Immanuel Baptist Church here in Lexington has proved that you don’t need a big budget and fancy equipment to create a buzz through social media.
Each December, Immanuel orchestrates an amazing Christmas program, called the Christmas Experience. All kinds of activities are organized under the church’s big roof: a living nativity, Christmas caroling, a winter wonderland, a festival of trees.
The church came to us with two concerns. First, how to market the event as it expanded from one night to two, and second, how to make sure those who came didn’t miss anything. After all, there was a lot to see and do spread out around a large church building. Working with church leaders, we devised a social media strategy that would accomplish both goals. We created an event hashtag, and people used it to post the pictures they snapped with their phones throughout the night. For example, the whole family around a Christmas tree, or a sweet baby, held by its mom, in front of the nativity scene.
Those pictures went right up on large screens (which the church already owned) set up around the church, including one at the event entrance. Those photos displayed all that the Christmas Experience encompassed in a fun way, and it reminded visitors that there were lots of things going on at once. Photos flashing on 60-inch screens do grab attention.
Of course, in addition to the fun of seeing their pictures on the big screen, families also posted pictures to Facebook. Photos posted during Saturday night’s event helped market Sunday’s event. Attendance did rise on Day Two, and we like to think that it was due, in part, to the way word of the even was spread through social media.
Since the Christmas Experience, we’ve realized that the strategy used at Immanuel, tweaked and twisted to the situation, could promote all kinds of events–from festivals, like Immanuel’s, to meetings, conventions, tradeshows and exhibitions. With creativity, phones and a few screens and projectors, there are all kinds of possibilities to build the buzz with social media.
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