Seth Muse The Seminary of Hard Knocks

Seth has been in ministry for over 20 years, recently serving as Communications Director at a thriving church in North Dallas. He is also the host of The Seminary of Hard Knocks podcast and blogs at read more

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Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 1 billion users (and growing). It’s utilized by photographers, restaurants, entrepreneurs, authors, and more. But it’s not just for these people – Instagram is a fantastic tool to help your church reach more people, engage with the community, and share the Gospel farther than ever before! 

In this article, you’ll find 6 Church Instagram tips from Seth Muse, host of the Seminary of Hard Knocks podcast and Instagram expert! Find even more tips by signing up for the 2020 Instasummit or, if you’re a CMU member, by checking out the Instagram Course inside Church Marketing University (you’ll see Seth in that course as a guest presenter!).

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert at taking photos with that perfect aesthetic. People want conversation, relationship, and glimpses into real life. Check out these tips for some easy ways to make that happen!

1 – Follow the Right People

Remember – the purpose of using Instagram is to make connections, so don’t just use it as a one-way communication channel. Follow other accounts so you can engage with their content!

Who should you follow with your church Instagram account? Seth recommends following your own congregation members, local businesses, official city accounts, and some friends of your followers. When deciding if you’re going to follow a friend of a follower or an account that follows you, make sure you check out the account first to verify it isn’t a spam account. 

2 – Social > Media

Don’t overthink this one. When you post on social media, focus on being social, not on making perfect media! It’s more than okay if your church account doesn’t look like a world-traveling photographer’s account! Your content should be about your people, so collect and share testimonials, create resources for families, and ask yourself “how can I create content to help people grow in the season they’re in?” 

Quality trumps quantity, so if you don’t have enough content to post daily, space it out throughout the week consistently. As Seth puts it, “we’re not about creating beautiful content, we’re about helping people connect with Jesus so He can turn their life into a beautiful thing.”

3 – Utilize Instagram Live

“Let it be raw… it’s ingrained in us to put our best foot forward [but] there’s so much grace on social.” -Seth Muse

Instagram Live is a great way for your church to connect with your congregation and community. Ask your pastor, staff members, and leaders to take turns going live on your church Instagram account. Share a thought, favorite Bible passage, project they’re working on, or church ministry update. Whatever you share, let it be real. People are used to seeing the Sunday morning polished presentation version of your leaders. Let them see the real, everyday version. 

4 – Put a Link in Your Church Instagram Bio

If someone was only going to see one page of your website, which would you want it to be? Put that link in your Instagram bio and reference it in your posts. Make sure the page is mobile-friendly and well designed so easy to find the information you’re looking for! Ideally, set up a webpage just for your Instagram content (thanks for this great idea, Tammy Burdick!)

5 – Engage and Grow

It takes time to develop a culture around your platform, so be patient if it doesn’t happen overnight. Ask your staff members to be the first to engage. Set aside time in your staff meetings to have each staff member:

  1. Log onto Instagram (ask one leader to use the church account and other leaders to use their personal accounts)
  2. Like 10 posts in their feed
  3. Comment on 2 posts in their feed

This shouldn’t take too long, but as you interact with other people’s content and start building a reciprocal relationship, others will see and start to engage back! Remember, we want to focus on the social in social media!

6 – Share a Story

Share a story – literally. The Instagram story feature is a great way to communicate with congregation members and the community alike! Try to post on your story around 5-10 times per day, any more than that and people may feel overwhelmed and skip to the next story. If you’re addressing something going on in the culture, community, or your church (such as updates on a building project, mission team, or your church’s response to a local or global disaster), utilize a story highlight on your profile so people can easily find the latest updates.

Bonus tip – use stickers on your story to increase engagement and create user-generated content to share. For example, set up your church as a non-profit on Instagram and use the donation sticker as a giving platform, or use questions and polls to crowdsource future content. If people don’t engage right away, ask your staff members to be the first to engage and lead the culture toward engagement!

Bonus- When Should I Start a Church Instagram Account?

If your church doesn’t already have an Instagram account, when’s the right time to start one? According to Seth Muse, it’s the right time when you can put in the time to talk to people on that platform. Social media is about conversations and relationships, not just content distribution. You’re here to connect and serve, so follow accounts, create real and helpful content, utilize all of Instagram’s features, and interact with your community and congregation.  You can do this! It may seem like a lot at first, but if you lean into this growing platform, you have the opportunity to reach more people, build more relationships, and share the Gospel message with your community in a bigger way!

Catch the Full Interview With Seth:

Instagram Tips For Churches

Seth Muse is joining us LIVE today at 11am Central with some great Instagram Tips for your church! During the LIVE, Seth will share his top Instagram tips for churches during the shelter in place and the upcoming relaunch of in-person gatherings. Are you on Instagram? Let's connect! https://www.instagram.com/churchmarketinguniversity/If you want more in-depth training, be sure to check out the InstaSummit. https://bit.ly/instasummit2020

Posted by Church Marketing University on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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