Nov 132012
 

What are the Facebook pages for churches and ministries with the most likes, aka fans? As we’ve entered the post-billion era of Facebook (the social network that surpassed 1 billion monthly active users on October 4th, 2012),  it’s time to update my previously manually-compiled list of top churches on Facebook back in February 2011. Recently found a handy web service called SocialBakers.com that makes it much easier to find the most liked Facebook pages by category, including one for Church / Religious Organization.

This is the current list (at the time of this posting) of the top 20 churches and ministries on Facebook –

Church / Ministry Facebook Page URL Likes (fans)
Joel Osteen Ministries  http://www.facebook.com/JoelOsteen  2.5m
T.D. Jakes Ministries  http://www.facebook.com/tdjministries  1.2m
TB Joshua Ministries  http://www.facebook.com/pages/TB-Joshua-Ministries/103470916440360  478k
Online Church (of Community Bible Church)  http://www.facebook.com/CBConline  237k
International House of Prayer  http://www.facebook.com/ihopkc  166k
Hillsong Church  http://www.facebook.com/hillsongchurch  137k
John Hagee Ministries  http://www.facebook.com/JohnHageeMinistries  129k
Hillsong Church London  http://www.facebook.com/hillsongchurchlondon  128k
 LifeChurch.TV  http://www.facebook.com/lifechurchtv  104k
 Kenneth Copeland Ministries http://www.facebook.com/CopelandNetwork  86k
 Bethel Church, Redding http://www.facebook.com/bethel.church.redding  81k
 Grace to You (John MacArthur)  http://www.facebook.com/GracetoYou  68k
Mars Hill Church (Seattle)  http://www.facebook.com/marshillchurch  46k
 Saddleback Church  http://www.facebook.com/saddlebackchurch  25k
NewSpring Church http://www.facebook.com/newspring  24k
Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale http://www.facebook.com/CalvaryFTL  21k
Crossroads http://www.facebook.com/crdschurch  18k
Church of the Highlands http://www.facebook.com/highlands  17k
New Creation Church, Singapore http://www.facebook.com/nccsg  16k
Christ’s Commission Fellowship http://www.facebook.com/CCFmain  16k

powered by Easy Table Creator from PolyVision Interactive Whiteboards

And there are very popular Facebook pages about Christianity and Jesus (with million+ more likes than organized churches and ministries), like Jesus Daily (14.3m likes), Digital Bible (8.5m likes), GodVine (3.0m likes), and ChristiaNet (1.5m likes).

And there are some well-liked denominations and networks of churches on Facebook pages too:

Time to make this participatory, too. What observations do you notice about these Facebook pages? What kind of content and how often are they posting? What are the principles you can infer from how they’re encouraging social engagement (cf. “talking about this”) so people will like, comment, and/or share a page update?

Jan 142012
 

2 social networks dominate the new media landscape at this point in history — Facebook and Twitter. At the time of this writing, Facebook has 800+ million active users and Twitter has 100+ million active users.

Many of you, like me, use both Twitter and Facebook. But given the disparity in numbers, many more are on only Facebook and not Twitter. Thus, my rationale for sharing my Twitter tweets (which I use more) to my Facebook status updates, so that both my Twitter followers and Facebook friends can see my latest finds — a large %age of my updates are links to goodies I find. (I do have my Twitter Facebook app configured so that my twitter @replies do not get posted to Facebook.)

I didn’t want to be insensitive to my friends on Facebook; I’ve recently asked them if I should continue feeding my Facebook status updates with my latest tweets, or keep the two separated. The results ended in a close heat, by a margin of 9 votes, more of my friends wanted to keep my tweets connected!

The wisdom of the crowd is split on whether you should or shouldn’t have social networks connected with mirrored content. My counsel: be considerate of your Facebook friends, yours may be more Twitter-averse.

Here are comments that came in during polling season, for your reference, to assist you in making an informed decision about how you might use your Twitter and Facebook accounts:

KL: “It annoys me when people post to both twitter and FB because I have to see the same thing twice. Then again, I don’t follow many people on both twitter and FB so in practice this isn’t really a problem.”

TL: i think ideally you want to separate fb and twitter because they are different mediums with different purposes and circles (no google+ pun intended). so tweet certain things and fb post other different things. but who does that really?

i think the reality is that most people are heavier users of either one or the other. so it’s probably the minority that would see your posts duplicated on twitter and fb (and previously buzz)

KH: i think connecting different social media platforms is a great invention! =)

SM: i don’t know about ‘overwhelmed’, but i tend to prefer separate streams…

RM: Only because every one else says this.

