There’s a chance you’re overlooking an easy to use outreach tool: Instagram.
If you're not currently leveraging Instagram for churches, an amazing social media platform, you'll want to start using it after seeing these statistics:
- 70% of Instagram users in the US have a post-secondary education
- 35% of Instagram users in the US are between 30-49 years old
- 60% of Instagram users are 18-29 years old
- Users under 25 years old spend at least 32 minutes a day on Instagram
- Users over 25 years old spend about 25 minutes per day
- Users spend more time viewing "Instagram Stories" than regular posts
Although Instagram may not reach a lot of people who are over the age of 55, it's wildly effective for people from high school to 50-years-old.
Over the past year, more and more churches are leveraging Instagram because it's working. Churches have found that outside of using a custom church app, Instagram is arguably the second best way to engage your church throughout the week.
Here are five simple ways you can use Instagram to engage your church throughout the week and reach your community.
#1. Use Instagram stories
Users spend more time viewing Instagram Stories versus regular posts—so post stories on Instagram throughout the week.
The beauty of stories is that you can pre-record them and then post the best take or picture and import it into your stories.
To help you get started, here are some ideas for you to consider:
a. Share the news!
Have someone share brief video updates about what's going on at your church.
Nothing fancy—just find some good lighting, stand in front of a recognizable place in your church, and talk away.
Are baptisms coming up?
Do summer camp registrations close next week?
Is there an event your church is preparing for?
Talk about this kind of stuff and make it fun.
b. Create live tutorials
Are you preparing to launch Tithe.ly? Maybe online giving is new to your church.
Post step-by-step tutorials on how to give online or how to give with your church app. Show people fun video clips of all the different ways people can give.
Do you have a parking problem at church? Be creative and show people where to park when your lot is full.
Are the people in your church not sure how to respond in worship? Have fun, and create a video showing the members of your church what to do with their hands.
The possibilities are endless with live tutorials and using instagram for church!
c. Give behind-the-scenes access
One of the most exciting aspects of Instagram Stories is for people in your church to go behind the perfectly designed and curated images your church posts.
Introduce a new team member, take people through a day in the life of your lead pastor, or let people see the work that goes into getting ready for your worship service.
d. Department takeovers
Most people don't know what church staff does throughout the day, and many think that we just sit around all day (I’m joking). Showcase your different teams and give backstage access to your church.
Pop into a creative meeting and have the team walkthrough planning a service or show a clip from a fun part of your staff meeting
e. Offer sneak peaks of what's to come
Are you getting ready for a big community event? Is there a big announcement you’re preparing to make? Give people a sneak peak of what's to come using instagram for church.
Surveys show that this type of fun, spontaneous content is what people in your church want to watch when viewing your Instagram Stories.
The best way to find out what resonates with your people is to get a small group of people together and ask them what they’d like to see and what they want to see more of.
Related: How to Create Your Church's Social Media Strategy in Minutes
#2. Instagram posts
Use the good 'ole classic Instagram post.
Post inviting images of your worship services, small groups, and lobby experience. The most liked photos on Instagram are engaging, fun posts of people.
Here are some post ideas for you to consider:
- Share scripture or quotes from this past week's message
- Promote an event or a sign up for baptisms
- Highlight a volunteer or share what you're doing in the community
- Share images from your worship services
- Advertise an upcoming sermon series
- Ask questions—you'll be surprised at how many responses you get
#3. Free apps to create scripture art
Not a trained graphic designer?
Creating great looking scripture art for your instagram for church account, as shown above, is really easy.
You can use apps on your iPhone or Android device like Adobe Spark or Canva.
Search the app store on your phone to download these apps. Once you've downloaded the apps and created a free profile, it takes no time at all to create scripture art or a sermon quote from the past weekend.
#4. Use Instagram Business for boosting your profile
You won’t need to take up a special offering during your service to promote your church on Instagram. It’s super affordable to advertise your church and reach new people for Christ.
To get started, you’ll need to use an Instagram Business account to boost and promote your church's profile and your posts to people in your community. You’ll be able to set how much you want to spend, and you can get away with paying as little as $5 a day to show your post to a few thousand people in your community.
Is football huge in your city? Make a post inviting people to church before the big game on Sunday and target it based on your location and interests like "football" and "sports."
You don’t have to boost your posts all of the time. But this is a great way to highlight an Instagram for church post about an upcoming event, capture the attention of your community, or invite people to your worship services.
Additionally, keep an eye on your Instagram analytics. This info will help you to see what content is resonating with your audience.
Are you a newbie to Instagram?
If so, check out this post on Instagram for churches to get up and running.
Also, don’t feel afraid to ask for help! There is bound to be someone in your church who knows their way around Instagram. After to talking to people in your church, you’ll quickly learn what type of posts generate good responses and likes.
Do you have questions about any of the tactics I mentioned above? Drop a line in the comments below, and I’ll be more than happy to help!
Eric Bryant serves as the implementations team lead for Tithe.ly. He has spent the last decade in the local church as a creative pastor. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and two dogs.