HOW DOES OUR CHURCH ENGAGE WITH LOCALS ON INSTAGRAM?
Most people are proud of their city. Otherwise they wouldn’t live there. Therefore using Instagram to celebrate and support your local community is an excellent way to build trust with your target audience. Be strategic by focusing some of your social content outward towards your city. When you intentionally take time to post content about your local community, people will start to embrace you. You want to be a church that is not just in your community, but a part of it.
Be a church that loves your city, and your city will love you back.
1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” So don’t just love your city in theory, love it with action. When there are big community events, show your pride by being there, and posting content on Instagram about it. Several options include local holiday celebrations, festivals, the opening of new businesses and restaurants, or even big high school or college sporting events. Be there. Show your excitement and support.
YOUR CHURCH CAN DOMINATE ON INSTAGRAM
One church in California is in a city that has a big weekly farmers’ market. Thousands of people attend, so this church decided to get involved and rent out a booth each week. They have a big banner that says “Coffee + Jesus” behind them, and anyone who stops by the booth gets a coffee and bottled water. Totally for free, no gimmicks. They pass out church invite cards on the tables, and offer to pray for anyone who wants it.
Every week they have Instagram stories and posts highlighting their farmers’ market and showing how fun it is. This has really helped this church become known and loved in the community. Instead of just doing posts about it, they put their love into action by being involved.
You have to know your city and your community. There is no cookie-cutter formula with this one; it takes an actual understanding of what your city is all about. If you make this a priority for your Instagram content, your community will see how you care, and they will respond to it.
While being involved in large events is great, that’s not the only way to show local support—just be a true local. A predominant church in Florida makes a big deal about small groups on their social media. They have content on their social media each week of families and friends gathering for things like dinner at a local restaurant or hanging out at the park. This allows them to celebrate that they are deeply rooted in the local culture, while at the same time promoting their small groups.
Trust me, being authentic and local is a big deal.
Be about what your community is about. Important stuff, fun stuff, stuff that needs to change. All of it.
Here is a great example of what I mean: a church that I work with is right in the heart of Alabama. Their town is pretty evenly split between
their loyalties for the two rival college football teams. Half of the city is Alabama Crimson Tide fans, and the other half is Auburn Tigers fans. If you know football, then you know that the fans of those teams take it pretty seriously! One day before the first college football game of the season, we did a post on the church’s Instagram that had both teams’ logos on it. The caption said “Help us solve a debate, who’s gonna be the best this year?” The response was crazy. Over all of the years consulting for social media content, this single post got some of the most engagement out of all the other posts that we have ever done. Period. We got involved with what the community already loved. It was fun, lighthearted, and it worked.
Make an intentional practice with your church’s Instagram profile to include a healthy balance of community-focused content.
Over time, people will be much more likely to trust you with spiritual advice if they already like what you stand for.
Be strategic by being local.