Instagram is not a revolutionary social network, it is fairly limited in its approach to using and analyzing if what we do is effective. The visual social networking model on which Instagram is based, as a whole, is still greatly maturing into something more. Yet, organizations are diving into this network and finding great success in sharing their message, as well as a new marketing campaigns, to followers.
With its acquisition and integration into Facebook as well as an increasingly widespread mobile hardware market, the ceiling for Instagram is still unknown. It truly is on the cutting edge for new marketing and engagement with customers and followers. For the church that has taken a complete stake in relational ministry and is reaching out beyond its own walls to the community around them, this social networking tool could be your biggest asset in the next couple of months.
The Network’s Persona
Instagram is more than selfies. Content creators are looking for the beautiful and creative, while still sharing the story of the user that begins and continues with the dialogue through the description and comments. Teenagers have widely adopted communicating via images, grandparents love seeing images of their grandchildren, and people are finding unique ways of sharing 15-second videos with friends and family.
In our social media town, Instagram would be seen as coffee shops, movie theaters, parks, and other social events. This is because we are capturing moments to share with others and giving life to our stories online. It might be as simple as a single relationship that is remembered over coffee or it could be as big as a community-wide event that involves everyone and “where were you when” moments. While Instagram is limited in what you can do (it is not a substitute for Facebook or Google+), it has one specific intention that can serve the church well: (straight from their About Us webpage), “Share your life.”
The Network’s Lingo
- App – a mobile application on a tablet or smartphone. The only official way to fully utilize Instagram
- Post – content uploaded for viewing. Requires a video or photo
- Video – all videos must be between 3-15 seconds long
- Follower – a person that subscribes to your gallery and all uploads
- Gallery – the full collection of ones photos
- Filters – photo editing presets to stylize uploaded photos
- Hashtag – (# symbol) ways to categories via a keyword or united phrase. Hashtags are searchable and allow networking
- Like – a way to give positive feedback with things you care about
- Instagram Direct – private messages to a max of 15 followers
To read more about Instagram in order to determine if this social network is right for your church, please download our free ebook below.