Can Instagram Work for your Parish?

August 20, 2020  •   LPi

person taking picture with smartphone of food

You already know that keeping your parish current on social media trends is just as important as any of your ministry offerings. More than likely, you already keep your website updated, post to Facebook regularly, and upload videos to YouTube. But are you active on Instagram? As the third most popular social media app, with 1 billion users, it seems like a no-brainer, but there are things to consider before investing your time in that platform. Is it right for your parish? How can it affect who your reach?

Who is using Instagram?

Instagram does not reach as wide of an audience as Facebook; according to Pew Research, 37% of American adults were on Instagram in 2019, and more than two-thirds (67%) were in the 18-29 demographic. It’s used by more women than men (43% to 31%) and tends to skew more urban than suburban or rural (46% to 35% and 21%, respectively).

However, it is preferred by younger audiences — 72% of U.S. teens use Instagram, as opposed to 51% who use Facebook. These factors are important to consider before you start a parish Instagram. If you have an active youth or young adult program, or if you are located in an urban area with a younger population, then Instagram is something you should consider. Most users (63%) log on once a day, and when they do, they spend an average of 28 minutes on the site.

Who would run your page?

Whoever you choose to run your page, it should be someone familiar with social media practices who is able to maximize its impact. This could be a communications manager already tasked with updating social media for the parish. This responsibility could also fall to a youth minister, religious education coordinator, or possibly even the parish priest.

What kind of content will you use?

You can use a blend of content you create, stock images, and content from other Instagram users on your page.

  • Maintain a library of photos of your church. Take pictures of the sanctuary, crucifix, statues, stained-glass windows, liturgical items, or anything else you find visually interesting. You can use Canva to easily add Scripture verses, quotes from saints, or event information on top of the photos. WeCreate  has a wide variety of photography, clip art, and more, many of which are designed to be used for social media purposes.
  • Post pictures from parish events and Masses. Use your Instagram to feature your vibrant faith community.
  • Feature individuals, families, and volunteers; ask them to write a testimonial or record a video of them talking about their faith and how it affects their lives, and what they love most about the church and their parish. (Look at One Billion Stories for inspiration.)
  • Share content from others on the platform; for example, Pope Francis, Vibrant Parishes, FOCUS, or catholic_teen_posts.

Is Instagram something you would consider for your parish? Are you already using it? How do you use it? Let us know below!

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