I was recently contacted by a pastor who was having a hard time communicating with a group that meets every other month in his region. He’s already done the hard part, which is to get a gathering organized that people are interested in attending. However, the Facebook group that keeps the conversation going isn’t pulling its weight. He’s finding that when he posts, only about 10 percent of group members are actually seeing his posts.
After spending a few minutes learning more about the situation, I made the following recommendations. The central theme was the need to create additional touch points, opening up new channels of communication.
Take Advantage of In-Person Meetings
Thankfully, his group was going to meet again within a week or two. My recommendation was to start collecting more contact information. This means ramping up the sign-in sheet.
- Email Address
- Phone Number (with a box next to it asking “May we text you?”)
You can also add a “Text to Subscribe” number that would allow participants to join your texting list right on the spot.
- Preferred Contact Method (responses here could guide your communication priorities)
What You Can Do with an Email Address
Gathering an email address will give you several options.
- Create a free MailChimp account and add an email newsletter to your communication plan. A simple text-based template will do the trick. You don’t need to go overboard with the design.
- Create a Custom Audience in Facebook Ads Manager. If group members use the same email as the one associated with their Facebook account, you’ll be able to advertise upcoming events and such, targeting only those individuals. It’s a cost-effective approach to ensuring your messages get seen.
What You Can Do with a Phone Number
- You can call the person. It’s true, many mobile devices do still make and take phone calls :-)
- You can text the person. Use a texting service like Remind to create and schedule out texts to your groups. If you have permission to text from your group, you’ll be able to add people’s phone numbers directly into a list.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
The reality is that not everyone in your group frequently uses Facebook, and even if they do, it’s not a sure thing that your messages will get through to them. As you can see, asking for a little more contact information can unlock new lines of communication for your group. Just by enhancing the sign-in sheet, we’ve added an email newsletter, texting service, phone tree, and potential Facebook advertising pipeline.
The next time your group meets in person, put out the new sign-in sheet. You’ll be able to utilize the additional means of communication and ensure that your group stays on the same page and remains encouraged between meetings.
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