Christian Media

If You Love Jesus, “Like” This Post

The title of this post is one of the dumbest, most worthless phrases I see in social media today. It’s a cheap, easy way to jack up your “likes” without offering any real substance whatsoever. I’m ranting, because I see it used way too often on the social media pages of churches, nonprofits, and ministries.

First – it’s puts the viewer in an awkward position: “What? Of course I love Jesus, so I must “like” it.”  But are you really engaging the viewer? Are they viewing your content, watching your videos, or participating in your online project?  Second – the social media directors at these organizations report these useless indicators to show leadership that their social media strategy (if you can call it that) is working.

Well it’s not working. “Liking” pages is one thing, “liking” stupid, cute, or trite sayings is something else entirely. Plus, there’s no real two way conversation happening. As communication and branding expert Dawn Nicole Baldwin says: “I think what’s important for most organizations to remember is that the heart of social media is being “social.” Is what you’re posting creating a conversation or just informing? Sharing information is okay but at the end of the day if you’re not engaging people in conversations, you’ve failed.”

Brian Boyd of Media Connect Partners puts it this way: “People calling themselves “Consultants” who use these methods to drum up interactions aren’t doing their clients any favors. I call it “shilling for likes.”  Often the image or “like this” request has absolutely no relation to the client at all. Furthermore, the people who engage the shill aren’t organically engaging the end client, therefore the actual ROI to the client will be negligible.  To report on your “success” in social media based on these tactics is unethical and lacks integrity.”

I’ll end with another quote from Dawn: “Social media is inherently social. If you don’t allow others into the conversation, you run the risk of being “that guy” we’ve all met at the party who won’t stop talking about himself.  People will avoid you.”

How about you?  Do you think these gimmicks actually create real interaction?

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  1. The easier it is for someone to do something, the more people will do it, and the less meaning the action has.

    Media ministries have always struggled with this. I have seen organizations build their file with free offers and then a year later, they are cutting media budget because they spent all their money in the mail trying to people these people to be donors.

    There is so much that real “fans” of a ministry can do to help the cause beyond cash donation– if only challenged with a great offer on social media.

    It is all about the offer.

  2. I hear ya. It’s dangerously close relative of “slactivism.” (Believing that we’re doing “good” without doing much at all.) I’ve cringed throughout the entire evolution of these gimmicks (e.g., chain letters, FWD this to three people, like this, etc.). I have a mini-rant about it here, if you’re interested. 🙂


    That being said, I’m a fan of the crowdfunding movement. That’s a new breed of interaction that has some potential to not just generate outputs, but actually produce some outcomes. I like that…

  3. I could not agree more. It is just to gain “likes”. Asking someone to share something with value which equates in my mind as having content. Elaboration on the subject matter and inviting others to join in or requesting a comment to get the discussion moving further. Not only does this help others learn it will help you as the writer to know where you are going with your topic. Feedback is key in my mind. Before I “like” anything I have to read it first and really know what I am saying I am “liking”. It is s reflection of yourself as well. If you do not dig deeper you may just find you have come across as a hypocrite and what your stand for. Engaging the audience is important as well. That is how you measure whether you are putting out quality and information that people want to hear more about. Thanks for posting this important aspect of social media:).

  4. I purposely do not like pages that say that. Not only do gimmicks not create interaction but they cause me to avoid them. I think gimmick is a nice way of saying they are trying to guilt people into liking their post. A better question would be, “tell me something you love about Jesus”.

  5. The practice of embracing Jesus by name only ought to annoy everyone. I love Jesus, but I can articulate a thousand reasons why He provides the foundation of my humanity. I relish the moments I can honestly outline the reasons I embrace Him. Asking me if I love Jesus, in my mind is a gimmick and I take a pass when presented with the “opportunity” to proclaim my faith online. There are times and places to be counted among the faithful which will truly measure one’s reverence to Christ – like at the end of a gun or with the fear of condemnation resting in the balance. That’s when faith is measured!

  6. “Sharing information is okay but at the end of the day if you’re not engaging people in conversations, you’ve failed.” I think this is the most important line in this brilliant post, Phil. People have to understand that it’s not about “Likes” and it’s really not about numbers. Social media is about engagement, and if you don’t understand that, you won’t benefit from social media. Great post!

