Lessons We Learned From the Top Churches on Instagram
Writer + Creator of CRTVCHURCH
T hese days with the ability to connect with so many influential churches and leaders you can quickly learn incredible social media knowledge just by observing. I like to call this process creative thinking.
By regularly checking out what others are doing on Instagram, you can find ways to adapt their methods for your church creatively.
To save you some time, we’ve taken a look at our influences, and we are going to pass what we’ve learned from them onto you.
1. Elevation/Steven Furtick: Creates an Interactive Instagram Story
We adopted a unique approach to our Instagram Stories early on, and to be candid we thought we were geniuses. That is until we saw Steven Furtick’s Instagram Story, that day we stopped patting ourselves on the back, and realized we had a lot to learn.
Most of Furtick’s/Elevation’s Instagram Stories play out as you would expect. They either promo an upcoming series/event, show off BTS or recap something that has already happened.
But, that’s not all.
There are two Instagram Stories that they produce that are brilliant:
1. Wallpapers: Every week or so, they drop a fresh set of phone backgrounds, and instead of driving you to a website, they prompt you to hold down on the screen and take a screenshot. Boom! You have a new wallpaper.
2. Interactive Trivia: “Can you guess this sermon series?” This has become my favorite games to play. This Instagram Story is produced sporadically and gives a viewer an interactive element to their Instagram that causes everyone to engage automatically.
Another thing one can pull from Elevation/Steven Furtick’s Instagram Stories is they keep the content fresh. They’re mixing it up daily, and it keeps me wanting to go back to see what it next.
Elevation/Furtick is killing the Instagram Story game. We raise our Wacom Pens in salute.
TAKEAWAY: Take advantage of Instagram Stories and make them interactive.
2.Hillsong NYC: Uses Captions to Share the Truths of Others
Your photos matter, but what a caption says, can be impactful. The one thing I take away from Hillsong NYC is those captions can be more than one line from a sermon; they can tell the stories of others.
Take a look at this:
“I always grew up in the church, so to be honest I always had a relationship with God and Jesus but it wasn’t until I took a leap of faith and I moved here with no job, no family, no friends. It’s a terrible place to live and that journey was when God really walked in… God really sat down with me, and that’s when I realize what he has done with everyone else in my family, he can actually do for me.” - Christopher Flores #HillsongNYCStory
These stories showcase the culture and more importantly the people and their relationship with the church. They engage a user and subtly invite them to be a part of what God is doing by relating you to the story in the caption.
These captions prove storytelling doesn’t have to require a production team, all you need is a picture and a few lines of text.
TAKEAWAY: Write better captions!
3. Vous Church: Bringing Back Kodak Moments One Post at a Time
A church’s culture is its people. And, no one shows off their people quite like Vous Church.
Scrolling through their grid, one can easily see what makes Vous church great. There’s not a lot of sermon series promos, shots of the stage, or social cards, it’s just a TON of great Kodak moments from around their church + events of their people.
Whether intentional or not, this indirectly speaks to me that people are Vous Church’s top priority. It’s also a smart way to capture the culture of Vous Church.
TAKEAWAY: Take more pictures of individuals!
4. Campference: Considers the Grid vs. a Single Post
Campference is the Camp & Conference of Victory Youth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And, they give me serious grid goals.
What do I mean?
Well, if you scroll through their Instagram grid, you’ll notice they connect the images in their grid.
So, when mindlessly scrolling through your feed. You might not notice it, but once you land on their profile, you’ll realize a single image might be a piece of a larger puzzle. It’s almost a metaphor for our relationship with each other and how God sees a larger image when we only see a part (Jesus Juke.) Moving on!
TAKEAWAY: Respect the grid and respect the single image!
5. Free Chapel: One Church, All Ages.
My initial reaction to a church’s Instagram is: You should only promote “adult” events on your main church’s feed, and you should create a separate Instagram for youth or kids events.
The lesson Free Chapel teaches me is: it can be both, and both can be done very well. Take a look at these examples:
TAKEAWAY: There is more than one age group at your church.
Always keep an eye out for inspiration and learn from others. Observation is a powerful teacher.