I launched a Facebook page at the beginning of this year. It is called Lift Up Jesus.
Though I am by no means an expert I have learned a few things about Facebook Pages, Groups and LIVE.
Considering how long most folks stick … or don’t stick to their pages, I *may* qualify as an expert after all.
Getting Started with Facebook Pages
I did my homework. I created a lookalike audience based on an active email list I had grown over the years. What that means was I could target an audience and not just do ‘something, anything’ and hope for the best.
I purchased Facebook ads to promote the Facebook page. It worked just like I had hoped. Before long we had over 2,000 people following the page. Every update got solid engagement – comments and shares.
Someone from Pakistan stumbled upon my page. After all that is what is at the heart of inbound church – build it and they will come. Lift Up Jesus and he will draw people to himself.
I got asked to deliver weekly Facebook LIVE Bible messages to a house church in Lahore. Consequently, I started targeting folks in Pakistan, too.
The Lift Up Jesus page quickly grew to over 10,000 people.
There was a lot of engagement = more likes, shares and comments … and organic growth.
Problem #1 – Facebook Changes Platform Algorithm
Then … Facebook moved things around. “Not going to display Facebook page updates
anymore to followers.” or a policy along those lines.
Really? After I paid all that money and put out all that effort and real people were liking and following and engaging and commenting with me, Facebook decided they were not going to show my Facebook page updates anymore.
It’s Facebook’s platform. They can do anything they want.
But therein lies a problem. I could not do what I wanted. I had to play by Facebook’s rules. I had to pay to play.
Facebook decided the company was going to focus on displaying updates that happen in groups to members of the groups. There is no simple mechanism to grow a Facebook group.
And all the work to grow a page turned out to be pretty much meaningless. Deflating to be sure.
All of a sudden I started getting random friend requests (Can you say Inbound?) … from preachers/pastors from all over the world. Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya … They were coming in droves. And I started accepting them.
After all, you can add friends to your group. I started adding these new ‘friends’ the Lift Up Jesus Facebook Group.
That group grew to over 2000 people who ostensibly were committed to Lifting Up Jesus where they served. I could give updates and allow for updates from people all over the world committed to my original mission – Lift Up Jesus.
My instant messaging box started filling up. I mean really filling up – 200 – 800 messages EACH day.
“Hey Brother Bill – please come to India, to Pakistan, to Kenya … and do a crusade for us.”
Therein lies a second problem.
Problem #2 – Facebook Friend Requests Can Be Deceiving
Who asks somebody they just met on Facebook to travel around the world (literally) in distance and in time to do a crusade?
Flattering? Perhaps … but only till I started thinking … or maybe overthinking about it.
God is leading? Or am I being sucked in?
Cultures are different to be sure. Some cultures (Asia, Africa) are very open and very inviting. Others are cynical and wary (US).
I don’t know the answer yet. But I haven’t traveled to Pakistan or Malawi … yet, either.
More requests come – orphans and widows and famine and orphans and orphans … and building needs and lost jobs and sickness.
For some reason folks may assume that because I am a pastor I have a heart (I do) to help them … or can ask the church where I serve locally to help them (I can). But I cannot help everyone. I cannot even find the time to pray for every request that comes my way.
Therein lies the third problem.
Problem #3 – Fake News and Fake Needs
How do I decide who to help and how to help?
Strategy of Satan – if Satan cannot stop you from doing good, he will give you so much good to do that you don’t get anything done right.
I don’t know the answer to this conundrum either.
I reckon that there are smarter people than I who have faced these problems and come up with a solution. If so, I hope they find me – a bunch of others have – and will advise me on how to proceed.
In the meantime, I will continue my focus on Lifting Up Jesus IF I can prevent these problems from overwhelming me first.