WS: And I like to read them here too!!

LL: selective tweets is a good option so it doesn’t flood your fb

VS: it is a question I’ve wrestled with myself. At the moment the “time” issue is the determinant…I don’t have to do independent posts. When that changes, I will probably split the information.

MM: I also use the Selective Tweets. I appreciate the option of determining which tweets come to Facebook.

SK: I’m probably not a good one to ask, because I port all my tweets over to Facebook. Using Selective Tweets is too mentally taxing. I don’t have time to parse whether a tweet is “appropriate” for Facebook or not. I just know that everything I post on Twitter shows up here on FB, and that’s fine. Two different audiences (for the most part). Different conversations take place around the same content. It’s all good. That’d be my vote, keep on keepin’ on.

SS: I’d say go with your instinct, your gut feel. I like the way you think and reason!

SO: I would vote for Disconnect if it wasn’t for the parenthetical addendum. Its for strategic reasons I advocate separating them, not because I am “easily overwhelmed”

LS: Pile it on! I love reading your stuff. :)

DI: I say disconnect them! Why follow on facebook & twitter if both have same content?

CM: I use selective tweets. I think that works best also!

JR: I follow you on twitter. plus you can use selective tweets. :)

BW: I see all your Tweets on Twitter, so I wouldn’t need to see them here too. But, if it’s easier for you, I don’t mind them in both!

BR: Use select tweets so updates appropriate for FB can still be brought over. [re: what is appropriate?] Things that you think your friends might comment on as well as just less than twitter. Things w/o hashtags too.

What counsel would you add about whether or not to connect Twitter to Facebook?

Now, It’s also possible to connect things the other way, so your Facebook status updates get automatically posted over to Twitter. When do you think it’s better to connect it the other direction?

Dec 062011
 

Getting a custom welcome landing page (aka welcome tab) to invite someone to Like a Facebook Page has become a popular tactic for businesses and organizations to build its audience. While there is Facebook Developer documentation online that has a Page Tab tutorial, I don’t find it plain and simple to use. Here are template-driven web apps for generating a custom welcome page (and asterisked ones have additional apps that integrate into Facebook page tabs):

Of course, growing audience engagement takes more than a welcome page, but sometimes non-techie decision-makers aren’t aware of the total cost of effort to keep fresh content flowing consistently. (cf. When A Welcome Tab Isn’t Enough: Use Custom Facebook Tabs To Give Fans More)

[* Unfortunately, much of this info is obsolete, since Facebook changed the rules of the game, and Facebook pages use that timeline format since February 2012]

Aug 252011
 

Being a conference junkie and having gone a few rounds with ‘em, my top-of-mind advice is to go to a conference with a team & don’t go to a conference alone. There’s so much more value to attending the conference together so you get that team-building value, time to be off-site, time to gain perspective away from the normal context, time to learn together, time to take ideas back home together, and hit the ground running.

Too often, people go to a conference alone, get all jazzed about an idea, but have the hardest time getting the idea across to the others since the people back home didn’t hear and experience the conference. Talk about hitting the brick wall. Yeah, there’s some value for getting inspired and/or recharged. There’s so much more value when you can take ideas home to implement and turn it into reality!

That’s why I love the way Sticky Teams 2.0 is encouraging teams to come. Registration fee is $269 (early bird rate ends 9/2) and the registered person gets to bring 2 others for free! And the conference organizers, who I got to meet earlier this week, are anticipating the event to sell out soon. Only 130 seats left at the time of this writing. (Aside: I like seeing that real-time seating countdown.)

And, I’ll be there myself. I’m doing a breakout session on social media –

DJ Chuang | How to Go from Potential to Mastery in Social Media
There’s more to social media than putting a Twitter and Facebook icon on all your communications. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you or take up all of your time. Learn how to increase your social media proficiency, become the master of your online reputation, and expand your ministry impact worldwide.

Would love to connect with you there! And in addition to my session, you might also want to hear Mark Driscoll and Larry Osborne :)

Feb 172011
 

Who are the churches that are good examples of using Facebook and social media well?

[update] I’ve updated this list over at SocialMediaChurch.net, a dashboard of top churches on Facebook with the most likes updated in real-time; cf. the November 2012 list of top church & ministry Facebook pages

church-search Before we dive in, there are different metrics for success and there are different ways of using social media, so it would seem to me to be unfair to make a list with scores or rankings. In other words, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all of how a church should use social media or Facebook.

