Tag Archives: using social media for Jesus

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Book Review: Smart Business, Social Business, and its implications for ministry

Smart Business, Social Business is the most technical of the three books I read during our holiday. It’s not for everybody. Where the other two were “vibe” based, and supplied principles, this is stats and numbers driven. Where the other two were conversational in tone, this is didactic, and assumes a degree of familiarity with some business and marketing terminology.

Out of the 85 percent of people who want companies to be present in social media:

  • 34 percent want companies to actively interact with them.
  • 51 percent want companies to interact with them as needed or by request.
  • 8 percent think companies should be only passively involved in social media.
  • 7 percent think companies shouldn’t be involved at all.

The data is clear. Consumers want to have conversations with companies they care about. They don’t want to engage with corporate entities or logos, either—they want real, live human interaction and two-way dialogue with employees. And this can only be achieved with another person.

“One of the worst things any company can do is create a thriving community and then abandon it. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Before launching new communities, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter profiles, a company must get a firm commitment from everyone involved to continuously engage in these channels. Otherwise, the company will surely be at the center of criticism and will probably be featured in a Harvard Business Review case study titled “What Not to Do in Social Media.””

“An advocate is a customer who talks about a product, service, or brand without being asked to. These customers may or may not be influential in social media, but that doesn’t stop them from talking about the brand and telling others about it.”

There’s some interesting stuff on the cash value of social media followers…

“In 2010, social media marketing firm Vitrue determined that the average value of a Facebook fan is about $3.60 in equivalent media each year. The firm calculated this using a wide range of clients and their 45 million aggregate fans before arriving at the $3.60 annual valuation. A couple of assumptions Vitrue makes up front are that each status update posted by the company generates an average of one new impression for each fan. It also assumes that the brand is posting two updates per day. Finally, Vitrue placed a value on each impression by assigning a $5 CPM, which translates to $300,000 in earned media per month, or $3.6 million annually, for a fan page with 1 million fans. The mathematical equation follows: 1M impressions × 2 posts × 30 days = 60M impressions 60M impressions / 1,000 × $5 CPM = $300,000 $300,000 × 12 months = $3.6M $3.6M / 1M fans = $3.60 The one flaw in this equation is that the $3.60 valuation heavily relies on the fact that the company needs to post an average of 730 status updates a year to reach that $3.60 value per fan. That’s just less than two posts per day, which is extremely high; sometimes overengagement can appear to be spam and can result in a loss of fans.”

And a bit on the amplification that social media platforms allow…

“For example, assume that company A has 1,000 Twitter followers. Every time it shares a piece of content, its potential reach is 1,000. Of course, this number will naturally grow as the company acquires more followers. The reach of the messages will increase exponentially as more followers retweet the message. If one of the company’s tweets gets retweeted 10 times and each of those followers has 1,000 followers, the total reach of that branded message would be the following: 1 tweet × 1,000 followers = 1,000 10 retweets × 1,000 followers = 10,000 1,000 + 10,000 = 11,000 total reach An engaged community that finds value in content that is shared on Twitter is likely to share that content with its own microcommunities.”

The plan this book advocates is fairly similar to that presented by Likeable Social Media.

  • Create social media policies that address employees’ behavior when engaging online.
  • Train employees on how to blog, use Twitter, and be conversational when interacting in the community.
  • Develop a metrics model to measure the effectiveness of employee engagement on the social web.
  • Find and engage with online influencers and the communities where they spend their time

The first two steps are pretty much described by Likeable. The strength of Smart Business is the emphasis it places on listening to what people are saying online – you can join all sorts of conversations by monitoring when people on Twitter are talking about relevant issues, and even what people in your area are talking about with a tool like Nearby Tweets.

Part of doing social media well online is understanding how people behave online, and what sort of people you want to “empower” or build systems around. The book divvies up people according to how they use the net.

  • Creators—Create and publish content on blogs, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • Critics—Post ratings and reviews on websites such as ePinions, Yelp, and CNET. These users also comment on various blogs and wikis and contribute to online forums.
  • Collectors—Collect content in the form of tags and RSS feeds. They also vote for content on websites such as Digg.com.
  • Joiners—Join social networks but might not necessarily create or interact with any content.
  • Spectators—Only consume content. They read blogs, watch videos, read customer reviews, and listen to podcasts.
  • Inactives—Don’t create or consume any social content whatsoever.

