Many churches have realized the ubiquity of Facebook. It is a place where grandmothers and teens alike hang out. It has become a place to link the sermon, post pictures of big events, and even communicate that Wednesday has been canceled due to inclement weather. But many churches haven’t taken advantage of bringing their largest events to their community.

WHAT IS A FACEBOOK EVENT?

A Facebook Event is just that — an event. It happens at a certain place at a certain time for a certain reason. It is a free service from Facebook, and there is no limit to how many Events you can set up. Is your church having a big Trunk or Treat? Facebook Event. Having an Easter play? Facebook Event. Whatever occasion or outreach you want to promote, creating a Facebook event is a very effective option to get the word out.

CREATING A FACEBOOK EVENT

To set up an event, you must be an administrator of your church’s Facebook Page (because you want the event to be linked to the church). First, you will navigate to the Events tab on your Facebook Page. Then press the “Create Event” button. After that, you need only know the time and the place. If you have some artwork for this event, you will be able to attach it as well. And just like that, you have created a Facebook Event.

INVITE LEADERS AND GUESTS

The first thing you want to do is invite your key leaders and volunteers. I actually let my team know beforehand that they are going to be invited. I do this because I don’t want an event out there for our neighbors that looks like it has no one going to it. So my leaders all jump on right away to give it some starting momentum. After the first wave, I invite the people in our church that may be interested.

SHARE THE EVENT

This is the part that makes Facebook Events so amazing. Not only can the administrator invite as many people as they like, but each leader/volunteer can share this event to their friends and network. So the event begins showing up on timelines all over the community. This viral sharing is amazing because every person that shares the event is vouching for it to their group of Facebook friends. If people in the community see multiple people sharing the same event, it may begin to draw their interest.

EVENT PROMOTION

This is the only part that costs money, but it is entirely optional. Everything before this was free. When you set up a paid promotion, you get to decide how much to spend, and who your target audience is. If you are a small rural church, you might choose a 5-mile radius. If you are a more regional church, you might choose a 30-mile radius to advertise to. You can also determine other demographics, life stages, and interests to make sure your money is being spent well. Then you choose how much money you want to spend. I will often set my budget at $100. This is cheaper than the yellow pages, a billboard, or even door hangers. This is honestly the best $100 I spend for most events that our church does. I have had many visitors come to our small church and tell me, “I saw this church on Facebook, and decided to come and visit.” That still blows me away.

Even without the paid portion, Facebook Events brings our major outreach events to people who are not a part of our church family. It is easy, inexpensive, and even equips your people to spread the word.

This article originally appeared here.