Social media is often an enigma to many in ministry. Many of us see it as either a hindrance to faithfulness (let’s face it, there is some disgusting things on there), to ministry (“Spending time on Facebook will kill your ministry.” – Unknowing Minister) or some may even see it as a work of Satan himself, allowing people to spread falsehoods and unholy memes with the click of a button. And, while all of those are true to some degree, a few see social media as a basis for encouraging Christians and spreading the Gospel to the lost.
Instagram, one of the largest and fastest growing social apps on the marketplace at the moment, is admittedly difficult to find a church’s niche. So, I’ve spent roughly a year playing with the church’s Instagram page and have come up with a few easy tips that will help you maximize its effectiveness and cut down on the time you spend on the app.
Interaction Is Not Inevitable
You have to foster interaction on your pages!
Posting a picture of the fellowship meal or a picture of the week’s guest speaker will not produce the type of interaction that you are wanting.
You want comments and likes but most importantly you your followers to remember that post 15 minutes after they’ve seen it.
Here are a few of our most interactive and well received posts over the last few months…
Of course, posting an image that there were 21 baptisms in a week on the mission field where our church is involved is going to get reactions and interactions, but the other two highly interactive posts are crucial to understanding Instagram.
Every Sunday, an image is posted with the description “What was this morning’s sermon where you worshipped?” and people from all over the country comment.
Throughout the week, you may see images like the middle where people are asked, “If you could have coffee with any Bible character, who would it be?”
The purpose of these posts are to get people talking TO US. When you interact with your followers, you will see immediate growth in your Instagram page.
If the picture you share is more blurred than the faces on a Cops episode, you’re doing it wrong!
Spend the time to get quality images (either of worship services, activities around the congregation or even for your verse/quote posts).
There are a few apps that I use to help me make the image quality as high as I can. Those are…
- Word Swag – This app helps you in putting together amazing verse/quote images.
- Canva – Canva helps in making images that are share quality and has great templates to start with.
- Bible Screen – Pre-made verse art! What more do I have to say (but please make sure to keep the attribution if you’re posting someone else’s images)?
- Spark Post – There’s no better app to help you make short GIF’s or videos for your page.
- Prisma – This one is just cool. It adds filters to images that you will not find anywhere else. I even use it for graphic design sometimes.
Yes, some of these cost money. If that’s a problem, then don’t use them but just know that spending $5 to help your church connect with its members and community is a small price to pay!
Also, if you find a profile that shares amazing images that would benefit your followers, then send them a message and ask if you can repost some of their stuff. But make sure to offer and give attribution to their work. They are trying to grow their page too, so I doubt you’ll have many No’s.
Post Often And Follow Often
There are 5 weekdays every week, right? Why not have at least 5 posts a week?
If you have a business profile, you can even get analytics of the peak times your followers use the app, so 30 minutes before an expected spike post something.
When it comes to following, I’m pretty tough when it comes to the church’s account. Our congregation only follows its members and a few other accounts from the official account. But, I will often follow 20-30 other people, let them realize that we are on Instagram, wait until they follow us and then unfollow them. Some may say that’s poor taste, but the purpose is to let them know we are there, not to fill our Home feed when we rarely even look at that side of the app anyway.
I hope those tips are helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. And, check out our Instagram at @WSRCoC.
I will probably have more tips and tricks about Instagram in the future so make sure to subscribe to get new content pushed straight to your email inbox as soon as I post!