Church Instagram Marketing: 9 Best Practices to Adopt
Having a fun and engaging church Instagram account is one of the best ways to demonstrate that your church is relevant in these times.
Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform out there, and understanding how to use it effectively can help you reach a lot of people, especially those belonging to a younger audience.
Roughly 59% of 18-29-year-olds are on Instagram. This is different from your typical Facebook friends, who tend to be in older age brackets.
At the same time, 25 million businesses are on Instagram, making it easy for church leaders to interact in their local community.
What You Need to Know about Instagram
Instagram is different from most other social media platforms.
That’s why it’s essential that you learn to use it the way Instagram users are using it. When you do, you’ll receive a high ROI for your efforts.
First things first, Instagram is primarily for photo and video. It’s all about using visual storytelling to let people know about your church culture.
You also need to know that Instagram wasn’t designed for computers. It is meant to be used with the photos and videos that are on your phone. In some ways, that makes it easier, but it can take some getting used to.
9 Church Instagram Best Practices
Now that you understand what makes Instagram different, here are some of the most important best practices for setting up and running a successful church Instagram page…
1) Make Your Profile Stand Out
There are many elements to your church Instagram profile, and by setting it up right, you can gain an advantage and ensure you stand out from the crowd.
Your username is limited to letters and numbers, with a maximum of 30 characters. It should be memorable and unique. For church Instagram accounts, we suggest using your church name and town.
The bio can be up to 150 characters, so it needs to convey what you’re all about in a way that is short and sweet. Consider adding any of the following:
- Your mission statement
- Your service times
- Your branded hashtag
- Your location
The bio content isn’t searchable, so you don’t need to worry about using keywords here. Instead, focus on revealing your church’s personality.
You are given space to provide one link in your Instagram profile. Make sure you include your most important link since this is the only link on your Instagram page that will be clickable. You might use your church website or donation page, for example.
You can also change this out as needed for special events, mission trips, or other time-sensitive information. Just tell people they can find the link in your bio when you make a post about it.
Your profile photo is a round image that is 110 pixels in diameter. Making a circular version of your logo will probably work best here.
You will want to convert your profile into a business account because that is how you get to see your analytics and run ads.
You’ll need to have a Facebook Business Page in order to set up an Instagram Business Page. Just log in to your church Instagram account and go to Settings > Connect to Facebook > Change to Business Account.
2) Ensure Your Posts Have a Consistent Look & Feel
Strong branding is one of the best ways to make your church stand out. When your posts have a coherent look, they will be easily recognizable, which will strengthen your brand.
Instagram has some convenient built-in features that allow you to enhance your photos. It gives your church Instagram account a nice, consistent feel when you use the same filter or added elements on each photo you post.
In addition to the look of your posts, the voice of your posts should be on-brand as well. You’ll find that you have more active users when you follow this tip.
3) Create a Posting Schedule
Life is busy, and it’s all too easy for a week or more to pass you by until you realize you haven’t made any posts to your church Instagram account. That’s why creating a posting schedule is critical.
Ideally, you’ll want to post one to three times a day, but to stay relevant in your followers’ eyes, make sure to post at least one to two times per week.
No matter how often you post, just be consistent and post quality content.
4) Post Content Your Audience Will Enjoy
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many organizations don’t actually follow this guidance—not on purpose, but because they don’t even realize it.
In order to post content that your audience will enjoy, you need to really know your audience. You need to understand who they are, what they want, what they like and don’t like, and what their struggles are. Creating an avatar is the best way to gain this understanding.
It’s also important to point out that Instagram users tend to be younger, so make sure you post on their level.
Focus on building a relationship with your church Instagram audience. Here are some ideas:
- Uplift them with your posts.
- Share thoughts they might not have considered.
- Share Bible verses that are relevant to what is going on right now
- Invite them to church social events (even virtual ones) that will uplift the community.
5) Use Instagram Stories to Share Real-Time Posts
Instagram Stories are 15-second snapshots. The best way to use them is with authentic, in-the-moment raw footage.
Unless you save your Instagram Stories’ posts as featured stories, they will disappear in 24 hours. That makes this feature ideal for real-time posts. Let your audience see what you’re up to now.
Don’t forget to use Instagram’s fun, built-in features to add to your stories and make them even more intriguing. For instance, you can include any of the following:
- Question stickers
- Location tagging
6) Use Hashtags Properly
Hashtags can be compared to Google keywords because they help people find your content.
Some marketing companies will tell you to only use 1-4 hashtags per post, while others say to use all 30 that Instagram allows. Using only 1-4 won’t be as effective in helping you get found, while using all 30 in your posts can look spammy.
That’s why we have a better solution for you:
- Make a list of up to 25 hashtags that you can use on a regular basis.
- For each post, think of a few additional hashtags that are more specific to each post.
- Publish your post without the hashtags and then go back in and comment with the hashtags. That way, they don’t look spammy in your post.
It’s a good idea to use hashtags that have been applied to 10,000-500,000 posts so that there isn’t too much competition. To determine that, type the hashtag into the Instagram search box and it will show you how many posts have used that hashtag.
7) Use Video Posts
Video posts on Instagram can be up to 60 seconds long. They are great for telling a bigger story than what an image can show.
Some of the best uses for Instagram video posts are:
- Short event recaps
- Behind-the-scenes footage
There are many different pieces of software that can help you edit and create your videos, such as InShot, Adobe After Effects, or Adobe Spark Post.
Instagram video posts should not be confused with Instagram TV (IGTV), which allows for videos that are up to 10 minutes long. These videos would work for things like…
- Sermon highlights
- Longer event recaps
- Higher quality videos
8) Interact with Others
Although posting on your church Instagram account is key, what’s even more important is interacting with others on the platform. Don’t just create posts and then step away.
Instead, find ways to get involved in your community and connect with your followers by doing things such as…
- Following businesses, associations, nonprofits, and humanitarian organizations in your community
- Following your church members and volunteers
- Responding to comments and questions in a timely manner
- Sharing others’ posts
- Sharing real stories that will uplift and inspire
9) Have Fun
If you aren’t having fun on Instagram, it’s going to show in your posts. Likewise, when you are, people will be drawn to your church Instagram posts and your engagement will soar.
Instead of viewing it like another marketing task, look at it like a fun and visual way to tell a story. Give your followers the chance to peek behind the scenes. Show them how you’re working to fulfill your church vision. And make them glad they decided to follow your church and get involved in your mission!
By doing approaching your church Instagram the right way, you can inspire a whole new pro-church demographic. And your current church members are likely to become more engaged at the same time!
Need a little more guidance?
Download the Social Media Tool Kit and take a deeper dive into using social media for the good of your church!