Getting the Most out of Instagram

Getting the Most out of Instagram

July 11, 2016 by

Chances are if you’re alive and breathing, you’re familiar with the juggernaut that is Instagram.

While it may have started out as a little photo app, Instagram has become one of the largest and most influential social networks available today. And it’s not hard to see why—it’s easy-to-use and based entirely on visual communication.

I know you’ve got an account. You’re probably posting content every now-and-then. But are you maximizing Instagram’s full potential? And are you expanding your reach in ways that are effective?

Here are a few ideas on doing just that.

Be Consistent

Whatever the content, try to keep it varied, but make sure to post consistently.

Whether you are using Instagram personally, professionally for your church or both, consistency is key.

If you’re posting once every few weeks, that doesn’t communicate to me that you care much about being there. It communicates you don’t have anything important to say.

At the same time, if you’re posting multiple times a day every day, that might be over-communicating and driving your followers away.

So find a good balance.

I’d suggest aiming for three-to-five posts spread throughout the week. Again, Instagram is all about visual communication, so you’re going to be using personal photos, sharing quotes or scripture verse graphics, posting video of your ministries and promoting upcoming events visually.

Consider doing regular weekly posts. Our church does Staff Spotlights and “Thursday Thoughts” from our Kid’s Ministry account.

Whatever the content, try to keep it varied, but make sure to post consistently.

Utilize Hashtags

Hashtags are often undervalued on Instagram, but they are absolutely essential to getting the most out of it.

Hashtags are often undervalued on Instagram, but they are absolutely essential to getting the most out of it. Make sure you are using relevant hashtags with your photos.

When it comes to using Instagram for your church, come up with a church-wide hashtag and use it everywhere. Sometimes series-specific hashtags are also helpful, especially if you’re trying to get people in your church to post about it.

For your personal Instagram, investigate what hashtags others in your area of ministry are using and apply those to your posts so that people can find you.

Don’t forget to utilize Instagram’s Search option to browse through hashtags that interest you and connect with others. You can meet a lot of incredible people and get some great ideas simply by scrolling through ministry-related hashtags.

A few that are widely used to get you started: #crtvmin, #kidmin, #stumin.

Talk Back

Instagram is a visually based communication platform, but there’s still a lot of room for conversation.

It’s been said over and over again not to forget the “social” aspect of social media, but only because it’s so very important. And Instagram is no different when it comes to this.

Don’t just use it for posting at people. It is a visually based communication platform, but there’s still a lot of room for conversation.

At the very least, you can be commenting on others’ posts, replying to those who comment on yours and following people back who follow you.

This is going to show that there’s a real person on the other side of your account—a person who has something to say and who is there to have a conversation, not just to spew content haphazardly.

Be Authentic

Whatever you do, do it in a way that communicates authenticity.

Whatever you do, do it in a way that communicates authenticity.

Your church posts are going to be more professional than what you share personally, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be genuine.

Insert personality. Be transparent. Ask questions.

There’s a lot we can learn about you and your church from a photo and a couple sentences in the caption. And people are going to scroll by whatever it is fast, so it’s even more important that you make sure you’re communicating the truth of who you are and what you stand for authentically.

Instagram is an incredible tool. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So we need to make sure we are jumping in with both feet and using it to its fullest, remembering that it’s another opportunity to bring light and love into the world.

Social media is a privilege, friends. Are we using this particular network well?

Post By:

David Clark


David is the technical arts and production coordinator at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church in Bloomington, Ind. He loves running, social media and Chipotle.
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