If your parish is ready to expand to a second social media platform in addition to Facebook, consider Instagram. Instagram has taken off in the last several years and is a favorite among younger Millennials and members of Generation Z.
Instagram has about half as many users as Facebook, and the average age of users is much lower than its parent platform. Many of your faithful, young parishioners attending weddings, first communions, baptisms and other events are likely tagging your church in their Instagram photos, even if you don’t have an account.
So what is there to consider in setting up your parish’s own Instagram account?
1. Set up the page as a business account rather than a personal account. This will allow you to connect it to your Facebook page and publish to both platforms at the same time.
2. Identify who will contribute content and how often you will post. Some parishes actually do “Instagram by committee,” where several talented parishioners post sunrises and sunsets, their favorite art at the parish, sunlight coming in through stained glass windows, and so on.
3. Ensure that the design and voice of your account are reflective of your parish community.
4. Use pictures of your parishioners to build community.
5. Start using hashtags, but don’t go overboard. Using one or two hashtags per post is just fine.
6. The focus of Instagram is much more on artistic photos, filter use, etc. – so consider taking some artsy pictures around your parish and see what catches on.
7. While being aware of artistic trends, also make sure your content can be easily taken in by people of all ages. Be cognizant of font and color choices. Don’t let the art overshadow the message you are trying to send.
Remember, the goal is to get people to stop scrolling, connect with your content, and engage with your parish community. Doing so with some forethought and creativity can go a long way to connecting with younger parishioners and spiritual seekers online, with the ultimate goal of drawing them close to your church community.
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Prenger Solutions Group is a specialized Catholic fundraising firm that uses technology to help parishes, schools and dioceses raise more money with fewer headaches. PSG’s fundraising and communications experts have raised more than $450 million for Catholic causes while helping more than 4,000 parishes to engage and inspire their parishioners through social media. Nic Prenger is the CEO of Prenger Solutions Group.