On Instagram, users can connect with a global community which shares millions of photos and videos every day. This social platform works best on your mobile phone, and it is a wonderful place to explore the world and find like-minded individuals.
Instagram has become an indispensable social media outlet, particularly for engaging with young people. The current estimate of Instagram users in the UK is over 20 million users, with 55% of them being female and 69% of the users being 34 years or younger.
Choosing a username
You can use up to 30 characters for your username. Try to make your Twitter and Instagram usernames the same – this will make it easier to let people know about your social media accounts.
Writing a bio
Create a short and simple description of your church, where it is and your purpose and values. You may copy your Twitter biography for the blurb.
Choose a profile picture
Your profile photo should either be a photo of your church building, something that clearly identifies your church, or the Church of Scotland logo (which can be found on our visual identity page). The image size must be 110 x 110 pixels.
Adding a link
If you have a church website then you can add a link to it on your Instagram profile. If you do not have a website then include a link to your Facebook page instead.
Key features of Instagram
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the hash symbol #, used on social media to identify messages on a specific topic.
Even more than Twitter, Instagram is driven by hashtags. Hashtags are how your photos will be found and how you can brand your congregation. Make an effort to assign relevant and original hashtags when promoting a church event. Use hashtags on all your image captions. This groups the photo with other photos of similar themes so that when people search, your photos can be found.
Unlike Twitter, you can use many hashtags on your posts. In order not to overload your posts with hashtags, you can add your hashtags as a comment below your photo. We have found 8 to 11 hashtags work best. Learn more about how to use hashtags.
When posting an image to Instagram you are given the option of choosing from over 20 different filters to apply to your image. A simple tint could turn amateur looking photos into professional pieces with the tap of a finger.
Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. This feature is a little more advanced and we do not recommend that you focus on this while you are just getting started.
Ways to engage your followers
Here are few ways to engage with your audience on Instagram:
- Post every day, or at least frequently
- Share short sermon clips that share positive, powerful messages
- Share one or two meaningful pictures of your events – always pick your best
- Post inspiring graphics, quotes, and meaningful scripture
- Share graphic event reminders or announcements for upcoming events
- Use relevant hashtags
- Tag your volunteers in your photos – people love social media praise (you will need their Instagram usernames to tag them)
- Use Instagram stories to share some favourite moments of your day and to highlight your church's events, services, and people
- Showcase the projects you are working on, charities you are working with and milestones within your congregation
- Share other people's photos of your church, services or community (just make sure to ask for permission first)
- Go behind the scenes in your church
Instagram accounts of churches in the Church of Scotland: