Dios Es Bueno currently ranks second on our list of the most engaging pages on Facebook, and has consistently ranked among the top 20 for the past six months.
The administrator of the page, Hermes Alberto Carvajal, has told us how he gets so many likes and comments on his posts, in addition to telling us the story of how he started Dios Es Bueno, which means God Is Good in Spanish.
First, could you tell us your background?
I was born in Mexico but now Now I live in Tucson and am a U.S. citizen. I’ve been a businessman all my life, and an amateur writer.
Ever since I was a child I wrote stories, poems and songs. Later in life I wrote for some newspapers in Spanish, got a few songs recorded, and I owned a small newspaper in Arizona.
But also ever since I can remember, from a very young age I had a passion to tell others about Jesus and the word of God. I had a life changing experience when I was 16. I found out there were no evangelistic brochures in my church, so I decided to write one. I had saved some money so I went to an old print shop and had it printed.
The youth group and I passed out the tracts to people in my home town and that night seven young men came to our church because of my tracts, and all of them made a decision for God and to quit drugs and other bad habits.
One of them became a pastor later. I always remember that experience and I am a strong believer that the written word can have a huge impact in someone’s life.
Lately, I am writing for BeliefNet.com which gave me the opportunity to spread the message to a wider audience and from a quality, engaging, attractive website and I’m also writing on my own website outside Facebook, DiosEsBueno.com.
What inspired you to start Dios Es Bueno on Facebook? Are you a clergyman or do you come from another area?
Well, I am trained as a clergyman, but not practicing it full time. Earlier in life I made the decision of not going full time into ministry or depending on anyone financially.
But I’ve lead praise and worship for a few years, I’ve preached to small and large groups, I’ve been a missionary, an interpreter for U.S. missionaries in Mexico and for pastors in the U.S. I’ve been in the administrative board of mega-churches.
I’ve done all of that, on the side, while working my own businesses. I’ve started and sold many businesses, and most recently a newspaper. I also had a my own radio and television show but it was always a hobby, or voluntary work.
The passion for writing and spreading the word of God to the whole word was my motivation to start the page and incidentally, I always had a special talent for writing very effective but brief short messages.
I started my page and the posts went very viral so that increased the desire to keep writing, learning and coming up with new stuff. But, I never thought it was going to grow this much.
Seriously, I think it is because of the page administrators’ passion for what we do. I believe that, yes, passion can be embraced though, by a company employee or group of employees, or page creative team. It doesn’t have to be the page creator him or herself.
Sometimes people make comments about large facebook pages and compare them to large churches. They think we started big, and we always wanted to have a large facebook page. No, we started small, we didn’t know where we were going, or what was going to happen. But we did it with passion because we found out it was a very nice venue to communicate our message to others.
Certainly, facebook pages are not as viral, by themselves, now as they were before, but we started in the right time, when acquiring fans was easier (and affordable). Now I see new pages struggling and spending lots of money to acquire new fans which is ok, but I don’t think engagement can be bought. It can be enhanced, by good and attractive applications (some didn’t exist a year ago).
Purchased fans will leave as soon as they realized that a page is not engaging, but, no matter what your message is, if you have a passion, a real passion, sooner or later your page will be engaging. That’s true for anything in the virtual world and in real life, is true for churches, for political parties.
I see many people (especially in the Spanish speaking world where copyright violations are rampant) trying to copy other pages posts, or blatantly cloning other pages thinking that they will be engaging because of that. To be engaging you have to be yourself and really, deeply, know your fans and their culture and the language they speak. Yourself and no other. That’s it. Fans can feel honesty, sincerity, authenticity.
Similarly, do you have any observations about Spanish-speaking Facebook users and engagement? Or put it this way: If you were to put together another page called God Is Good, would you use the same tactics for engagement or would you try something different?
I would still be authentic, but I would focus in being more engaging rather than acquire more fans. There must be a balance and fans are real people. They come and go. When they like something, is not a computer clicking, it is rather an emotion, a feeling, a reaction, a real, live reaction to what you post.
So, instead of focusing in a number of fans, I would focus more on finding engaging applications, pay attention to analytics, use a good, clear, understandable, custom made if possible, analytics application. As I said before, the number of fans doesn’t really mean engagement.
The problem is, for us administrators, that Facebook is constantly becoming better and better, but we must be up to date with all changes. I didn’t realize before that some applications will actually save you time, money, and make a page more attractive while we focus on learning, staying up to date on changes, and creating new content.
What strategies do you use on your page to engage fans?
I’ve done many things. First, creating original content that relates to our audience. Then reading fans comments which make me understand their needs, or what they want or are looking for and providing for those needs through an uplifting posts, a motivational poster, a picture, a video.
Our page is about daily motivation for people who love Jesus. That’s it. We are not about church membership or collecting donations.
I try to stay connected to fans, to be a part of their daily lives, sometimes reply to their comments, or send them a private uplifting, very personalized email. I tried to do my best to convey what I believe is the real message of Jesús: A message of joy, happiness, acceptance, strength, diversity, inclusion and so on.
Do you run the Dios Es Bueno page yourself or do you have a team? How many people work with you on this? And are you using any software or tools to build out the page?
I have a team of volunteers who help me sometimes with graphic design, emails, replying to people, sometimes advising or referring people to churches or organizations that may be able to provide them help locally. Yes, sometimes we are very involved with fans.
But, I am the only one posting and writing. We use all kinds of software for design, text editors, and so on. I use, most recently, Buffer to schedule some posts. We are in the process of creating some tabs. I don’t have fancy equipment, and sincerely, I started with an old laptop. But, I’ve been learning about some new applications for custom tabs that I will apply in the coming days.
My volunteers are from different countries, some as far as Indonesia, Palestine, Honduras, Mexico, Philipines, Dominican Republic, U.K. and other countries, and some of them are from very unlikely backgrounds, very different churches, different beliefs systems, and sometimes we even use Facebook translation to speak or write to each other.
That’s possible thanks to the internet (and Facebook) where there are no borders and where almost any language can be translated instantly.
What else would you like to tell our readers about Dios Es Bueno?
The page Dios Es Bueno has become a large and engaging page because of passion and authenticity and we are very open to help others to achieve the same, passion and authenticity and then learn about engagement. We must use Facebook to spread a message of unity instead of a message of division and hate.
I disagree with other administrators about censorship. I’ve never had a problem with the Facebook team, We’ve never been censored, and they’ve been very helpful when others have tried to clone our page or were copying, blatantly, all of our content, logos, posters and so on.
Facebook changes have worked in our favor — in everyone’s favor, I guess. You can see that we have more engagement now, than before the recent changes. I personally trust the facebook team judgment, after all they know their business better than I do.
I’m also so excited about new applications from developers, the new profile design, and so on, because all of them bring new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. For us at Dios Es Bueno, growth means reaching and helping more people.
As I write this, my wife is preparing a schedule for an upcoming tour through some small towns in Mexico to bring food, warm clothes, maybe blankets, and teddy bears to children. All of this was possible because of our Facebook page Dios Es Bueno.
We don’t do it for money, fame or power, and again, I believe fans can feel that we have a genuine, sincere desire to motivate them to keep up their hopes and their joy for life. The story of Dios Es Bueno is a true miracle.