The book also advocates finding advocates who will do the talking about your business for you – or, in the case of ministry, will use the channels you create to share the gospel (and stuff about your church) with their friends.

“Whatever the reason, advocates are vocal, passionate, and unafraid to praise the brand (both online and offline). In some cases, advocates even defend the brand against criticism and negative feedback. And even though they might not have hundreds of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or RSS subscribers, the conversation with advocates about the brand is always authentic. Why? Because they’re being real and aren’t trying to impress anyone.”

You’d hope that comes with the territory of being part of a church – that should involve a significant level of personal investment.

Like every social media textbook everywhere, Smart Business relies on the premise that content is king – and that producing engaging content is fundamental to any social media success. It makes a distinction between proactive and reactive content (this distinction pretty much applies to all forms of consumer/public relations).

“Proactive content considers all outbound engagement and includes the sharing and distribution of brand-related messages on corporate blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other owned media properties. Proactive content can include product- or company-related announcements, industry perspectives, contest management, and other promotions…” 

Proactive content gives you the opportunity to plan. This is something we do at Creek Road, because the service, not just the sermon, is defined by the big idea of the passage, we are starting to think about how we build the big idea, questions, and application, into our use of social media. This little snippet from the book is particularly useful.

“Some companies create just weekly or biweekly editorial calendars. However, it’s good practice to also maintain a six-month thematic calendar that documents and includes upcoming events, holidays, product launches, and other topics of interest to customers.”

Reactive stuff relies on having that carefully defined voice, and being quick to engage with criticism – preferably in a winsome way. It’s also worth reacting quickly to positives too, there are some great case studies in these books where encouraging and affirming people who have taken the time to engage with your product has worked to boost the good vibes involved as the interactions spread through people’s networks…

“Reactive content happens as a result of listening to conversations on the social web and responding when relevant. It can certainly include responding to comments on corporate blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, but it can also entail leaving comments on third-party blog posts.”

Here’s a “slideshare” that goes along with the premise of the book.

The author, Michael Brito, writes a blog, and you can also follow him on Twitter. He’s also produced an infographic that might help you think about the web.

This book was harder going than the other two books, but it was pretty useful, especially as a companion piece providing some of the technical background and research to support the conclusions the other books assume.

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Book Review: “Likeable Social Media” and its implications for ministry

I really enjoyed this book. This was actually my second time through (I’d read through it on a previous holiday) – but I wanted to skim over it again having read Platform… its fundamental thesis is that the social media success is tied to being Likeable , which in turn is tied to being a good citizen of the web, giving content away, sharing, and being altruistic in order to win brand loyalty and create ambassadors. So its got some great tie ins with ministry – especially since the gospel should come with built in enthusiastic ambassadors, namely, the church (2 Corinthians 5:20).

“In the beginning, there was Adam and Eve. Eve said to Adam, “You’ve got to try this apple,” and the first marketing interaction in the history of the world had taken place.”

The fundamental conviction at the heart of this book is that word of mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing (I agree), but that harnessing word of mouth marketing and even generating it – especially in the age of social media – requires a bit of thought and deliberation, and then an ongoing commitment to being present in a persistent and authentic way.

“Who is better to defend you against negative posters, you or your thousands of happy customers? What kind of company would you rather do business with as a consumer—a company that publicly answers every single customer, or one who seemingly ignores many customers?”

The thought and deliberation happen at the level of thinking about your brand’s personality and the substance or content you aim to share to engage and benefit your audience.

Being authentic means speaking in a language that really represents who you are, but also in a language that resonates with the people you want to connect with – this means, in business, avoiding corporate weasel words or legalise, in the Christian sphere it’ll mean avoiding jargon and in crowd stuff.

You also need to have some grasp of the way each social media channel works, and use that knowledge and the thinking work you’ve put in to figure out a strategy for how you use them (or don’t). I’ve put together something like a social media strategy a while back which has some info about how Facebook works, amongst other useful things, but this book is helpful because it gives you practical homework at the end of each chapter that will leave you with a good sense of how to take your next steps into the world of social media.

There’s some stuff in the book that’s incredibly useful if you’re looking to promote a specific product where you want a purchase decision (which I don’t think you can do with the gospel – there are a few more categories that probably need to be esablished than a Facebook ad or status update can accomplish) – so this advice is relevant for events, or for people who are looking for tips for a small business, there are lots of pearls of wisdom along the way, like:

“Write five sample Facebook updates that combine an engaging question or valuable content with an irresistible offer, and link to your website to buy or learn more. Test, track, and measure the results in order to optimize for future ROI.”

