What's in this session?

  • Step #1: Create your page (1:45)
  • Step #2: Fill in your basic information (2:59)
  • Step #3: Advanced optimization (4:53)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: In this podcast, you’ll learn the three point setup guide for your church’s Facebook page. I’ll show you how to create a Facebook page for your church from scratch, but I’ll also share with you a handful of advanced Facebook page optimizations that most churches don’t even know about.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Tools, the show where in 10 minutes or less you’re going to get a dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus when we navigate the biggest communication shift in 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills, joined as always by the boss man, Brady Shearer.

Brady Shearer: At the beginning of 2018, Alex, Facebook announced a new algorithm change, which meant that the organic reach of Facebook pages had been greatly diminished. This has led to a shift, rightfully so in the way that churches use Facebook, but what is still the case no matter what is that every church should have their own Facebook page.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: If for nothing else other than the indexability of the Facebook page for your church within search engines, I’ve found that a Facebook page for our churches often going to be the second or third result that shows up in search engines when you search for your church’s name, second only to your church’s website. Even though organic reach has dropped, your Facebook page is still vitally important, and so we want to walk through kind of the three phases of setting up your church’s Facebook page. Whether you haven’t created a page yet. If you have, we’re going to talk about advanced optimizations as well.

Alex Mills: Like you said, if you have set up a Facebook page, you can use this episode as a checklist. Go through your page, go through all these points we’re about to talk about and say, have I done this? Have I done this? Have I done this? I think because I did this with our church’s Facebook page, I think that we’re going to hit on some things today that maybe you didn’t even know were there on the Facebook page settings. We’re going to get into that right now. 

Brady Shearer: Yeah, use it as a checklist. I love that idea. The first step is of course creating your page, and this should be a simple process, but when I went through this myself, just to refresh my memory on how the whole Facebook page creation goes about, I was presented with a tough dilemma because one of the first things that Facebook will ask you to do is identify what type of page do you want to be. There are two choices that I found seemed really well fit for churches and I didn’t know which one to choose. Those two options were, are you a local business or place or are you a company, organization or institution? There are differences between these two types of pages when it comes to the information that gets displayed when someone lands on your Facebook page. If you choose local business, the information that you’ll see displayed on your page will include website address, city and town, your zip code hours, description, et cetera. If you choose a company, you’ll get a website, but you’ll also get your mission, products, awards, and description.

What I found generally is that if you are a single church with no campuses, you’re going to want to choose the local business or place option for your Facebook page. If you are a church with multiple campuses, the company may be a better option for you. That’s the first step, choosing what kind of page you are and creating it. The second step, filling in your basic info, so this is going to include things like a profile picture, a cover photo, or video, a description, a username. You can choose facebook.com/ random 11 digit integer whatever, but you can also get your own custom name. Facebook.com/hope church or life abundant church or something like that. So claim your username, fill in your about, that includes your address, your hours, et cetera. This is all the very important information that you want to be feeding to the search engines so that when someone is searching for your church within Google and they land on your Facebook page, all the information is there neatly and tidy for them. 

Alex Mills: Yeah. These basic settings, a few months ago as I was kind of revisiting our church’s Facebook page and I had done all of these things I thought until I got to the about section and I realized Facebook had kind of revisited their about section and I didn’t even know.

Now, you have this ability to add a more like long form about section, you can actually add your own independent photo there. We have a photo in our about section that’s not the same as our cover photo and it’s also not our logo like you find in our profile photo and it kind of opens up like a light box so you can add some more text. It’s more than just 140 characters snippet. It’s like a long form description of who you are, where you’re going, and so make sure not to miss that.

Brady Shearer: It’s funny that you say that because as I was putting together this episode of Pro Church Tools, I went through the Facebook page for Pro Church Tools and did the same thing. If you’re listening or watching this right now, take this as an opportunity. You might be thinking, okay, I’ve already done all this. I have a Facebook page. Our church has had one for a while. Hey, if you haven’t looked at it in a while, it might be time to revisit it and just make sure, okay, Facebook is always making changes. They’re always pushing the limit. They’re experimenting, they’re trying new things, so go just check out your page and make sure that everything is filled out correctly and that they haven’t kind of introduced new features or elements to the page that you haven’t filled out and have left empty. Now, the third phase of your Facebook page set up for your church is the advanced optimization.

