Church, Customer Stories, Marketing, Social Media

Church marketing strategies to grow your congregation

Tracey Williams, co-pastor at The River Church, shares top church marketing tips on how to grow your congregation in the digital age, through the power of social media.

Customer stories with Tracy Williams

Passionate about spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and educating people about the love of God, Pastor (Dr.) Tracey L. Williams and her husband Pastor Charles Williams, founded The River Church of Pennsylvania in 2019.

During the ensuing three years, Tracey and Charles, along with a leadership team of six individuals and the church’s 35 founding members, have successfully operated and marketed The River Church to reach an audience of thousands globally. This is quite an accomplishment considering that the pandemic started shortly after they opened the doors of their church, resulting in them having to halt in-person services. However, through quick thinking and the deployment of well-thought out marketing strategies, they adapted their church marketing in a way that enabled them to continue to successfully grow their congregation.

We sat down and had an interesting conversation with Tracey about her church, how it started, what church marketing solutions they implemented to keep up with the evolving global situation, and how she used PosterMyWall to promote the church.

Hi Tracey! What inspired you to launch The River Church?

My husband, Pastor Charles and I built and established a 501C3 Non-Profit Organization Present Truth Ministries and Rivers of Life School of Ministries 14 years ago to help spread The Gospel of Jesus Christ, equip Believers through teaching and training about the multifaceted voice of God and community outreach programs. After 11 years of itinerant ministry, we answered God’s calling to Pastor and we planted our first church, The River. We officially launched The River Church, Sunday, January 6, 2019.

1. Post attention-grabbing social media graphics

What was your marketing strategy for the church?

Our marketing strategy for the church is predominantly digital, with a heavy focus on social media – Facebook in particular. We encouraged church-goers, our friends, and family to connect with us through Facebook to keep up-to-date with information about our services, which helped us grow our following. Through regular updates on our Facebook, Instagram Page, Twitter and our website we kept people informed about when services were going to take place, and at what time. 

I always make sure we are sharing 3-5 posts a week on our social platforms so they remain active. Not only do we share updates about regular church services, and special events, we also often post quotes from the bible. This has helped spread the message of God and improved our engagement because it is a message that resonates with our audience. Posts such as these also help start conversations on social media, which is essential when you want to improve engagement and draw more followers to your church.

The church graphics we designed with the help of PosterMyWall for our Facebook page were resized and used on our Instagram profile as well. Resizing saved us valuable time.

2. Make use of live video streaming on Facebook

How did your church marketing strategy shift at the onset of the pandemic?

With some quick-thinking we immediately transitioned from in-person services to hosting our church services through Facebook live streams.

As we’d only been in operation for one year and we honestly didn’t know what to do, so we prayed asking God what we should do? After we prayed, Global United Ministry was established within The River Church. Through this we reached out to other pastors, religious leaders, and churches across the world asking them to join us in using the power of social media to start a tag team prayer.

A tag team prayer is a continuous prayer that goes on from one church to another. We did this through the use of online video streaming. We started a prayer, and as we wrapped up things on our end, a pastor or member from a church in a different country and time zone would continue the prayer. Different churches and congregations from all across the world, including Africa, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and more joined in. We did this for about 3 months, and saw a substantial increase in views of our videos, and engagement with audiences all over the world. We later tackled worldwide issues like Black Lives Matters and a local opioid epidemic in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   

How did Facebook Live allow you to communicate your message to an audience of thousands across the globe?

Facebook Live was a lifesaver for us. It allowed for us to effortlessly hold our services and events digitally, when we weren’t able to do these in person. It also allowed us to reach our full audience, since thanks to the tag team prayer, our congregation now included followers from across the world. We were able to continue to offer our services virtually, help those who came to us, and preach our message.

By holding prayers online, as viewership increased, we saw an increase in new faces popping up in our inbox too, asking for guidance –which opened the way for us to engage with more people. We got to engage with our current congregation, as well as new followers who joined in seeking guidance, asking questions, and joining us in prayer.

3. Use a hybrid approach to marketing – traditional and digital

How did you grow your congregation and boost online engagement?

To ensure attendees at our virtual services, and boost engagement on social media, we posted about our events ahead of time. This both informed the audience, and created some hype. Our efforts included cross-posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our website, using a mix of static images, animations, and video.

We were aware that some congregation members might not be that tech savvy, and that those members wouldn’t check our social media pages regularly, or perhaps wouldn’t even follow us on either platform. To cater to that audience’s needs we sent out the ministry graphics we had designed for social media through text messages and emails. 

After the COVID lockdown ended and we’d returned to somewhat of a new normal, we continued promoting The River Church through flyers and social media. Soon we noticed a change in attendees at the church. We welcomed many new faces, but also missed many old faces who chose not to attend services in-person. Noticing this change, we took inspiration from our hybrid marketing strategy and adapted to a hybrid way of carrying out our events and services. We continued with in-person services and events, but also live streamed these so that members who choose to not attend in person due to health, location, or other concern could still participate. 

4. Design your promotional visuals to stand-out

What does your design process look like on PosterMyWall?

When I use PosterMyWall to create promotional flyers and social media posts, I always make use of the variety of templates available. I select one that stands-out, has clean text, bright colors, and attractive images. I then customize these with details of The River Church and the service we’re looking to promote.

To take these designs up a level, I experimented with adding some element of movement to my church graphics. I added some animation, or a video background. These eye-catching designs have helped attract more people, with many people complimenting how great the graphics look, and how they love the interactive elements in my posts. 

Are there any tips or tricks you could share with people who are new to PosterMyWall?

I would definitely encourage users to add dynamic elements to the graphics they design. That could be adding an audio clip, text animation, or video. Dynamic imagery in a post helps grab the attention of your audience and also helps improve engagement rates as people comment and share with friends and family. 

It’s also always a good idea to play around with the different features and tools to see what works for you, and reflects the vision you are trying to promote. Spend some time getting familiar with what each of the tools can do, and then it’s easy breezy, you’ll be creating professional graphics for your church in minutes!

Thank you very much Tracey. It’s been lovely talking to you, we wish you and The River Church all the best!

Are you new to PosterMyWall? Take a look at some of our stunning templates and fabulous design tools to help you market your church and grow your congregation.