To translate – even when you’re selling something you want to be hooking people with the update so that even if they don’t act, they engage, and including some sort of call to action. And you should experiment till you get it right. This is a theme Platform develops in more depth, I’ll be reviewing it in the next couple of days.

In my experience, and I, at last count, administer Facebook pages for about 20 different churches, events, and businesses, the pages that do this stuff well, and thoughtfully, are the ones that take off – so one page, for a popular drag racing team, has gone from 0 to 7,000 fans in about six months, just by having a well thought out brand, carefully driving people to their page, providing good content, and urging people to share the love and invite their friends.

Here are some examples of helpful “homework” from the book.

1. If you’re a one-person operation or a very small business, write down five things you could say that would seem inauthentic or that sound like marketing-speak to a customer. Then write five examples of how you could say the same messages in a more authentic way on Facebook.
2. If you are part of a large organization, create a plan for how to represent yourself authentically. Recognize that authenticity won’t be easy but that it’s essential. Meet with key stakeholders and management at your organization to determine how you can make communication more authentic across all channels, especially on social networks.
3. If you already have a social media policy, examine it carefully to ensure that it encourages authentic communication, and tweak it if it doesn’t. If you don’t yet have a social media policy, draft one now.
4. If multiple people are responding on Twitter on behalf of your organization, have them sign tweets with their name or initials.

1. Create a social media policy that insists on honesty and transparency as the default expectation. Review with other key stakeholders in your organization what company information, if any, is off-limits and how you can better embrace openness and transparency while still keeping this in mind.
2. If you work at a large organization, determine whether your chief executive officer can effectively use social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook herself to be the ultimate transparent representative of your brand.
3. Closely examine your social media policy to make sure it is aligned with the values of honesty and transparency at its core. If it is not, consider what you could add to help instill these values. Include references to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s code of ethics.
4. Write down three ways you could respond to questions and comments on social networks in a more transparent way in order to further build trust with your customers.

And here are some helpful quotes from the book…

“The formula for ad success is not to link ads to your website or shopping cart but to link to your fan page. Connecting users to your page encourages them to engage with you. They might enter a contest or ask you some questions about products, services, or your industry. They have the opportunity to connect with other people in your community.”

“Also, forget the notion that YouTube is about creating “viral videos” and getting millions of views. Is it possible to create videos on YouTube that will go viral? Sure. But think of the last 10 viral videos you’ve seen on YouTube. Chances are few of them, if any, were created by or for a business. Most of these videos take off organically. Videos that are “produced” don’t tend to go viral. What makes content viral is that very thing that often can’t be produced: the spontaneity of human experience. Even parody videos are based from the initial experience that was captured on video and released to the world, then deemed viral.”

“Many company blogs are unsuccessful because they are updated infrequently, and too often they’re updated with press release-like broadcast material, rather than valuable resources or content. With a blog, you have the opportunity to include longer text updates than you’re able to through Facebook or Twitter, as well as incorporate photos, videos, polls, and other multimedia. You can also tell stories at your own pace and on your own terms.”

One of the central theses of the book, if not the central thesis, is that being successful on the web means being prepared to give away good material in order to build your brand, and goodwill.

I think the great take home messages for people in ministry, or people who are thinking about how to use Facebook for Jesus, is that churches looking to use social media to help spread the gospel, as a way of connecting with people, the secret is in empowering those in the pews to be using your church’s presence as a bit of a call to action in their use of Facebook – we should be encouraging those who are keen ambassadors of Jesus, and members of our church communities to be talking about both Jesus and church in an authentic and engaging way online, we don’t carry the entire weight of producing good content that people will engage with (though our church/ministry pages should be doing that).

