It’s no surprise that video content is becoming increasingly popular online. With the rise of YouTube, TikTok, and now Instagram Reels, we are exposed to hundreds of videos on a daily basis for the purpose of education, marketing, or purely entertainment. With video gaining traction among all industries, it’s becoming more appealing for churches to try their hand at it as well. So how do you determine if Instagram Reels is a good medium for your church’s communication strategy? And how do you decide the right approach for using Reels at your church?
Reels as Educational Tools
Using videos as educational tools isn’t a new practice in the church. With the rise of online and hybrid discipleship offerings in 2020, many churches have grown accustomed to creating long form video content for sermons, digital Bible studies, and more. Have you considered how to use short form videos (60 seconds or less) for educational purposes? Whether it’s Reels, TikTok, or even YouTube Shorts, a short inspirational message from your pastor or a quick did-you-know about a word of Scripture can get viewers excited to learn more, giving you the opportunity to direct them to your longer videos.
Reels as Marketing Tools
Sometimes church people – even church communicators – feel weird talking about marketing in regard to their ministry. If the term marketing is too corporate for your context, let’s reframe it as an invitation to deeper connection and understanding. According to a recent study by NogenTech, 91 percent of marketers are using video content in 2023. While video ads have been more polished in past years, the COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for the rise of unpolished, candid videos.
TikTok ads are looking less and less like traditional advertisements and instead reflecting regular content you would see scrolling through your For You tab. Their success comes down to one thing: telling a really good story. This works to the benefit of churches, many of whom don’t have money to dedicate to paid advertising. Think of how you can promote your upcoming programs or your weekly worship services by telling a really good story. This could be a story of transformation, a volunteer highlight, or simply a funny story that you tie into your main pitch. And the easiest part is that you can film these videos on a device you already own. Pull out a smartphone and start filming!
Reels as Entertainment Tools
Social media platforms are saturated with entertaining content. Show the lighter side of your church community by hopping on a trending sound or meme. Don’t be afraid to post something just because it’s fun – people like seeing each other’s humanity! You can search hashtags like #christianhumor #churchhumor to find inspiration. Look into some of my favorite videos lately:
- @whatsuphill/video/7199698251686169902">@whatsuphill: My Brain While Reading the Bible
- @tdfnashville/video/7225660304133328171?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7218784061052847662">@tdfnashville: Wes Anderson Movie
- @kaystew92/video/7218033712083094827?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7218784061052847662">@kaystew92: Church Prom
- @smalltownbiblequestions/video/7212325665172081966?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7218784061052847662">@smalltownbiblequestions: Christians After Church
- @trevornorris/video/7184581854652091694?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc&web_id=7218784061052847662">@trevornorris: 2000s VBS Kids
All in all, it’s important to determine the best tone for your church’s videos online and ensure that it aligns with your mission, vision, and values. Social media is one large experiment, so play around and see what content best connects with your community!