Church social media can be overwhelming — there are so many platforms to use and so little time to maintain them. We’ve talked before about how important a church Facebook page is, but Instagram is quickly becoming a must-have for churches, too. If you don’t have a church Instagram account, check out this guide on everything from best verses to put in your bio to what hashtags to use to get started!
So, why Instagram?
It’s simple: Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. There are over 1 billion users, and nearly half of them use the platform at least once per day. Your church is missing out on a huge audience if you’re not on Instagram.
Much of that audience is younger. In fact, 59% of Instagrammers are under age 30. If your church is looking to reach a younger demographic, having an active Instagram presence is the way to go. Instagram lets you to connect with this younger audience and shows them your church is paying attention to the trends they engage in.
Like other social media platforms, your church Instagram helps you build connections with new and existing church members outside the confines of your weekend services. Instagram can also be used as a platform for evangelism and outreach.
What makes Instagram unique is its emphasis on visual media: photo and video are the primary focus. This is a great opportunity for you to showcase the life and culture of your church online.
Create an Instagram account
Setting up your Instagram account for your church is simple. Church Instagram accounts should be created as Business accounts. This allows you to run ads and enjoy some other features specific to Instagram Business accounts. To create a Business account, you’ll need an active Facebook Business Page. If your church doesn’t have a Facebook page, check out this post to learn more.
Once you’ve created your Facebook page, you can sync your Facebook account to your Instagram profile when you create a new account. Unlike Facebook, Instagram has one login for each account that you can share with multiple administrators as needed.
If you already have a church Instagram account, you can switch to a Business account in your Account Settings.
Customize your profile
- Username: Your username is important to set as something easily identifiable for your church. It’s a good idea to use the same username across all your social media platforms (if it’s available) to build consistency around your brand identity.
- Profile picture: Choose a high quality version of your church logo. The size for Instagram profile pictures is 110px and circular, so you’ll want to make sure your logo is easy to read and doesn’t get partially cut off.
- Add details to your bio
- Description: This is a great place to give a snapshot of your church. Add your mission statement, service times, and your branded church hashtag (i.e. #newlifechurch).
- Website URL: Include your church web address so Instagram users can click and be taken directly to your website for more information.
- Location: Add the physical location of your church so users know where they can find you.
Post to your page
Once you’ve created your account and updated your page description, it’s time to start posting to your page.
How to post
Posting to your church Instagram account is pretty easy. In the app, click the + at the bottom of the screen and select the photo or video you want to post. You can choose an image from your photo library, or you can take a photo or video directly in the app.
Once you’ve selected your photo, Instagram has built-in editing features you can use to make your photo look great. Use one of the pre-designed filters or edit further by clicking the Edit button to access the full range of editing features.
Next, add a caption, tag your location, and make sure to add relevant hashtags. Hashtags are identifiers to help users discover your content in the Explore section of Instagram. Try to use 1-4 hashtags for each post (you don’t want to look spammy).
Here are some examples of hashtags you can use:
- Local: #coloradosprings
- Trending: #worldfriendday
- Related: #church, #faith, #god
- Branded: #newlifechurch (specific hashtag with your church name)
Click Share to post to your account.
How often to post
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic number of posts you should post to your church Instagram account. The key is consistency and purpose. Start with 2 or 3 posts a week and try to work your way up to daily posts. That said, focus on quality over quantity. If your church doesn’t have enough content to post every day, that’s okay. Take advantage of the posts you do have, make them look great, and be consistent.
What to post
Instagram is all about stories. You can use your church Instagram to give visual proof about the amazing things happening in your church and community.
Here are some ideas for what to post:
- Feature the people who make up your church — think volunteers, staff, and members of your congregation
- Give behind the scenes access to event planning and service preparation
- Promote your weekend services and upcoming events
- Celebrate past events
- Repost from your followers
- Share inspirational and engaging content like Bible verses or conversation starters
Beyond photos: Instagram’s other great features
Instagram allows for videos up to 60 seconds long. Videos are great for recaps, behind the scenes, announcements, and promos. You can also use features like Boomerang and Time Lapse to add some flair to your videos.
Instagram Stories are a fairly new feature your church can use to show your personality. Stories are 15 second snapshots that are raw and authentic. They disappear 24 hours after they are posted, so they add a layer of exclusivity to the content. Instagram Stories are also full of fun features like:
- GIFs and stickers
- Question stickers
- Location tagging
- Emoji slider
You can also reshare posts to your Story to add another touchpoint with your audience. Save your best Instagram Stories to your Story Highlights to create a library of extra content.
Instagram’s most recently added feature is Instagram TV. Instagram TV is for long form video housed within the app, kind of like a mini YouTube. Videos can be up to 10 minutes and are great for churches to use for sermon highlights or recap videos from events. IGTV is more high quality than video you’d see in your regular Instagram feed, so keep this in mind when selecting which videos to post to IGTV.
Connect with your audience
The potential with Instagram is huge, especially since it is rapidly growing and more and more people are joining each day. Your church Instagram has several opportunities to connect with both new and existing members of your audience.
- Follow local business accounts, other ministries in your area, volunteers, and church members. By being part of a larger social conversation, your church stays involved, engaged, and connected with people in your community. Following members of your congregation is also a great way to repurpose some of their unique church photos on your own page.
- Use hashtags and tag your location to help people find you. The Explore tab helps Instagrammers find new accounts to follow and engage with. The more frequently you use hashtags and tag your location, the more often your content will appear in the Explore feed as “recommended” for new followers.
- Share stories. Your Instagram is more than just a digital bulletin board — it’s also like a digital scrapbook! Post about upcoming events and promote your services, but don’t forget to share real stories about the people in your church.
Ultimately, Instagram is a growing platform. Because it’s growing, your church should take advantage of its power to reach people now! Get ahead of the curve and start making lasting connections, sharing stories, and reaching new people with your church Instagram account.
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