As the digital revolution continues to rock our worlds, our preferred methods of storytelling on social media adapt to the newest technology. We’re talking about Stories. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have all considered this to be a game changer and adapted their platforms to include Stories for their users.
Stories pull us in. We consider them to be an authentic expression or exchange of information – at a time where life seems to be highly curated. Our church is a multisite network of neighborhood churches. We enjoy cross-functional collaboration across our different ministries and campuses. One area of collaboration has been to identify effective engagement strategies on social media, so our Communications Department and Student Ministry have been testing a variety of Instagram Stories to see what works. There are many ways to approach Stories. We wanted to share six types that have worked well for us and listed them below. Feel free to personalize them to make them your own.
Ask a question: How can our staff pray for you this week? The questions sticker opens a great on-ramp into people’s lives. This simple question provides a window into the minds and hearts of your followers. Even people who may not go to your church, but follow you on Instagram, will interact with this question. To take this post to the next level, consider direct messaging every individual who submits a prayer request, letting them know they have been prayed for by people at your church. You can even set a reminder for yourself to follow up with the person who submitted the request via Instagram Direct Message (DM) if their prayer request has something to do with a specific date or time.
Quiz or Poll: What would you like to hear about in an upcoming sermon? The quiz sticker provides users with a way to gather creative insight from their followers. The quiz sticker allows the user to create multiple-choice questions to ask their followers, much like a trivia game. This helps you understand what’s happening in the lives of your church in terms of people’s interests and needs.
Engage with the culture of the moment: Is there a championship game coming up? What’s the traffic like on I-95? Boomerangs are a fun way to animate these questions. These are playful ways to engage with your audience and create some camaraderie.
Take the easy win: Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July are easy conversation starters. Asking what your followers have planned can also lead to an opportunity to invite them to events at your church.
Share other people’s post about you: When someone tags you in a great post, that’s worth sharing to your Instagram Story. Celebrate what you want to be repeated. Sharing the content one of your followers created communicates their importance to you. Simply put, the more content you share, the more they will post about you. Sharing is caring.
Countdown to big events and encourage others to share: The countdown sticker builds anticipation for an event and keeps it fresh on the minds of your audience. There is no shame in posting a countdown several times leading up to an event, trip, or worship service.
Instagram Stories are a fun and dynamic way to engage with your audience on a more personal level than a social media post. Need some help with formatting? There are several apps out there (like Unfold) that make it easy. The YouVersion Bible App can help you pair scripture with an image to create a social media graphic in minutes.
Have fun with testing the different stickers! Get creative with the nature of your questions. One of the questions we asked was, would you be interested in volunteer opportunities? We received yes responses, which created space for individual follow up conversations. The nature of Stories is that it’s a fleeting moment of interaction. Give yourself permission to try new things to spice up your Instagram game!
Tyler Core Student Pastor, Family Church Network
Tyler Core serves as the Student Pastor for the Family Church Network. He is married to his wife, Ashley, and they have a 2 year old son named Judah. Tyler is currently working on his Doctorate of Ministry in Strategic Leadership. Tyler has a Marketing degree from Samford university and has consulted on a number of social media campaigns for churches and nonprofits.
Carly Seelman Communications Manager, Family Church Network
Carly serves as the Communications Manager for the Family Church Network. Passionate and mission-driven, she seeks out opportunities to make an impact for the kingdom through marketing communications. With a diverse skill set shaped by working in the private and public sectors, she’s in pursuit of new approaches on how to enhance experiences through digital platforms.
Family Church is on mission to help families discover and pursue God’s design. We are a network of neighborhood churches in neighborhood buildings, led by neighborhood pastors. We are committed to pulling people in, lifting them up, and bringing them home to be a part of God’s family.