This is how we turn likes into brand loyalists.

“I need a Facebook page. Everyone says that I need to be on Facebook.”

I hear this at least once a week from clients, friends, family members, and new acquaintances that have just found out what we do here at AM. Generally it’s said with an air of confusion, resignation, or even exasperation. They don’t understand why they need a Facebook page for their organization or ministry and they’re not sure what they are going to do with it if they do set one up.

The confusion is understandable, really. According to the latest report by the Pew Research Internet Project, 75% of online american adults use at least one social media network – and 71% are using Facebook so the chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re familiar with Facebook on a personal, individual level. As individuals, we use Facebook to keep up with friends from school, to see vacation pictures from family members, to discuss television shows, movies, or books, to know what’s happening in the community around us, maybe to engage in conversation inside of a group that shares our interests, etc. Why would a ministry or nonprofit organization need to do any of that?

The answer can be summed up in two words: Permission. Marketing.

Permission marketing is one of the most powerful and underutilized tools in a church’s marketing toolbox and – the crazy thing is – you’re pretty much engaged in it already. When you “like” a page on Facebook, sign up for email updates, or follow someone on Twitter, you’re engaging in permission marketing. You’re saying to that brand, “I like you enough that I’m going to give you permission to tell me more about yourself. I’m giving you permission to market to me directly.”

From an audience/donor perspective, this makes perfect sense. We’re all tired of getting spammed with information we didn’t ask for and information that we don’t want. What we really want is to hear about things that we actually care about.

  • If I’ve been visiting a church, I want to know more about opportunities  to get involved in the congregation.
  • If I care about the mission of a particular ministry or non-profit, I want to be kept up to date on their needs, successes, and current activities.

Think about what this means from the perspective of your organization, for a moment…

  • If I’m a non-profit, I can market to people who already identify with my mission and who are, therefore, much more likely to become donors or to increase their donation in response to a need.
  • If I’m a church, I want to bring new believers into our church family and keep them engaged and informed about what we’re doing as a church and how they can get involved.

When you engage someone who is already interested in you, you’re essentially sowing seeds in fertile soil. You can be fairly sure that your efforts are going to yield results.

But the power of permission marketing goes beyond simply engaging an interested audience. Permission marketing gives you access to people who can, with a little nurturing and some love, be converted from fans of your brand to brand evangelists – people who not only love your ministry or nonprofit but tell their friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers about you.

Creating this community of brand loyalists and evangelists is what permission marketing is all about.

This is why we set up email lists and engage with folks on networks like Twitter and Pinterest.

And, yes, it’s why you probably need a Facebook page.

Obviously, there’s more to it than just having an email list or a presence on social media. Once people have given you permission to engage them… well, you have to engage them! That’s where a clear communication strategy and a strong brand voice make all the difference. That’s what we do and we can help you do it too.