There are some interesting ways I’m thinking we could use Facebook advertising spinning out of this book – you could target people who say they’re Christians who have just moved to your area (changed location), you can target friends of friends to invite them along to evangelistic events, you can target people who aren’t Christians to welcome them to your area with the offer of a welcome pack if they like your page, you can target engaged or married people in your area to offer pre-marriage counselling or to advertise a marriage course. Facebook advertising is fairly powerful stuff – which is why it can be insidious when used by unscrupulous people. I read someone I respect greatly who said that the low quality of advertising on Facebook was enough to drive him away from spending advertising dollars, and someone yesterday suggested the inappropriate ads he was receiving were causing a rethink about Facebook’s values – but it’s not Facebook that does this, beyond an algorithm, it’s people using the data and likes you’ve supplied to target you – the key to improving the standard of ads on Facebook is liking more particular stuff (the ads I get are almost exclusively coffee related), and for advertisers – the key is producing relevant ads that might cut through some of the noise of weightloss ads, dating service spruiking, and whatever else you get coming up on your profile.

It’s interesting too that the emphasis on social media success seem to fall around characteristics that are emphasised by Paul as either parts of his ministry, so he has a fairly cross-shaped approach to ministry that emphasises ethos and substance over flashy and impressive stuff, or the modern equivalent. Authenticity. Loving others. Being selfless. Responding to situations that emerge with humility, integrity, generosity, and grace… the guy who wrote this book is basically the most successful social networking consultant going round – and he’s essentially advocating that people behave sacrificially in what they give out online, though he’s doing it with the expectation that it will eventually produce material returns, and we’re expecting that it will build goodwill that will get the gospel a hearing.

There are some great ideas in the book about what sort of content makes good Facebook content and boosts engagement – the ultimate goal is being likeable, and getting people to share the stuff you’re putting out there, which I guess raises a question about how we get people in our churches on board with this and thinking about themselves as ambassadors when they’re online, which probably taps into a bigger issue regarding how we get people to think about ambassadors when they’re offline. Part of authenticity is making sure that the experience people get of our church family is consistent both in the virtual world and the real world.

What Facebook’s “Promote post” option means for promoting stuff on Facebook

Facebook is a bit of a minefield for marketing/communication people to navigate at the best of times. It can be incredibly useful, and plenty of businesses swear by it, but it can also be an incredible waste of time. Especially because Facebook keep changing the game. And they keep finding all the really effective ways people are using the platform to boost their business without paying – and killing them.

I’ve got a few marketing clients who use Facebook, I use Facebook advertising to help out with my sister-in-law’s bridal make-up and children’s theatre companies, and I use Facebook to promote Stir, a Christian event in Brisbane, and think about how we use Facebook as a church. Incidentally – it appears Facebook is currently doing a survey where they’re giving out $25 in advertising credit.

I know heaps of sole trader small business/creative/entrepreneurial types who use Facebook as the sole means of promoting their business and finding clients. While these friends of mine have chosen Facebook because they don’t want to spend on advertising – I don’t think this change represents a hurdle for these types of business. This model, resisting advertising, relies on creating good products, and putting these creations on Facebook in a way that encourages sharing. It’s word of mouth stuff. That just takes strategy, encouraging people/customers to share your business with their friends, and putting up posts that people are more likely to interact with and share. That business model isn’t really going to be threatened by this change unless a huge number of people start paying to have their posts shared in a way that clogs up all of their friends’ news feeds.

In the last couple of days Facebook has rolled out a new revenue raiser. The “promote post” option – not just for pages, but for individuals. You can pay to make sure every one of your friends sees your latest update. I assume the cost is figured out by how many of your friends are regularly interacting with your posts, and how many friends you have might also be a factor.

This is potentially a game changer – both positively and negatively. Here’s some reasons why.

First of all – Facebook is now a public company, it has to make money for its shareholders, it has to produce revenue to pay its costs, and people don’t really love anything Facebook does to make money, because for some reason we think it’s free.

There’s an old saying, If you’re not paying for Facebook, you’re the product, not the customer. It’s trite, but true.

Second, the real strength of Facebook, for companies, and particularly for churches, is the platform it provides to communicate to people who have opted in by liking your gear – ads that convert to likes are ultimately more valuable in the long term, than ads that convert to one off sales, or event attendance.

Third, in my experience, advertising is good at securing likes. But, unless you’re serving up ads to your fan base, rather than to your targeted audience, it’s likely that you’re paying about $0.80 for a like that goes nowhere. The chance to send a guaranteed post to the newsfeeds of 800 people for five British pounds is, in my mind, better than the return on investment where you pay $20 for 25 likes. But used together, there’s a good chance to turn likes into something a bit more ongoing.

