There are 168 hours in a week. Your parish knows that only one half of one percent of that time is spent in the four walls of the church. Your parish is dedicated to digital communication and online parishioner engagement. Beyond a website, there are numerous social media apps to pick from. Facebook is a no-brainer for most parishes, but what about its sister app, Instagram? Here are a few things to consider before creating a parish Instagram account.
Who Do You Want to Reach?
Unlike Facebook, which has a broader swath of users, Instagram generally skews younger. Pew Research found that while 55% of 18-29 year olds used Instagram, the number is almost cut in half with each succeeding generation. 28% of 30-49 year olds and only 11% of 50-64 year olds use the app. If your parish is primarily school-age families with little outreach to younger adults, Instagram might not be the most effective form of communication. However, if you want to digitally engage the next generation of parishioners, Instagram could be a tool to do that.
Will this Be Parish-Wide or Parish-Related?
While many Christian churches have been using Instagram for some time, the app is less widespread among Catholic parishes. Depending on the demographics of your parish, you might find that a parish-wide Instagram isn’t the best fit. You may want to consider targeting your Instagram to youth ministry, like this parish in Texas . For an example of Instagram specific to young adult ministry, check out Brew City Catholic.
Do You Have Someone to Run the Account?
For Instagram to work well, it should be updated at least once a day. This means someone in your office — or a dedicated volunteer who understands your social media policies — should be specifically charged with keeping things updated. Whether it’s your youth minister or your parish priest , someone with dedication and creative vision must be in place.
Where Will the Content Come From?
Creating new imagery every day can be time-consuming. If you’re going to launch a parish-related Instagram, you’ll need a plan for content. It can take time to capture the right feel for your parish, but here are some ideas to get you started.
- Use an easy design app like Canva to create simple, attractive posts that showcase your parish events. This could be for Sunday Mass, formational nights, or major parish social events.
- Include parishioner highlights with personal testimonies, “volunteer of the week,” or ministry snapshots. See One Billion Stories for examples.
- Repost content from other sources, like sanctuary photos from Roamin’ Catholic Churches, the day-to-day life of Pope Francis, inspiration from Vibrant Parishes, or lifestyle quotes from the Living Person.
Launching a parish Instagram account can be a great way to foster consistent, visual communication and share stories. Does your parish use Instagram?