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May 17, 2021

7 Ways to Use Instagram at Your Church

7 Ways to Use Instagram at Your Church


You know it’s important to have a social media strategy for your church. 

But maybe it’s become an afterthought or it’s gotten lost in the mix of other things that need to get done. 

There are a lot of parts to your Instagram strategy, but I want you to know the one part of your strategy that will change your entire approach of how you use Instagram as a church. 

This one part is what you believe the purpose of Instagram is for your church.

Take a minute to think and answer this question: Why am I posting on Instagram?

Is it to let people know about announcements? To gain followers? To get engagement? To reach new people? To showcase your church? To look cool? Because you should? To stay connected throughout the week?

I want to encourage you that the purpose of Instagram, whether you are a church or not, is to serve your community and the world. 

When we think about what to post or what to say, we need to see it through the filter of, “Does this serve someone or does this just serve me?”. 

We need to not make ourselves the focus, not talk about how great we are, and not try to look the coolest. 

This is a huge mistake most churches make in writing copy and coming up with post ideas. 

Again, this principle is not just for churches. This principle is for any business or creator using Instagram. 

Showing up to serve others, and not to serve yourself, is what works.

It’s crucial we show up to serve and that is the perspective from which we create our strategy.

In light of that purpose, here are 7 great ways to use Instagram for your church.

Outline: 

#1 Use Your Church Instagram: To Make a First Impression
#2 Use Your Church Instagram: To Develop Church Culture 
#3 Use Your Church Instagram: To Bring New People
#4 Use Your Church Instagram: To Educate 
#5 Use Your Church Instagram: To Inspire
#6 Use Your Church Instagram: To Tell A Story 
#7 Use Your Church Instagram: To Help People Overcome a Personal Challenge

#1 Use Your Church Instagram: To Make a First Impression

Think of your Instagram posts as a handshake with someone new or an acquaintance you haven’t seen for a while.

Instagram is not only for people in your community, but it's the first impression people may ever have of your church.

When a person is looking for a church they will google churches and look on your social media to see what it looks like. 

They will get some kind of impression immediately when coming to your page and make a decision if they’d like to visit or not. 

By looking at your most recent posts how is your first impression? Ask yourself these questions to find out:

  • Does it look like you are expecting new people?
  • Are you using tons of “insider only” language that someone new may not understand? 
  • At a glance, can I see what ministries or groups I can be a part of?
  • Does it look like your church is open? Meaning, do you have recent posts? 
  • Can you see the personality of your church? 
  • Is your profile complete and show people what to do next?

How’d you do? As you can see, through Instagram, you can make an awesome first impression (or not so awesome) without even realizing it! 

#2 Use Your Church Instagram: To Develop Church Culture 

Throughout the week people are spending a lot of time on Instagram.

  • 40% of people who use social media are on Instagram.
  • 71% of those people are 18-29
  • 48% of those are 30-49
  • 29% of those people are ages 50-64
  • 13% are 65+.

Instagram is covering a lot of ground. Just look at your screen time! 

An average person spends 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social media! Yikes!

That figure has gone up almost a full hour since 2012! What happened to reading a good book?!

Daily average time on Instagram is 29 minutes.

16-24 year olds spend an average of 3 hours a day on Instagram. 

Ok, you get the picture, but you don’t want to make the addiction worse…

Being effective on social media as churches isn’t making it worse, you are making it better by having quality, resourceful, helpful content provided to people that will change their lives.

This is an opportunity to encourage and develop your church culture in a place people are checking in often.

They may not be on your website often, but they are on social media often! 

You can continually bring your churches unique personality, core values and purpose to the forefront of people’s minds throughout the week on Instagram. 

How can you do this? You can create inside jokes, remind your community of your core values and principles, and go behind the scenes to help people get to know your staff, volunteers and leaders in a more intimate way.

#3 Use Your Church Instagram: To Bring New People

Instagram can be a tool to actually bring new people into your church community. This can happen in a few ways.

“Friends of friends” of people who follow your church may see your church account, gain interest and become an Instagram follower.

Then through your consistent and helpful content overtime they may warm up to Christ and consider visiting your church.

This is especially important right now as a lot of people only go to church online these days and consider church online as their church experience for the week. So they aren’t really part of a church community.

One more way to bring in new people through Instagram is Instagram Ads. This is a more advanced strategy to bring in new people to your church from the community.

#4 Use Your Church Instagram: To Educate 

Educational content is very popular on Instagram. People go to Instagram not only to see their friends, but to learn something valuable and save it as a resource. 

People go on Instagram to learn skills, to learn recipes or to gain knowledge in an area they are interested in. 

You as a church, have enough educational content to last you a lifetime.  

Here’s a few ideas to educate your community on something to serve their needs. 

  • A couple quick tips to help your community go somewhere. For example: “3 Tips to Overcome Fear”
  • Brief recap of series content in a short memorable way 
  • Message recap videos  
  • Answering a commonly asked question about God or church 

#5 Use Your Church Instagram: To Inspire

The words your write on Instagram in captions, stories, quotes and carousel posts are more powerful than you think.

Just as we prepare Sunday teachings to inspire, teach and impact others, the words on our Instagram can have the same impact in a different way. 

Use your words to inspire and encourage your community or potential community towards a purpose.

Think about one person when you write your captions and determine what to post. Think about what they need and how you can meet that need.

#6 Use Your Church Instagram: To Tell A Story  

We need to tell more stories. 

I noticed a lot of church Instagrams are full of announcements instead of full of transformational stories. 

In our marketing, we need to tell a stories about people's transformation and invite people into a story with Jesus, instead of only making announcements.

A great way to always stay focused on stories is for every event you want to “announce” to instead tell a story of someone who has already been to that event or tell a story of someone’s life that was changed by Jesus at that event. 

Whatever you are doing, whether it’s groups, services, ministries, community service, or a conference, tell a story.

The most powerful social proof is a testimony of someone impacted by Jesus.

You can never have enough.

#7 Use Your Church Instagram: To Help People Overcome a Personal Challenge

You can use your Instagram to help people overcome a personal challenge in their life by addressing limiting beliefs, objections and myths that they believe about God or church. 

This involves some critical thinking of how you can really serve people on Instagram and help them get from one place to another.

Here’s some examples of how this could work. 

Limiting Beliefs

  • What limiting beliefs do people have about themselves that are holding them back and how can you resolve it for them? 
  • What limiting beliefs do people have about God and what is your solution?

Objections

  • What objections do people have about serving, going to a group, or having a relationship with God that you can acknowledge and address in a practical and helpful way? 

Myths 

  • What myths do people believe about church, God, serving etc. that you can bring up and prove wrong?

Conclusion 

The capability of Instagram goes beyond looking cool, gaining followers and letting people know what is going on at your church.

You can use Instagram to serve your community and to use your voice to make a difference. 

Think about how you have the potential to help others, to speak the truth, and to touch someone’s life, every single time you post.

It may be hard to imagine that right now if you feel like your community is unengaged with your Instagram. 

But that doesn’t mean the potential isn’t there. 

When you write your posts, write them to the one person whose life is going to be changed, don’t write to the masses.

Remember, the foundational part of your strategy is being able to answer the question “why are you posting on Instagram in the first place?” 

Take action this week and answer that question with your team.

And always ask yourself before you post, does this serve others or does this only serve me?

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