7 Ways to Increase Your Church Following on Instagram
There are plenty of reasons to be on Instagram. First off, users under 25 years of age spend an average of 32 minutes a day on the platform, while those over 25 average over 20 minutes daily. It’s one of the most popular social media platforms to date, and it’s easy to create an account, too. The challenge most churches run into is the need for constant, unique, and share-worthy photos.
Instagram is a social media network built around photos. All of the emphasis is on the photos you post, with short captions and hashtags to provide context. As a church, that means you’re going to have to get creative if you want to grow your Instagram following. Here are 7 ideas to get you going.
#1 Share Content Regularly
If you haven’t already set up a content schedule for your Instagram account, consider this your golden opportunity. Posting consistently to all of your social media channels is essential to boosting engagement.
When people know they can routinely come to your page and see new content, they will come back. Likewise, it’s thought that the algorithms take how often you post into account. So, if you want your content to appear in users’ feeds, consider posting regularly. The more you post, the more users will engage, and the more exposure your photos will get. It’s a win-win-win.
#2 Use The Right Hashtags
Every single photo you post on Instagram should be accompanied by the right hashtags. Fortunately, you don’t have to come up with hashtags on your own. Look at other churches to see what they’re using and then consider a branded hashtag, like #SaddlebackChurch. It can be as simple as the name of your church or your church’s motto.
If you need ideas for which hashtags to use, there are tools that will show suggested hashtags if you enter the main one (like #church). However, the process of choosing hashtags shouldn’t be complex. If you’re posting a picture of your volunteers, for example, #volunteers is a superb choice. Check out the top 10 church hashtags in 2021 to help you choose.
#3 Post With a Purpose
As a church, you’re not on social media merely to rack up “likes” or to push sales. Unlike businesses and influencers, churches have a message to spread and a meaningful mission — and they need to remember that every time they post. If your church hasn’t already considered omnichannel marketing and how your content impacts supporters across platforms, now is the time to think about it.
Ideally, everything you post on Instagram will be a small part of your bigger plan. If you want to get consistent results from all of your digital efforts, you need to come up with a content calendar that allows you to coordinate posts across platforms and tie them back into your overall mission.
#4 Take Followers Behind-the-Scenes
If you really want to spark engagement, your content has to be unique and interesting, offering something to followers that they can’t find anywhere else. Working on a building extension? Take them behind-the-scenes and introduce them to the crew. Ask for input on paint colors. Get them commenting and responding to your content.
Your church should seek to break down the barriers that many people new to your church or new to volunteering, donating, or participating may feel exist. By opening up on Instagram and helping people get to know who your church is, you’ll encourage real connections and in-person participation.
#5 Promote User-Generated Content
If you feel overwhelmed by the fact that your church needs a constant stream of content to stay relevant on social media, take a deep breath and get creative. Countless brands use user-generated content, or UGC, to fill in the gaps in their content schedule and help encourage engagement.
For instance, next time your church holds an event, come up with a hashtag for that event and encourage people to tag your church whenever they share a photo of it. Props and photo booths can help make for fun photo ops when they may otherwise be hard to find. This type of social media promotion will spread the word about your church, too, because the friends of those who tag you will suddenly be introduced to your church and its work.
#6 Use Instagram’s Other Tools
Instagram is focused on photos, but they’ve actually got a number of other nifty content opportunities that your church shouldn’t be overlooking. Instagram Stories, for instance, allow you to share a photo and overlay text. Stories stay live for 24 hours and then enter your archive. Ideally, your church will always have something up on its story.
Stories are ideal for sharing photos of things as they happen and offering sneak peeks people can’t get anywhere else. This will encourage people to keep up with your Stories because, if they don’t view them while they’re live, they’ll miss out on the chance to see them! Your Stories can show the “in the making” of the things you post later in the week or month.
You should also consider Instagram TV, which could be a great platform for a church interested in producing videos. If you think that’s something your followers would be interested in on Instagram, it’s definitely something to try out.
#7 Focus on Calls-to-Action
All of your church’s content ultimately needs to center around your mission and common goals. While some posts will have different calls-to-action than others — like one asking for volunteers and one encouraging donations — they should all tie together. When someone visits your church’s Instagram page, they should have an overall feeling of wanting to participate.
Grow Your Church Following Today
Through compelling imagery that connects to your church’s story and resonates with your audience, your church’s Instagram page can grow exponentially, all while you enjoy greater in-person participation, too. Here at DonorWerx, we help churches every day take the step into the digital world and start growing their congregations.
Are you interested in learning more about how DonorWerx can help take your church to the next stage of growth? Schedule a Discovery Call today.