I see the same question a lot in Facebook groups.
No, not “how do I deal with trolls?”
Nope, not even “should I kill my bulletin?” The other one. The Meta, I call it.
“How can I create content that is engaging?”
That’s the one. That’s the stumper that seems to be asked more than anything else in communications groups. Especially when it pertains to Instagram. You’re screaming out into the void and nothing is coming back to you.
You may know that I love Instagram and have a pretty active thing going on over there. It’s where I see more interaction from those who listen to my podcast, read my blog, or just like to hang out. So, naturally, it’s the platform I gravitate towards for my church too.
When I took over our church Instagram we had 3,649 followers, we posted never, and had 0 comments on the average. We’ve now grown to 4,269 followers, we post once a day to the feed, every 2-3 days to stories, and have an average of 3 comments per feed post. I started in July 2017 and it is now April 2018 and I haven’t spent a dime on Instagram.
I normally don’t drop stats like that, but I wanted you to see that realistic growth at a large church isn’t easy, glamorous, or typically enormous (we grew 17%). I also wanted to show you that what I’m about to tell you works because it taps into our humanity, not just metrics.
How to Create Engagement on Instagram
I believe the best strategy for building engagement is the same strategy that Jesus used. It is the 1-2 combo of asking questions and telling stories. Today, I want to focus on asking questions because that’s how you revive and entice a sleepy audience and turn them into a fully awake and excited one.
Create graphics or videos for your Instagram that asks questions and then be prepared to respond when they begin commenting with their answers. If you’re not talking back, then this strategy falls flat, just like if you were in a coffee shop and asked a question, heard their answer, and didn’t respond. That’s what turns a conversation into an interview or worse, an interrogation, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sample Questions to Ask a Sleepy Audience
- How can we pray for you?
- What movies do you recommend for families to see this weekend and why? Tell us in the comments!
- What book or podcast are you reading that’s blowing your mind? Tell us in the comments!
- What’s your family’s favorite place to eat after church on Sundays? Link to the restaurant in the comments and tell us why you love them/what you get there.
- What Scripture has really spoken to you recently?
- Who do you know that volunteers here that are just awesome? Tag them and tell us why you think they’re great.
- What is God teaching you right now?
- How did you find our church and what made you stay/decide to call it home?
- What questions do your kids most often ask about God?
If you will view your Instagram account as a coffee shop where you’re having a conversation with friends that you know, they will respond and you may actually get to know them. Social media is social first and when you treat it that way, you’ll find it is a powerful tool to reach your audience when they aren’t at the church and build community with those who have never been.
Want more great Instagram ideas? Check out my free resource, 88 Ideas for Church Social Media Posts (fill out the form below) now and get tons of ideas for growing your church Instagram’s impact!
Creating content for social media is a pain. You have limited time and limited resources, so let me help you fill in some gaps with engaging, conversation-starting content your people will love. Whether you're getting started or just need a bail-out book when you've got nothing, this resource is incredibly helpful for today's church communicator.