As a church leader with limited time, you want eyes on your social media posts–and more importantly, you want to reach people. To stand out in the crowd, follow churches and/or brands that stand out for powerful reasons.

 

Here are five Instagram accounts I follow, what they get right, and the 15 things your church can learn from them.

 

Sanctuary Church in Providence, Rhode Island, just “gets it” on Instagram.

Their artsy posts appeal to young people (Millennials, Gen Xers, and Gen Z.) who are looking for something that “fits” them at church.

 

1.  Authenticity

Create Instagram posts that show authenticity. It’s what people crave from the church today.

2.  Beauty

Sanctuary Church shoots scenes in their church building from artistic angles that reveal beauty.

3. Social Impact

Share Instagram posts that reveal the social justice and ministry side of your church to appeal to younger generations.

 

 

Real Simple Magazine’s Instagram account does three things well that churches can learn from.

1. Consistent Branding

With your team, figure out what your brand is–colors, fonts, images. And post those things that are consistent with your brand.

2. Humor

Humor isn’t easy but it’s a powerful magnet for people’s attention. And it says something about your church when you have a sense of humor.

3. Appeal to Emotions

You may think animal posts or cute kids or amazing sunsets are cheesy, but look at how many likes this sweet dog got. Instagram is not about conveying information as much as it is about appealing to emotions.

 

Mike Foster is one of the most effective “public profiles” on Instagram.

1. Relationships Count

Mike does a great job of introducing his followers to his friends. Just think of all the great people in your church that you could introduce to the world.

2. Post Consistently.

Mike does a great job of posting consistently to keep his followers engaged. Once a month isn’t consistent! Go for several times a week to create an engaged audience.

 

3. Inspire Your Audience.

Mike is always posting creative sayings and inspirational quotes that his audience looks forward to. You can post Scriptures, quotes, memes, and more.

 

Freeskiermagazine has 287k followers. And they never disappoint their fans.

1. Post Aspirational Images.

What images could you post that would make people aspire to be in your environment? Friends having coffee, a child giving a hug, people laughing. Post images that make people want to be there!

 

2. Post Adventurous Images.

What’s exciting about being a part of your church? Think youth group images–and you’re there.

 

3. Get the Adrenaline Pumping.

Ok, so you’re not going to post images like this happening at your church, but what about your church calls out to people’s spirits? Powerful worship? Sunrise service? The point is to think about how people will react when they see your image. An ahh! An ooh! A wow!

 

Compassion International is an amazing example for Instagram posts for your children’s ministry.

1. Post close-ups of children for best photography.

Wide shots of groups of children on Instagram aren’t effective. Instead zoom in tight and let people see a child’s eyes–the window to their soul. You’ll get an ahhh!

2. Show the need.

If you’re trying to call people to ministry, help them see the difference that they’ll be making. Compassion is masterful at this!

3. Involve people.

This was a great Instagram campaign that Compassion did where they invited people to post selfies of themselves and their sponsored children. What could your church do during a campaign? For a “love your neighbor” campaign, invite people to post photos of themselves with neighbors. For a series on “overcoming obstacles,” have people post photos of themselves on a mountaintop or achieving a goal.