Whether you have been in the Instagram game for a while or you are new to this whole thing, there is one thing that everyone wants to know… ways to get good engagement.
The first step to getting engagement is to understand what the algorithm is and how it works. What is the algorithm? It’s the rankings that Instagram uses to determine how/when to show users’ content. This ranking is always changing as Instagram updates the app and finds better ways to prioritize the content that users want to see. So it is important to understand the things you need to do to stay ahead of the game and keep your audience engaged. This may seem intimidating for your church’s Instagram account, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here is the inside scoop into how to drive and keep engagement in the current Instagram world. We have done our research and seen what has and hasn’t worked so that we can give you 4 keys to win at your Instagram game.
Key 1: Optimize Your Profile!
The first key to a great church Instagram might seem simple, but it makes all the difference. Optimize your profile! Here is a quick little list to make sure that your profile is optimized:
- Make sure that your account is set to public.
- Set your account on business mode.
- Make sure you have an easy-to-find username.
- Add an appropriate profile photo.
- Fill out your bio. Add your address, service times and website link.
- Follow people in your area and other churches. This is also a way for you to gain followers.
- Make sure you have at least a couple posts.
- Add story highlights.
All of these things are essential to have set up so that when people click on your profile, they know exactly who your church is and why they should check you out. Having an optimized profile is a way for you to market your church because many people will look at your Instagram before even stepping foot in your building. Optimizing your profile will also help the algorithm to prioritize your content so that it is shown to more people giving you better engagement.
Key 2: Engage, Engage, Engage!
The second key to driving your engagement might be surprising… It is to engage, engage, engage. To get engagement, you yourself have to engage. Social media is… you guessed it… “social”. With this, comes the importance of connection. Spend 10-15 minutes scrolling through your news feed, liking and commenting on people’s content. This shows that you are an “active” user who is engaged in the community. This activity will help to boost the number of people who see your content. It is recommended that to improve the reach of your posts, you spend 10-15 minutes on the app engaging right before you post.
With the way that the current algorithm works, your content is not going to be shown to everyone who follows you. This is because Instagram prioritizes content that users want to see so that they will spend more time on the app. With this being said, when you post you have a 20 minute window where Instagram looks at how much initial engagement you are getting. If you are getting a lot of engagement, they will show your post to more people.
The key to getting in front of the algorithm to drive your engagement is to post at the right time and then to get as much initial engagement as you can. One trick to doing this is when you post a photo, also share it to your story. This is a way to reach people who might not have seen your post initially but then when they see it on your story, they can click into the post, further driving your engagement.
Key 3: Add Value!
Key number 3 is to add value. You want to post content that is going to be interesting and relevant to your audience. A good strategy is to develop a content schedule so you keep track and can offer a variety of different things. Post videos. Post sermon notes. Post pictures from Sunday service. Post verses. Post a “get-to-know-you” from someone in the church or on your staff. These are just a couple ideas.
- Utilize instagram stories and reels. Instagram stories are 15 second photos or videos that appear for 24 hours and then disappear. On Stories you do not get likes, but you can see the number of views that you have. Instagram Reels are like the tiktok videos of Instagram. They are 15-30 second videos that you can make into whatever you want.
- You can also go “live”. This is where you do a “live”, almost like a Facetime sort of video through the Instagram app that people can listen into.
These are all ways that you can add value to the lives of the people that follow you. You do not always have to take yourself so seriously either. Have fun with your content and be authentic. Fun, authentic content always attracts people’s attention and drives engagement.
Key 4: Stay Consistent!
Are you ready for the final key? Drum roll! It is to stay consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to social media. Aim to post a couple times a week so that you are informing people about the events going on in your church and staying relevant. The more consistently you are posting, the better engagement that you are going to have. Instagram sees the amount of time that you spend on the app and the amount of content that you are putting out and will prioritize your content the more you are consistent.
Does staying consistent on Instagram and providing relevant content seem very time consuming? It can be without the right tools.There are a few services out there that can help you with your social media – but the #1 social media management platform for churches is Outreach Social. It’s also the only service that provides automated posting to Facebook, Twitter AND Instagram -so you can pre-schedule your posts and not have to work on your Instagram account every day!
Churches That Are Crushing It!
Now that we have given you the 4 keys to crushing your Instagram game and driving engagement lets take a look at 4 churches who are currently crushing the Instagram game…
These churches have optimized their profiles, are engaging with their communities, are adding valuable content and are staying consistent. Go check out their pages for inspiration and ideas. Their instagrams are linked below:
Zeal Church- @zealchurchco
Liquid Church- @liquidchurch
New City Church- @newcityphx
3Circle Church- @3circlechurchfairhope
Now that you have the keys to crushing your instagram and some inspiration from churches who are doing it well, we would love to help you start crushing the game. We have a free BTCS social media guide that is free for you to download so that you can level up your Instagram today. Download it here and start crushing it!