Monday, December 22, 2014

Go Ye Into All The World - New Facebook Group

After months of careful thought and planning, I have decided to create a Facebook group that promotes member-missionary efforts through social media advertizing. The new group is called Go Ye Into All The World and the Facebook page can be found here. The purpose of this page is to promote efforts to bring the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world, particularly locations with no LDS presence. This can be done through ordinary Latter-day Saints using Facebook's ad campaigns.

I conducted my first ad campaign for Arochukwu, Nigeria from December 14th-19th. I targeted Arochukwu from December 14th-19th with an advertisement on the Book of Mormon. Arochukwu has no known LDS presence but is nearby several cities where wards and branches operate. It is one of the most populous cities in southeastern Nigeria without an LDS presence. Consequently I believed that this effort may contribute to the Church ultimately establishing a presence in Arochukwu. This effort reached 1,889 people and resulted in 54 website clicks to read the Book of Mormon page on mormon.org. Remarkably this ad cost only $5.

The opportunities for missionary work through social media advertizing are astounding. There are over two billion registered users on Facebook. Church leaders, full-time missionaries, and regular church members can invest small amounts of money into ads that reach tens of thousands within a short period of time. Advertisements can also be adapted to the culture and society of individual locations to enhance receptivity. A mission president may use social media to prime local populations prior to the assignment of full-time missionaries. Church members in the United States can target their own city or zip code to reach thousands with only a few dollars. Less productive areas of the world can use social media advertizing to find investigators. Area presidencies can use social media advertizing as part of opening additional countries to missionary work.

I am planning on creating a grassroots initiative to systematic reach countries and cities lesser-reached or unreached by the Church. However, I am going to advise those who want to participate to avoid targeting countries where proselytism is illegal or where conversion to Christianity carries significant negative consequences. If you are interested, join the group!

35 comments:

Pascal said...

As I mentioned on facebook, I started a similar campaign for Timor-Leste today. Even though this campaign has only run for a few hours and all of it in the evening/middle of the night local time, I received results similar to yours for your entire trial in Nigeria. I was inspired to reach out to Timor-Leste because of your recent case study.

Other places I have brainstormed that I will most likely try reaching afterwards are:

- Kinshasa, DR Congo. Simply because of the great outreach opportunities.
- Bangkok, Thailand. Receptivity there appears excellent.
- Equatorial Guinea. Christian and no local Mission outreach.
- Sao Tome & Principe. Christian and no Mission outreach.
- Burundi.
- Marburg and Düren, both Germany - two relatively large cities with many young people far away from the nearest congregations.

More ideas coming. Despite the low cost I`ll have to watch out for my budget, but one or two a month will accomplish great things and will barely be noticible for me financially.

Deivisas said...

You can also set it to run for $1 per day.

TempleRick said...

Impressive initiative!

The Opinion said...

My bishop and I were discussing this type of initiative in our town as our ward has a Facebook page. Pretty cool for the reach it has for just $5. I will certainly being joining your group.

Deivisas said...

You could also create an event that is open to the public in your area like an Open House, and promote the event with ads.

Grant Emery said...

It would be interesting to collaborate on advertising approaches (wording, emphasis, etc.) for areas with cultural similarities. Particularly, if anyone would be interested in bouncing ideas off each other for Western Europe, please let me know!

One idea I thought of would be to pay for advertising for a region once temple open house dates are announced. That could help promote attendance.

Adam said...

I went ahead and did one for the Antique Province of the Philippines, where I'm sure they are still a few years out to becoming a stake but they are the last district on the island. While only the bottom half of the province had missionaries a year ago they have since expanded to almost the whole province.

Got 9 clicks in the first 18 hours, so not too shabby. I wish they had available in the reports the demographics of who was clicking on them so you could know who to better target the second time around.

Eduardo Clinch said...

It's great that individuals can do their own projects that can randomly evangelize. There is a lot of good with the drawbacks of the Internet. I hope that the Lord can do more through us this way. Some very isolated places, like Nunavut or parts of the Midwest that get little or no presence from LDS should benefit.

Cromwell Belden Public Library said...

Can you post - or send out via e-mail a step-by-step PowerPoint on exactly how to do this?

Christopher Nicholson said...