Social media / Facebook can be used for much more than marketing and broadcasting. Social media gives voice to every person. Social media can give an inside look at the life of a church. The voice of the people, who are the church, can be seen and heard by anyone online, and that can be a far more powerful witness than an organizational one.

Here’s a pseudo-random sampling of churches with big numbers of people who like their Facebook Pages ::

Church Name Facebook Page # Likes
Hillsong Church (London) http://facebook.com/hillsongchurchlondon 70,556
Bethel Church, Redding http://facebook.com/bethel.church.redding 49,559
LifeChurch.tv http://facebook.com/lifechurchtv 41,595
Mars Hill Church (Seattle) http://facebook.com/marshillchurch 31,444
Hillsong Church (Sydney) http://facebook.com/hillsongchurch 26,021
Lakewood Church http://facebook.com/LakewoodChurch 18,852
City Harvest Church (Singapore) http://facebook.com/cityharvestchurch 13,945
Fellowship Church http://facebook.com/fellowshipchurch 13,398
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (Nigeria) http://facebook.com/rccg.org 13,115
The Village Church http://facebook.com/TheVillageChurch 12,712
NewSpring Church http://facebook.com/newspring 12,284
Saddleback Church http://facebook.com/saddlebackchurch 10,680
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church http://facebook.com/NewBirthMBC1 10,623
Gateway Church (Southlake) http://www.facebook.com/gatewaypeople 9,679
Jakarta Praise Community Church (Indonesia) http://facebook.com/jpcchurch 9,647
Willow Creek Community Church http://www.facebook.com/willowcreekcc 9,526
Church of the Highlands http://www.facebook.com/highlands 8,166
Christ’s Church of the Valley http://facebook.com/ccvonline 8,360
Healing Place Church http://facebook.com/healingplacechurch 6,847
St Mary of Zion Ethiopian Orthodox Church via.djchuang.com/stmaryofzion 6,764
Cathedral of Praise (Manila) http://www.facebook.com/cop.manila 6,614
New Life Church http://www.facebook.com/newlifechurch 6,607
Northland, A Church Distributed http://www.facebook.com/northlandchurch 6,252

powered by Easy Table Creator from PolyVision Interactive Whiteboards

Tech notes: The numbers were retrieved around the time of this writing. Ministries are excluded. These churches were found via allfacebook.com leaderboard and Facebook Search and Advanced Search app. These churches were manually found by hand aka “brute-force” so they’re not computationally accurate for a leaderboard. Many of these church’s Facebook pages were actually hard to find. You’d think with the millions on Facebook that there’d be a smarter search engine.

Aside: While these churches are amassing large numbers of likes on their Facebook pages, this might be more of an indicator of church size or mass-appeal popularity, and not necessarily how much social media engagement is happening within that church community nor how much platform & exposure is given to the voices in its church community.

Aside #2: somewhat related: there’s the Church of Facebook book + churches featured for being on Facebook + a list of online churches with internet campuses + a recent Lifeway Research study stating 47% of churches actively use Facebook

Oct 122010
 

After getting a basic understanding of what social media is, the next stage is to learn to use social media by following along with a tutorial.

There are many online tutorials that gives simple step-by-step instructions on how to register & sign up, how to setup your profile, and then how to start finding and connecting with people. Essentially, social networks are all about connecting with people.

There are basically two kinds: video tutorials and text-based tutorial articles. Here are tutorials for the 2 most popular social networks:

Facebook

Facebook 101 – tutorials by GCF Learn Free

Quick Start Guide: Six Steps to a Facebook Page For Your Business (@ zebworks.com)

How to Use Facebook: Video Series (@ ehow.com + Expert Village)

Quick Easy Tutorial on Creating a Facebook Personal Profile

Twitter

How to setup a twitter account (@ twitip.com)
Mastering twitter in 10 minutes or less (@ twitteroid.com)
Twitter quick start checklist (@ shaynepacker.com)

Howcast.com’s tutorial: how to use twitter

Twitter tutorial – getting started

cf. Top 7 Twitter tutorials on YouTube + 30 Essential Twitter Tutorials for Newbies and Experts

This will get you started! As you get some practice navigating around each of these web apps, you will soon be ready to develop your strategy. That’ll be next.

The next 2 stages of this blog series will be: strategies, and news & trends.