by Drew Key.

With almost everyone and their pet rock on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites, places of worship have a huge pool of potential new members that they are largely ignoring. It is easy to understand why most churches don’t effectively market themselves on social media.

One reason is that some churches object to the idea of “marketing” themselves, even though the story of Christ is the most successful viral marketing campaign since time began; Jesus literally split time (B.C./A.D.) after all.

But the main issue churches face by putting themselves out there on social media is time. Someone has to take the time to actually do it. And with budgets already extremely tight, the social media duties usually fall on an unpaid volunteer who normally has other commitments with the church, family, and/or the larger community. But you don’t have to hire a full-time social media specialist to have an impact. Here are some ways you can almost effortlessly market your church.

1. Have your congregation promote the church for you.

A preacher, pastor, or priest has his or her most captive audience on Sunday mornings. One way to get this captive audience to reach out on social media for you is to work a Facebook or Twitter status update into your sermon. At the church I attend, the pastor recently gave a sermon and used social buzzwords which he related to a biblical principle. Your church could do something very similar and actually have all the members of your congregation get out their smartphones and post a biblical status update.

2. Create a Facebook page for your church and get members of the congregation to “Like” it.

There are four key things here. First, you have to create your church’s Facebook page. This is actually really easy to do, just go to this URL to get started: http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php. It’s very easy to do with these step by step instructions.

Second, you have to let your congregation know about the page, so they will “like it You can have it announced during Sunday services and ask your church volunteers to inform all of their Facebook friends.

Finally, you have to put a “Like Box” on your website so that visitors will be shown the faces of people they know that currently “Like” your church. The way the “Like Box” works is that when someone visits your church’s website, they’ll be shown the names and faces of people they know. When they see some of their friends that like your church, they’ll know someone they can talk to about your church if they are considering making a visit.

3. Use Facebook to invite people to events.

Facebook has become the ultimate “meeting” place for like-minded people and friends alike. Facebook enables you to invite all of your friends to an event and set an event time, place, and other event details. The user has the option to select if they are attending, if they might attend, or if they are not attending. This allows the creator of the event to track, communicate, update, and inform invitees on the published event.

In Conclusion

Social media doesn’t have to be hard or cumbersome to take advantage of. Besides your time, it doesn’t cost anything to use in order to reach current or potential members. Even if you don’t want to implement all of these suggestions, take one or two and run with it. I think you’ll notice more people buzzing about your church. The more buzz you get, the more potential members you are reaching.

Drew “SocialMediaMan” Key is a blogger, technical arts director at Calvary Baptist, Dothan and social guru at King Church Furniture, a church furniture manufacturer located in his hometown.

11 Responses to “3 (Almost) Effortless Ways to Recruit New Church Members with Social Media”

  1. PaulSteinbrueck May 24, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Drew, thanks for writing today's post! Great suggestions!

  2. Thanks Paul! Thanks for posting it, the feedback has been good! I'd love to write some more sometime.

  3. Great suggestions!

  4. One facebook tip that's been helpful to us is posting lots of pictures, and tagging the people in the pictures. The greatly increases your exposure. For us, this has been even more important than event invites via facebook. I bring my camera to church anytime anything is happening that's different from the normal schedule. Decorating the Christmas tree? My camera is there. Baptism? Absolutely. Lately I've been taking more video than pictures, but I still think the pictures have been more effective.

    • I like this idea! How do you approach getting permission ; not sure what the position is over photos, do people object? [schools are often made to inform parents not to photograph during school plays, etc, becuase of protecting children]

  5. I tried having a lunch for church members who thought they may be interested in joining. For us, we had just gotten a new director, so part of the letter I sent was encouraging them to come meet our new director and some of the choir members. That way they could become aquainted with section members and not feel so lost at rehearsals. It went over extremely well and our choir loft is full!

  6. Lauren Smith Jun 1, 2012 at 1:19 am

    You make some excellent points here – Facebook especially is a wonderful tool to create engagement, share videos, build a community inside your connect groups or Bible studies, and bring in new members to your church. Author Jason Caston writes about this in his book, The iChurch Method: How to Advance Your Ministry Online, which is a wonderful resource for churches who want to expand their ministry online: http://www.theichurchmethod.com/

  7. Great suggestions Drew and I really like Chris' suggestions about tagging people in pictures. Well done!

  8. It would be great for explorers if you could post some links, eg how to include events with space to reply [next to final paragraph]
    If you do NOT have a church which does the social media bit, or adds biblical updates via their mobiles, but you still want to make contact with all the people you can: how do you run with that? I put a note of our facebook Page, and twitter account, into our local newsletters – and invited Friends on facebook to like our new Page, but so far so slow… 17 likes in 3 months is not fast! More ideas on this please, there will be creative people doing just what I'm trying to do…

  9. abidalilliane Jun 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    You really did an excellent suggestion here, to be honest I really don’t know that these social media sites we are using can be use to recruit church members and many more, I must try this at once, even though I am not from church maybe recruit other people that has the same job like me.

  10. Great article Drew. I completely agree that these will work if managed properly. For all those reading this post, I have personally see many churches that use social media not make a dent in recruiting members, but I have also seen and worked with many church that are doing an amazing job with social media, not only in recruiting members but keeping the existing ones active and involved.

    If you haven't started yet, LIKE some of your favorite church pages and see how they are running their pages.

    The MOST IMPORTANT THING you can do is to keep CONSISTENT.

    All the best!

    Carlo Krouzian http://www.churchgrowthacademy.com