HOW TO: Kick-Start Your Church’s Instagram Ministry
in Social Media / 06 Aug 2018
With more than 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is way more than just a teen fad. In fact, it’s considered to be a valuable marketing tool by big brands and churches worldwide. And why not? With 90% of users being under 35 years, this channel is ideal for churches who have the heart to serve young adults. As Pastor Carey Nieuwhof says, “Be present where your people are”.
Would your church like to connect and engage with the youth outside of Bible studies or youth groups? If so, setting up your own Instagram ministry is a great step forward. Continue reading to learn how can you kick-start and maintain your Instagram ministry.
WHY SET UP YOUR CHURCH’S INSTAGRAM MINISTRY
If your church already has a social media page(s), you may wonder if setting up an Instagram ministry is really worth it. Well, your Instagram ministry will be different from setting up your church’s social media page(s).
While the latter helps you showcase your church life and engage with your visitors and congregation, your Instagram page will focus on encouraging, ministering and talking about the Gospel and Christian living. So, if your church is keen on ministering through social media, kick-starting an Instagram ministry is definitely worth it!
Additionally, Instagram is the ideal platform for your church to leverage in order to minister to the young people. Given that 59% of Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram, the channel provides a great opportunity for you to connect with and minister to the youth.
TIPS TO SET UP YOUR CHURCH’S INSTAGRAM MINISTRY
In order to get started, all you need to do is download the Instagram app on your mobile device and set up your account. Here are eight tips to help you set up and maintain your church’s Instagram ministry:
1. CREATE A CLEAR VISION FOR YOUR ACCOUNT
Just as every project needs to be based on a clear vision, so does your Instagram ministry. So, before you create your account, think about what you’d like to achieve with your page as it will determine the theme and the type of content you’ll post. For instance, would you like to minister only via Bible verses or also through encouraging quotes?
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
While the demographic of your target audience would primarily be young adults between 18 and 29 years, you also need to be mindful of their preference. For instance, it’s common for Christian pages to attract a Christian audience. However, you also need to consider that your posts may also attract a non-Christian audience.
Ryan Maher, creator of @BibleLocksScreens, says that“many people tag their friends on Christian posts hoping to reach out to their non-Christian friends”. Therefore, use your judgement and create content that will not offend the non-Christian audience.
3. CRAFT A UNIQUE USERNAME
While it’s easier to zero in on a username once you’ve set a vision for your page, you need to remember that the options you have in mind may already be in use on the platform. However, considering that Instagram now allows the addition of periods in the username, you can get creative and lock in on a good username. You can click here to check if a username already exists on the channel.
Remember that your username needs to be easy to remember, within 30 characters and relevant to the type of content you’ll post. For instance, if you’re only going to post Bible verses, you could use a name such as @BibleInspiration to reflect that.
4. CREATE A RELEVANT ICON AND UPDATE YOUR BIO
Your account’s icon is crucial since it is the one image that is attached to every single content you post. In the words of Ryan Maher, “In a way, it’s like your brand”. So, consider using an icon that can be easily connected with your page. Remember to keep the image sized at 110×110 pixels.
Additionally, pay attention to how you write your account’s bio (the description at the top of your profile) as that is one of the first things a user sees on your account. Use this space to communicate exactly what your account offers.
It would also be a good idea to include a hashtag that is unique and relevant to your account. For instance, take a look at how @instapray’s page includes a unique hashtag in its description. You could even add a link to your church’s website in your bio to promote your church.
5. PLAN YOUR POSTING SCHEDULE
Just as you would use an editorial calendar to plan out your blog posts, you need to maintain a calendar for your Instagram posts as well. This will help you map out the content and set a posting schedule. As a starting point, J. G. Viana from Jesus Centric suggests posting a minimum of 15 original posts on your page so that your account does not look empty.
To help you ensure the visibility of your posts, Brady Shearer, founder of Pro Church Tools, suggests posting thrice a day. While it is not efficient to manually post content three times a day, you can easily automate this process by using tools such as Buffer.
6. CREATE ATTRACTIVE CONTENT
One of the great qualities of Instagram is its highly visual nature. Needless to say, your content needs to be of the best quality. So, if you want to simply post an image and write a description, make sure that you’re using high-quality stock images. You can find stunning stock images for free on Pexels, Unsplash and Pixabay.
On the other hand, if you’d like to post Bible verses or encouraging quotes, you can create original designs on tools such as Canva. You can also take a look at five other online tools that can help you create stunning designs here.
Here’s an example of a great visual post by @daily_bibleverses to inspire you:
7. IDENTIFY RELEVANT HASHTAGS
Hashtags are an important element of your posts, so much so that Instagram now allows users to “follow” hashtags. In other words, users can now view posts with hashtags they’re interested in on their news feed instead of having to browse for them on the app. What’s more, research indicates that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have close to 13% more engagement.
However, you need to ensure that you select hashtags that are both relevant to your account and popular among users. One good way you can do this is by clicking the “Explore” tab and entering a keyword in the search bar. Once you’ve done that, click the “Tag” tab to view a list of suggestions. You could also take a look at which hashtags are used by other similar accounts.
Finally, experts say that it’s ideal to use 11 hashtags per post even though the limit on Instagram is 30 hashtags per post. Additionally, using longer hashtags seem to perform better.
8. ASSIGN A PERSON TO MANAGE YOUR ACCOUNT
Sustaining your church’s Instagram ministry will require a good amount of time and effort. Therefore, it’s advisable to assign a dedicated person to manage your account. While doing so, you need to ensure that this person is in tune with the vision of your Instagram ministry and also understands the platform. This will help him/her to craft the right type of content, which in turn will drive engagement.
We hope that these tips help you set up and maintain an effective Instagram ministry. Are there any other helpful tips that you’d like us to add to this list? Do comment below and let us know.
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