Fourth, until this change – there was no guarantee that what you post on Facebook gets into your friends’/followers’ news feeds. Facebook is clever. It knows you won’t come back if all you see is 13 photos of cats from your aunt’s crazy friend who you accepted because you know how fragile her delicate ego is and you didn’t want to push her over the edge. It also knows you don’t want to be constantly spammed by businesses you don’t really value, who somehow tricked you into hitting like. Facebook works out what you want to see using a clever algorithm called Edgerank. What they’ve told the world is that edgerank figures out your relationship to all the elements that can possibly appear in your news feed using an algorithm that values how often you interact with the person/page, how many other people think their post is worth interacting with, and how recent the post is. If you’re a business (or person) and you have a bad social media strategy, where you post too much stuff that nobody cares about, pretty soon your stuff is pretty rarely going to hit the news feed and people will have to deliberately seek out your content. The stats on this are pretty appalling – most people like a Facebook page and never go back – which means they aren’t going to see your stuff very quickly, and any time and effort you’ve spent gathering a tribe of loyal followers is going down the drain.

This has implications for how you use Facebook if you’re interested in people seeing your stuff. Social media success, as far as the expensive social media consultants (or your cheap ones like me) are concerned, is about boosting interactions on your posts. This means posting stuff that encourages a response, posting really likeable stuff that people want to share, and trying to keep discussions going when they start. But that’s really hard, and takes time and effort, and there are plenty of businesses out there who have killed their edgerank by just not getting it (or knowing about it). So this promote post option offers a fresh start for businesses like that. It also gives businesses who do produce good content the opportunity to boost their edgerank – if what Facebook says about promoted posts is true (40% more interactions on promoted posts), then it is likely that the $5 hit, delivered a few times, will add value to your Facebook presence.

I’ll be using this option with a few of my clients, and factoring it in for a few of my content driven social marketing budgets. Because it takes a lot of the guess work out of using Facebook, and puts heaps more control back in the hands of page owners who have been dudded by the switch to Timeline (but that’s another story for another time).

I won’t be using it for my profile – partly because I don’t think it’s worth it, I have photos of a cute baby daughter to generate interactions. And the beauty of this is that once you’ve done it a few times, if you get a good response, you won’t have to keep doing it until Facebook inevitably reconfigures its EdgeRank algorithm.

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How to use Facebook for Jesus

I gave a talk last night that was semi-evangelistic/semi-practical advice type talk, with some tips for using Facebook as Christians. It was an interesting exercise for me to think through the professional stuff I’ve done with Facebook and how it applies to being a Christian individual (rather than a Christian organisation – I’ve posted a social media strategy for promoting Christian stuff over at Venn Theology).

I promised I’d post the tips online – I don’t know if anybody actually wants them, but I’m a man of my word…

The first point I made, speaking to a group of slightly younger than me tech-savvy types – is that digital natives, the people growing up alongside the Internet, increasingly get all their news, and the information that shapes everything they think about the world, via the Internet. Which has implications for us as Christians – because we need to get the gospel into their news feeds.

There’s all sorts of research out there about digital natives and media consumption, you can google it, or you can take my word for it…

To set the scene for these tips – I used Philippians 2 to show that becoming a follower of Jesus restores the way we relate to each other, because our inter-human relationships were damaged by the fall…

Using Facebook to Encourage one another
We can use Facebook to encourage each other. I’ve got five tips here for how we can encourage each other using Facebook.

1. Set aside some deliberate time to send somebody an encouraging message to their inbox. One where you’ve thought about what you want to say, don’t just tell somebody they looked nice tonight, tell them that something they did or said was helpful to you, or that you appreciated something they did, something they might have felt like nobody noticed.

2. Post encouraging comments on people’s walls, tag them so that their friends can see, and tell them that they helped you love Jesus more by whatever it was they did. That way not only does the person you’re thanking know, but their friends know that person is serious about loving Jesus, and your friends know that you are serious about loving Jesus, and other people who experienced the same benefit from that person’s work can join in. Now, we run in to problems if we start doing stuff expecting to be thanked on Facebook – that’s not why we serve, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage each other in our service.

3. Share real moments from your life where you’ve struggled with something and God has helped, or where you’ve really appreciated something – and thank God for it. It’s important that these moments are real – or both your Christian friends and your non-Christian friends are going to know you’re faking, and that’s actually discouraging.