From a post on the Facebook page:

1. Go to "Create Ads" on the far top right of your Facebook page (click on upside-down dark triangle to have the drop down appear)
2. Select "Send people to your website"
3. Enter a website to promote (e.g. http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/book-of-mormon) and give your "campaign" a name (e.g. Book of Mormon ad for Arochukwu, Nigeria)
4. Scroll down the same page to enter who you want to target with the ad based on location and a variety of demographic variables (e.g. Arochukwu, Abia, Nigeria).
5. Continue to scroll down to select how much you are willing to spend on the ad and how long you want to run it (e.g. $5.00 Lifetime Budget from December 14th-19th). You can decide whether you want to "optimize" for clicks on the ad (people who see the ad and click on it to learn more) versus impressions (people who see the ad).
6. Select images and text you want to use to accompany the ad (e.g. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ). Look for an image that has something to do with the website link you are promoting (e.g. painting of Joseph Smith translating the Book of Mormon).
7. Place order. You will have to enter in billing information (e.g. credit card) to complete the order.
8. Facebook will review the ad and within minutes will approve it.

I would like to target some cities in India because I have a special love for the Indian people and culture. However I'm unsure if that would be wise, given how few and far between mission resources are in that vast and populous country. They're stretched pretty thin. I'm thinking maybe I could start with Hyderabad, which has missionaries and a stable church infrastructure, but is still rather "unreached" by virtue of its population size.

Keith Held said...

I´ve noticed for ads that I have run, that targeting certain interest groups in the target area can increase the reach, like "Jesus daily", "Holy Spirit", "Mary Mother of Jesus", - so there is much room for exsperimenting for maximum reach. And as it works as an auction, Price for reach can go up and down from day to day. Areas where I have noticed great reach are: Nepal, Myanmar, papua new Guinea, Bangladesh. So excited about this posibility.

ExtremeSkydiverFreak said...

If someone could explain this to me: why shouldn't we spread the gospel in muslim countries? Because it is illegal? Seriously? Does god now obey worldly laws? A lot of evangelicals have missions in muslim countries, some of them are quite successful, and they as well as the converts can handle the threats. So why is it LDS can't do the same? Political correctness? Because muslims don't like to be converted? Treaties with muslim countries? None of that is a reason. Because I honestly don't buy the 'threat and danger excuse'. Jesus and his fellow early Christians faced way bigger threats and they prevailed. So why doesn't LDS have the same courage and determination as Jesus and his early followers?
Please explain.

Eduardo Clinch said...

The LDS Church has missionary presence in Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, Sierra Leone and other majority Muslim nations. There are units across the Persian Gulf in UAE, Qatar and
others. Thousands of Muslims are proselytized in Christian majority
places, like our only convert of
our VA Ward this year of Persian origin. The faith does follow laws in respective countries, but like countries such as China, multi-media may be the key to present and future growth.

Downtownchrisbrown said...

To answer your question: 12th article of faith.

Mike Johnson said...

Yes, the Church goes through the front door into countries. That has been the policy for a very long time and it does reflect the 12th Article of Faith.

With Moslem countries there is an added issue, in some of these countries, of people being murdered for leaving Islam.

That said, there are now two stakes based in Moslem countries.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Only two stakes? Are you counting Sierra Leone and Indonesia, or just the Gulf States?

Pascal said...

Counting Sierra Leone, Albania and Indonesia, we would be at six, which might be a more realistic indication of our outreach status in Muslim majority nations.

The Opinion said...

So I completed my first Facebook ad campaign and it was for $5 from Dec 24-26 in Ghana. I tried to narrow it down in Ghana but Facebook didn't allow me to do it. The end result was 12,270 impressions with 77 clicks. Pretty cool.

Unknown said...

This was so easy! We've opened a campaign in Senegal for the French mormon.org site. 70 clicks in 12 hours! This is awesome. We've got to spread the word.

Matt said...

I targeted the West African country of Burkina Faso from December 23rd-27th with an advertisement on the Book of Mormon. Burkina Faso has a population of 17.8 million and has no known LDS presence. This effort reached 10,185 people and resulted in 147 website clicks to read the Book of Mormon page on mormon.org. The cost of this effort was $5. I also got nine people who "liked" the ad. I imagine that if the Church were to be coordinated with this type of outreach, Facebook messages could be sent to those who "like" the ads in an effort to track them down and see if they are interested in being taught by the missionaries.

James Anderson said...

Probably the most effective things we can do is to focus on areas that have a district that based on what little we may know, could mature into stakes quickly with a few more solid converts.

Or where growth seems to have stagnated, but there is a small functioning stake, so that the stake can see more converts eventually even if not right away.

Often in some areas the missionaries have difficulty in getting contacts, so this could help existing mission areas in an interesting way especially where the two factors above exist.

Mike Johnson said...

I was talking about in the Middle East. I wasn't thinking about Sierra Leone, with a large Christian population and not a "Moslem" state as normally thought of, as the country is considered very religiously tolerant and Islam isn't the state religion.

I should have thought of Albania and Indonesia.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Yes, I forgot about Albania also. We must realizr that millions of Mulsims are everywhere like Moscow, Sarajevo, Pristina, Paris, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Melbourne, etc.

