The other night, I sat on my couch with a friend and participated in a truly Millennial activity.
For 30 minutes, we debated the benefits of Valencia over Nashville, discussed the aesthetic value of a firework emoji, and soul-searched to determine how much alliteration would be inappropriate in a hashtag.
Yup, that’s right, those 30 minutes were spent posting one picture to my friend’s Instagram account.
What my friend and I were doing for 30 minutes was participating in a form of personal branding, and it reflects a trend in our society – the importance of social media in modern marketing.
Why Instagram Is Great
According to research conducted last year, 76% of internet users are active on some form of social media. This same survey indicated that of those 76%, 28% are on Instagram, with 55% of 18-29 year olds and 28% of 30-49 year olds using the platform.
This should come as no surprise, but what’s even more striking about Instagram’s user activity is that 59% of Instagram users admit to using the platform daily, a 10% increase since September 2014. This means companies that use Instagram for marketing and product branding are tapping into an ever-growing audience they can reach on a daily basis.
Instagram knows that companies are using their platform to market products and causes. This year they announced they would be making marketing even easier with an analytics app that will allow marketers to see data on their followers’ age, gender, and geographic location. This level of muscular data analysis will allow marketers to increase their level of follower engagement and highlights the rising power of social media marketing.
What makes Instagram such an effective marketing tool?
According to Liz Dunn, founder and CEO of Talmage Advisors, “consumers trust the opinions of those in their social media group, including friends, bloggers and celebrities, more than messages they are getting directly from brands.”
And it’s true – I’m much more likely to buy a product or sign up for an event if I see my friends posting about it online than if I get an aggressive email blast from the company itself.
Why Your Church Should Be on Instagram
All right, now that we’ve established Instagram as a powerful marketing tool, what does any of this have to do with your church?
Let’s start off with another data point: did you know 98% of church-attendees say their places of worship use social media and that 46.1% of churches claim social media is their most effective means of outreach?
If you didn’t know that, join the club! It certainly came as a surprise to me to learn how many churches are active on social media, but it makes sense. In an era in which the human attention span has dropped to a measly 8 seconds, churches are having to find new ways to capture the imagination of their attendees.
With its easy setup, low-pressure maintenance, and emphasis on visual content, Instagram can provide your church with a simple yet effective way to reach out to new visitors and stay connected with your faithful attendees. More importantly, Instagram allows you to use the same marketing tools that companies use in order to effectively brand your church.
How To Use Instagram For Churches:
Let’s take a look at some ways you can use Instagram for churches.
- It’s pretty easy to set up an Instagram account. All you have to do is download the app from the App Store or Google Play or create an account from your computer.
- You can even create an account using your church’s Facebook account, allowing you to sync your social media posts. This way, your Facebook friends will notice when you post on your Instagram account and be more likely to follow you.
- Next, be sure to update your username, profile, and picture.
- It’s best to post 3-4 times a week in order to maintain active engagement with your followers without overloading them.
- Be sure to follow accounts of users who you think would be interested in your church. One way to do this is to seek out other churches in your area, look at their Instagram followers and engage with those followers by following them, liking their photos, and commenting on their posts.
- Use hashtags in your posts, but be sure not to overdo it in an attempt to look relevant.
- Many church management software tools will sync with your social media accounts, so you can save time and run it all from one place.
Creative Ways to Use Instagram for your church:
- 65% of Instagram impression ads are video content, so make sure to jump on that bandwagon! Consider introducing your pastor through a video post or post a short clip of your Sunday service so visitors can see what church with you looks like.
- Have weekly profiles of members of your community such as these ones that New Springs Church posts on their Instagram account. This allows visitors to your church to get to know your members and see what kind of a fulfilling community you have to offer.
- If your church supports a particular charitable organization, post pictures of that organization’s work in action or announce upcoming donation campaigns and missions trips.
- Do something fun to engage your followers like hosting an Instagram contest for your yearly giving campaign. Have followers post relevant pictures using your campaign hashtag, then award a prize for the best photo.
- Use your Instagram account to let your followers know about upcoming calendar events. Lakewood Church is a great example of how to post reminders about sermon series, conferences, and retreats.
- You can also use your Instagram account to highlight church ministries and the music of your worship team. Consider posting a short clip of worship from last Sunday’s service and introduce the leader of a different ministry team each week.
- Finally, consider posting an inspirational quote or Bible verse every day or week in order to inspire your followers and draw them closer to God.
Can’t get enough ideas? Here are some more creative ways to use Instagram for your church!
Instagram is a powerful marketing tool, and it’s high time that you use it to brand and advertise your church. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to increase awareness about your church and establish stronger ties with your attendees.
Do you have any other awesome tips for using Instagram for churches? Add them in the comments below!