These are what we’re going to talk about, the pro setup and optimizations that you can consider doing. The first is Facebook now allows you to connect to Facebook group with a Facebook page and so if your church has a group kind of internal community on Facebook, but you also have a page for that search engine ranking and indexing, what you can do is you can actually connect those two together. This is something that you’ve done with your Facebook group and page, Alex.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it’s great for two reasons. One, you get this new call to action button on your Facebook page. You can have a button that says visit group so you can direct traffic from your page to your group to have those more meaningful conversations and interactions. Also, now you have the ability to respond in your group as your page and so you can interact in your group not just as an individual or a pastor, but if you have an event going on, you can post as your page in your Facebook group. It’s cool to use those two pages and groups. Use those two platforms interchangeably and yeah, it’s really helpful.

Brady Shearer: Connect your group and your page, set up your call to action button. Once you’ve done that to be visit group, I think that’s the best use of the call to action currently with Facebook. Another advanced optimization that you can do is pin a post to the top of your Facebook page, so if there’s a new sermon series that you’ve launched and you want that to be the most visible when a visitor or a person within your existing congregation lands on your Facebook page, you can pin that to the top. We’d also recommend that you get as many reviews as you possibly can. This can be incredibly simple. Just reach out to half dozen or a dozen people that you’re closely connected to within your church and simply ask them, “Hey, can you leave a Facebook review on our page? It’ll make a big difference when it comes to search engines and rankings.”

Another thing you can do is actually verify your page. Not that you need to be a celebrity or huge brand to do this. All Facebook will actually do is if you have a phone number listed on your Facebook page, they’ll just call that phone number with an automated message and give you a code to prove that that number is correctly yours. If you don’t have a phone number listed, there are other ways that you can verify your page as well, and then you just get that check mark. It’s not a blue check mark, it’s like a transparent check mark, but that way will prove that your page is legitimate and verified. A final thing, a new feature that Facebook has introduced recently are milestones. I think this is actually something that churches can take advantage of. Maybe you’ve started a new building project or maybe you’ve done a new campaign.

Maybe there’s a mission trip that you’re doing. There are so many milestones in the life of a church and Facebook has a host setting. You can upload an image or a video or a post or a poll. You can also create a post as a milestone and that will be kind of set aside as a big moment in your organization, in the life of your church, so consider using that advanced optimization as well.

Alex Mills: Awesome.

Brady Shearer: Final thing that we want to talk about before we conclude this episode is frequently asked questions. Something I get asked pretty frequently is should we have a Facebook page or a Facebook group, and the simple answer is you want both because the group, as Alex alluded to earlier, is so important for community within your congregation. Getting as many people connected to your group so that people can be communicating on a platform where they’re spending so much time already. Facebook is the most popular app on mobile devices, so people are spending that much time there already. Get people connected within a group. That’s what Facebook wants, but you also need a page because your group is going to be likely set to private or closed, which means it’s not going to be showing up as visibly in search. That’s what the Facebook page is for. Make sure that you have both. Then finally, if you’re asking about a Facebook page or a Facebook profile, forget the profile, keep that personal, set up the Facebook page. That’s what it’s meant for. 

Alex Mills: There you go.

Brady Shearer: The featured resource, we wanted to highlight on this episode of Pro Church Tools is prochurchtools.com. We got a new website.

Alex Mills: We do.

Brady Shearer: Finally. Been working on it for a long time. It is live, prochurchtools.com. One of the coolest elements of this website is we have more than 550 pieces of free content on there so there’s a lot. 

Alex Mills: There’s a lot.

Brady Shearer: Sometimes it can be difficult to sort through all of it so we’ve created these groupings that we call playlists and these playlists put together our best pieces of content that are similarly related so that you can learn all about Facebook, for instance. There’s one called grow your Facebook reach. There’s one about Instagram, there’s one about YouTube, there’s one about learning videos, there’s one about social media, millennials, the best stuff, 2018 church trends. I think I made like 25. I probably made too many. Prochurchtools.com. Check out the playlist and let us know what you think of the new website and that’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Tools. We’ll see you next time.

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