Africa has many Muslim states that our faith has not reached. Maybe 12-15? And even a place like CAR has little LDS presence, even though Islam is of the plurality, perhaps.

The Opinion said...

Matt, Is it possible through the Facebook page to crowd-source an area of your choosing and run an ad for 30 days. My idea with crowd-sourcing is that if we have 10 people willing to select 3 different continuous days to run $5 ads in the chosen area then the selected area would have a continual ad for 30 days and then chances for click-thrus will increase. I believe people have to see an ad 5 times before they click through. Maybe that is only in America. We essentially could create a teaching pool for the mission president by doing this. The piece of data we don't have visibility to is how many Book of Mormons are requested. I think using Facebook would be a good medium to organize this. This activity right here is the future and the "historic" part of the June 2012 announcement. We can literally share the gospel message with millions within one year.

James Anderson said...

I've heard from other sources that mobile is a big deal there, and mobile advertising is also much more significant, and whether it includes FB ads I don't know, And from what I've heard in some of the areas where we could target that would help with the missionary effort where we have units it could go 'off the charts' so to speak if we did it right.

I still think it would be best to do things in or very close to where we have actual units, that will allow them to grow and expand, and allow branches to become wards and districts into stakes sooner, and with more and better member retention.

Luputa, DR Congo, became a stake solely on member efforts, no full time missionaries until it was all but inevitable they would create a stake there, and last June's stake conference is reported according to an address at LDS Tech, to have had 85 percent attendance even though many had to walk the distance of from Provo to Salt Lake just to get to the meeting.

Grant Emery said...

This is one of the coolest things I've done for missionary work since the best two years ended!

OK, every regular on here knows I'm extremely biased toward France (unless you're like me and never read who's actually making comments). I decided to target Brittany (northwest region of France). It is rural, spread out, and has several branches, but they have traditionally been struggling ones. In the fairly recent stake realignment in France, they ceased to be the last district in the country and became part of the new Rennes Stake. Because of the traditional struggles, the geography, and the reasonable accessibility to branches, I chose this area for the Facebook ad campaign. Since late Saturday night (Sunday morning for them), I've already had 43 unique clicks. I know that's lower than other countries, but it feels like the number of people contacted on a relatively contacting-heavy day for a missionary. So, basically, I'm doing the work of a missionary while watching Netflix. Even if only 5% of people actually fill out the form (I linked them to the Free BoM page of Mormon.org), that's still 2.15 people who've accepted a BoM. Not too shabby for a couch potato.

Another interesting note is that I've been experimenting with sentences. I tried an approach of quoting what people could say about the BoM: "The BoM opened my eyes to my potential", "The BoM comforts me", and "The BoM helps me understand the purpose of my life." Out of those, the first one "opens my eyes to my potential" is about twice as effective.

Thanks for this great idea!

Grant Emery said...

Oh, and my campaign isn't over. I can post final results to the Facebook page when I have them.

Joseph said...

Saw these come up related to something else I was looking at on Amazon, and they looked potentially useful.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-On-Facebook-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00PGNOFO8/

http://www.amazon.com/Attract-Capture-Convert-Entrepreneurs-Marketing-ebook/dp/B00HJDFJV6/

Deivisas said...

Ads targeting more developed nations will likely be more expensive and have lower click through rates than than other developing countries with weaker currencies, but that is still great news on France!

John Pack Lambert said...

I created a campaign for my zip code in Sterling Heights, Michigan. I know it might seem that since we have a ward, and missionaries covering two zip codes, this was unneeded. However, I hope this will reach people who we have not contacted through other methods.

John Pack Lambert said...

Turkey has no laws against Muslims joining other faiths, so the Church will proselyte Muslims in Turkey. On the other hand, Muslims are often not very open to converting to other faiths for social reasons, and so missionary efforts are at times better used in other ways.

On a totally different subject, is there a way a fund could be created that people could donate to to help these efforts who are not sure they are well versed enough to start campaigns, or to make campaigns more effective by having more resources in them than one individual can provide.

Joseph said...

This might be an option for collecting funds.

https://www.indiegogo.com/explore/religion

Unknown said...

My wife wants to know about the legality of running the ads in those countries etc. We are on board, but that is a question she had.

Pascal said...

The number of countries prohibiting these ads due to restrictions on open proselytism include most of the Middle East (including all countries ending on -stan, with some limitation in Pakistan and Kazakhstan), Nepal, Laos, Brunei, Bhutan, much of coastal northern Africa, Sudan and the Comores. Indonesia and Bangladesh vary a bit based on your target group so if you just advertise to Christians you should be fine.

Everything else should be fair game, but I`m certain I may be corrected by someone who has a better overview than myself.

John Pack Lambert said...

My campaign in the 48310 zip code got 9 clicks.