Since launching in 2010, Instagram has become a hub for creativity, news, and marketing for businesses across the world. In fact, 71% of businesses use Instagram. 80% of the app’s users follow one of those businesses. Taking full advantage of app’s capabilities allows you to enhance your online presence by adapting your communication strategy to the way we live today.
Here are 4 ways you can use Instagram to grow your church’s reach on Instagram.
Instagram has rolled out many new features and updates in the last year alone, but one thing that has remained relevant since the app’s launch is the use of hashtags. Hashtags are a great tool for driving awareness online, and unifying your congregation around one message.
Creating an effective hashtag strategy is key to helping others discover your ministry on social media, potentially converting followers into new members.
There are two types of hashtags you should know about before getting started. A signature or branded hashtag is your church name or a key phrase that is unique to your organization and reflects your ministry. Branded hashtags are meant for long-term use to increase awareness and enhance your church’s online presence. Campaign hashtags are more specific than branded ones, and are meant for short-term use. These can be used to boost church participation and social shares. Impactful ways you can use hashtags on Instagram are:
- Including the hashtag in your profile biography
- Incorporating this hashtag in the captions for your in-feed posts
- Watermarking digital and printed marketing materials with the hashtag
- Creating specific hashtags for church events, giving campaigns, and each sermon series
2. Instagram Stories
The Stories feature has quickly become a favorite for businesses and consumers alike. Instagram Stories presents the perfect opportunity for your team to get creative by sharing inspirational and light hearted content on a daily basis. With this feature, you can upload photos, live and pre-recorded videos, gifs, music, and so much more. The best part about Instagram Stories is that your content can live on your profile for longer than 24 hours with the new Highlights feature.
Using Instagram Stories creates another touch point for members to connect with your ministry outside of Sunday’s service.
The possibilities are almost endless! Consider the following ideas for incorporating Stories into your social media strategy:
- Daily Inspirational Posts
- Church Announcements
- Branded Screensavers
- Behind the Scenes Moments
3. Instagram Live
Do you ever have really awesome ideas for connecting with your audience on a more intimate level, but the idea of pulling it all together for an in-person event seems too daunting? Instagram Live is a great way to be more human and build trust with your audience. Live streaming through out the week not only increases the likelihood of your church being discovered on the platform, but going digital allows you to meet people where they are in your efforts to spread the gospel.
Instagram Live is a great tool for building rapport with your congregation in real time.
Here are a few ways you can use the feature to connect with your congregation:
- Live Stream Sermons
- Host Online Bible Studies
- Monthly Q&A Session with Pastors
Curating an awesome Instagram feed can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Make managing content easier by automating your social media posts. There are several free and subscription-based content schedulers your marketing team can use to maximize time and drive engagement. Many of these tools even generate analytics for you to measure the performance of your social posts, so you can continue to fine tune your digital strategy.
Social media automation allows your marketing team to focus on developing more amazing content.
Check out these popular automation platforms to use for your church’s Instagram account:
Church Base is passionate about using technology to grow your ministry’s reach. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how churches can use Instagram to their advantage, please add them to the comments below!