A recently-released Pew Research Center survey shows what anyone with a teenager already knew – Instagram usage is on the rise.
Although Facebook remains king of social networks in terms of usage with 71% of adults having a presence, that number held from the previous year’s survey. Though the percentage of usage among adults remains in the 20s, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter saw an increase in those figures from 2013.
The biggest increase out of those networks belonged to Instagram, up from 17% in 2013 to 26% in 2014. Despite the fact it now has a higher usage than Twitter, though, the site has largely been off churches’ radar.
“Instagram is the overlooked social network with churches,” explains Lacey Graham, Georgia Baptist Convention state missionary who serves as the GBC’s web and social media administrator. “The best reason to create an Instagram account for your church is to extend what your church already does: create relationships. Instagram allows you to connect with people throughout the week using a tool most people are already using.”
Another reason to establish an account is to reach those in their 20s – a season of life many step away from the church. The survey showed that over half of all Instagram users are those ages 18-29. For those outside of that demographic, the service is becoming more than just a place for selfies as accounts have been established for various government departments, news outlets, and professional sports teams.
As with any social media presence, Graham warns about organizations going in without a plan.
“Having an Instagram strategy is just as important as having the account,” she says. “Best practices would be to post an image or 15-second video three to four times a week. Use it to share pictures of events birthdays, baptisms, new members, and behind-the-scenes moments.
“Instagram also allows you to connect to Twitter accounts and Facebook pages so your photos can go directly to each of those social networks, which saves time. Include your Instagram username in church bulletins, announcement slides, and your website.”
In addition to The Index (@christianindex), the Georgia Baptist Convention (@connectgbc) is also on Instagram.