4. Share the occasional Bible verse. I love the Bible. I’m sure most people in this room love the Bible. And it’s great to excite each other with the gold that is to be found in the Bible – but you don’t have to make every update on your wall a Bible verse. Let me tell you something interesting about Facebook, about how it works – Facebook has this thing called Edgerank, Edgerank determines how often your statuses appear in your friend’s newsfeeds – basically edgerank calculates how much people like your statuses by how many interactions you get on each one – and Bible verses operate on what’s called a law of diminishing returns – the first time you post a Bible verse, everyone’s going to notice, some people are probably going to comment – heaps of people will like it, especially if it’s a positive verse about love… but if you post a Bible verse every day, pretty soon even your Christian friends are going to ignore you, the same way people would if you just randomly approached them in the street and quoted Scripture at them. It’s a sad reality. But if we want to use Facebook to genuinely encourage each other we need to be thoughtful in the way we use it, and the way we engage in relationships. I think, as a general principle, it’s just as important online as it is offline to win the right to tell people about Jesus, not just to assume that we have something really important to say so the person we’re talking to has to listen.

5. Respond when people indicate they’re having a tough time – don’t just “like” their comment, and don’t give trite advice – but reach out to them and show that you care, offer to chat, chat on Facebook, do something in the real world – that might be a little controversial, but send them flowers, drop in, cook them something – do something to show that this person isn’t by themselves, show them that you love them, that you’re compassionate – show them that you’re a Phillipians two type of person… the word that our bibles translates as encourage means get along side, it means showing people that we’re in life together, we should be using Facebook to do that. One of the other great things about Facebook is that whether we mean it or not – other people will see that we love each other. Now again – we’re not loving each other just so other people will see us – but Jesus says in John 13 verse 35 – he says that people will know that we belong to Jesus because of the love we show for each other.

Then I shared a story about my friend Scotty, who I reckon is the best Facebook encourager going around. And I said avoid doing the reverse of encouraging when you’re online. Philippians 2 says arguing and grumbling isn’t a great look for Christians… and arguing and grumbling on Facebook is in a public and semi-permanent forum.

We can use Facebook to pray for each other.
This was my second point. Here’s the stuff I said in the talk…

One of the things I like to do is each time I log in to Facebook, I’ll go to my profile, and I’ll pray for the people Facebook pops up on the left hand side of the screen – those random friends that Facebook serves up for you each log in, but you could also pray for people when it’s their birthday, or pray for people when you see from their status that they’re having a tough time with something – Facebook gives us little snippet views into people’s lives, and view is enough for us to pray for the person – because God is in control of their lives too.

I haven’t done this, but I wonder how people would respond if you told them, in an inbox message, that you’d prayed for them – I think people, even if they aren’t Christians, still like to be prayed for… but like I said, I haven’t gone down that path.

Sometimes we forget just how powerful prayer is, pray for your Christian friends, pray that your non-Christian friends will meet Jesus – but at the same time use Facebook as a tool to encourage your brothers and sisters, and to reach out to your non-Christian friends.

You can use Facebook for Evangelism
I opened this point by talking a bit about digital natives, and a bit about the powerful testimony our relationships with one another is to non Christians, and how it’s important, giving how public Facebook is making our lives, to live lives that match what we say. And to not be holier-than-though, but to be people who openly admit our sinfulness and our dependence on God.

Here were some of my quick tips for how you can use Facebook to reach your non-Christian friends.

1. Check in at Church, or at youth group – let people know that being a Christian is something you’re serious about. Then, go back and comment on your check in and say what you enjoyed about church. If your friends from church do this – comment on their check ins. Make it clear that you enjoy being part of God’s family. If your friends think you go to church stuff because you have to, not because you want to, it’s going to make it harder to get them along.
2. Be real. Don’t make your Facebook a fakebook. Make it clear that you’re somebody who is living for Jesus, but let people know that that is really hard.
3. Invite people to church events on Facebook – most youth groups put their stuff online as a Facebook event. Invite your friends along, send them a link, and then send them a message telling them you’ve invited them – or better yet, ring them, text them, send them something outside the world of Facebook to let them know that you think this event is important.
4. Have meaningful discussions – it’s easy to turn Facebook into the home of trivial discussions. Don’t limit it to that. Talk about serious issues from the perspective of someone who loves Jesus. Comment on news stories, share links… get people talking, get people thinking – remember that most of your friends are getting all their news online and help them find important news by being a reporter for them. If you find a story you think one of your friends might think is really interesting – tag them, and ask their opinion – people love sharing their opinions.