    1. Absolutely Rachelle! I think ultimately the engaging them with relevant and interesting content is what matters on the bottom line. This may turn into greater “likes” but getting “likes” should not be an end of it self.

  7. I refuse – on principle – to click “like” on any message that starts with “Click ‘like’ if you…” Ugh – on so many levels!

    1. I, too, refuse. I also refuse chain emails that ask me to “send it on to 20 friends” if I “am not ashamed”. maddening!

  8. No, I don’t think those gimmicks actually create real interaction. They feel that if they say something that will make you feel guilty, you will feel obligated or motivated to respond, but it does the opposite. As a Christian, when I see a sign or “Like” button as described above, it only pushes me away, and I’m sure it does for others. I would rather see a sign that says, “Jesus changed my life for the better and He can do the same for you!”. Or a “Like” button that says, “Support our ministry by LIKING us!” There are no strings attached, there is no underlying message or anything for me to read into, just “saying it like it is”.

    I’m a straight-forward guy and I like others to be straight-forward with me. Don’t try to sell me something by using a gimmick, or guilting me into it, just tell me what you are offering/need and let me decide if it’s something I want to do.

  9. For the most part, I ignore organization, or business related “likes”. If I can’t enjoy comments, opinions or any intellectually stimulating conversation in regards to posts, I scroll past them quickly. I spend time on social networks to connect with people and in that sense, I need it to be a two way conversation.

  10. I’m another who doesn’t like the “like” button. We have such a relativistic society – everyone is willing to “like” everything but so few are ready to LOVE anything. Jesus doesn’t ask his followers to “like” stuff. He demands that we LOVE certain things and HATE others. (strong language that we shy away from in our hyper politically correct world!). Loving (and hating) depends on experience, relationship, passion – all of which demand more time and energy than “clicking”…

  11. Reminds me of the countless chain letters I used to receive (before facebook took over)- ‘forward’ this email to your friends etc if you love jesus’…. ah so cheesy, dumb and worthless, totally against who we really represent.

  12. This tactic is increasingly used for things outside of ministries and even faith. Just this week I saw an “I Love Jesus” ad for a pharmacy and another for a stock photo site.

    I’ve seen churches advertise worldwide with these ads which really makes no sense, especially if you are not reaching out to these people and supporting them digitally. That said, FB is a tricky animal and it’s wildly unfair to many orgs. In order to actually reach your flock, it’s often best to include a call to action, we are sheep by nature. Most churches still request an offerring, often after a compelling story and a request for support because that’s what works best.

    Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are the gold standard of staying on brand and not having to include such language in social media. They also have big TV, media and book impressions that really help amplify what they do in social (and vice versa). This is akin to the move in some emergent churches to not take an actual offerring, instead, they just leave a bucket by the door.

    To me, the real issue is not the carrot, cookie, whatever, it’s what you have behind it. I’ve personally seen some of the biggest pages in the world on Facebook, including Jesus Daily, change the lives of people all over the globe.

    A quick visit to that page would engender disgust or dismissiveness from some but behind the “Do you want to hug Jesus?” posts is a digital missionary team of volunteers of 1000s of people. The simple messages work because much of the audience is young and many are not even English speakers.

    The wall and messages are open and among the “Yes” “AMEN!”, likes and shares are real people with real problems reaching out through the only outlet they have access to. I’ve personally seen Dr. Tabor, who runs the page, witness to a kid who was an anarchist/atheist who came on the page to troll. The kid had nerve damage in his foot and refused to believe in a God that would allow him to have trouble walking. Long story short, that kid is now on the missionary team. Trolls, atheists, Muslims, etc. are not banned, they are loved, witnessed to and cared for.

    I think everyone agrees that the ultimate measure of success digitally is conversion. If you are a church, you need people to visit or become members. A website needs visitors, a movie needs ticket buyers, a book needs readers, a business needs customers. BUT, let’s not forget that the ultimate “conversion” is something much bigger.

  13. I could not disagree less with Phil. I absolutely refuse on principle to “like” anything that says this, in the same way I refuse to forward emails containing vomit inducing sentimental drivel masquerading as spiritually important stories that should be forwarded if you’re really a Christian, etc, etc. Its enough to make me come up with satirical counter programming, (like if you’re a committed pagan, etc).

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