Every religious conference planner should pay close attention to their social ringleaders. Like enthusiastic congregation members, these ringleaders can serve as advocates for national religious conferences, praise and worship concerts, and other faith-oriented gatherings. These star attendees invite friends and congregation members, spread the word about the event’s mission, and remain highly engaged throughout their attendance. In essence, the more ringleaders you bring in, the better attended your event will be.
Last year, Eventbrite invited proven ringleaders to a focus group to discuss how they decide which events to attend. Our goal was simple: to learn why these key players buy tickets so we could optimize event experiences and attract more attendees like them.
That dialogue showed us that ringleaders don’t make attendance decisions the same way others do. Their friends and family members lean on their guidance, and they take that responsibility seriously. By that same token, social ringleaders in the ministry serve as useful information sources for fellow church members in need of logistical tips to help simplify the process of attending their next event. Faith-based event organizers likewise should simplify their marketing approaches in order to appeal to congregations and their social networks.
Shine the Spotlight on Ringleaders
Social ringleaders are normal people in everyday life. Unlike the rest of us, though, they’re always on the hunt for the next meaningful event their group can attend. To catch the eye of ringleaders and persuade them to bring their friends to your faith-based event, follow these three tips.
1. Focus on Facebook. According to The Pulse Report, our survey of 1,000 North American event professionals, 28 percent of social ringleaders discover new events via social media. Of those platforms, Facebook is the most popular.
Ringleaders don’t just scroll through their feeds for recipes. They’re active Facebook group members. They sign up for Facebook events, and they talk to other ringleaders—both inside and outside the ministry—about upcoming opportunities.
Target your promotion strategies to the ringleaders and event enthusiasts who populate faith-based groups and conversations. Attach a Facebook pixel to track the effectiveness of those ads, and use that information to continually tweak your social approach. A streamlined Facebook ad strategy can target ringleaders and push your event into the big leagues.
2. Highlight the benefits of attendance. Ringleaders vet every event opportunity carefully. They coordinate travel schedules, research hotels and restaurants, and ensure the group enjoys itself. If all the information isn’t at their disposal or the prices don’t add up, they won’t come.
Work with hospitality and transportation companies near your religious event to create benefits that appeal to those go-getters. Advertise group hotel rates, ride-sharing deals, and early-bird enrollment rates. Use limited-ticket options and other fear of missing out (FOMO) tactics to induce on-the-fence ringleaders to make decisions. Accentuate the positives of your event to entice ringleaders and the crowds they bring with them.
3. Continue to build anticipation. Once ringleaders register their groups to attend your event, they don’t forget about it until it’s time to leave. They make playlists, look up restaurant menus, and talk about the event with fellow attendees. Keep them excited by building hype until the day the event starts.
Almost everyone checks email daily, so use email to communicate in the weeks preceding the event. Provide suggestions about logistics, such as how to use an event code to get a cheaper Uber ride to a local restaurant. Highlight speakers, vendors, and other event features to ensure ringleaders know how to get the most out of your event.
No matter how great your event might be, you won’t see the megachurch-sized crowd you deserve unless you attract the ringleaders. By following these tips to catch ringleaders’ attention and stir their excitement, you can get them—and all their friends—to your next faith-based event.
Katie Sawyer is a writer at Eventbrite, where she helps event organizers throw food and drink bonanzas and cultural events. You can find her sampling beer, stuffing her face with cookies, and checking out local comedy shows.