Your Ministry Needs to Double Down on Instagram

This week, Instagram launched a brand new feature: Instagram Stories.

Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.

If you read that and thought: “That sounds familiar.”  You’re right.  The new Stories feature of Instagram is very similar to the My Story feature of a Snapchat.

There’s one big difference: this one is BUILT INTO INSTAGRAM.

That little fact right there is a game changer.

 

Don’t Get Confused: I Still Love Snapchat

It’s no secret – I’ve been pretty vocal about my love of Snapchat.  I was one of the first people to start encouraging telling youth ministers they should need to be on Snapchat.

I still think that youth ministers should be on Snapchat too, but getting active on Instagram Stories is a much easier sell in a world where people are still terrified of Snapchat.

 

Why Instagram Stories Is Awesome

  1. It’s built right into Instagram.  I can’t oversell the importance of that enough.  It’s built into one of the most popular apps among teenagers – so you know they’ll be using it!
  2. It’s super intuitive.  If you know how to use Instagram, you’ll have no problem using it.  You’re not having to relearn a whole new app (which a lot of people complain about with Snapchat).
  3. It’s at the top.  It’s not buried into the app.  It is front and center top.  The placement of it is key – it’ll quickly become part of your Instagram checking routine.

 

How You Should Be Using Instagram Stories

  1. Go behind the scenes.  Share with your teens (and the world) a glimpse at what youth ministry is really all about.  The setup, the clean up, the planning, the paperwork, the spontaneous dance breaks.  Be quick and be real.
  2. Share a story.  Tell a quick story about your life.  Bonus points if it somehow connects to the program, the readings or the topic of the week.
  3. Asking questions.  Get them thinking about topics you’ll be discussing this week.  Maybe even ask them questions based on that day’s readings.
  4. Get biblical.  Share a daily verse and reflection.  Works even better if you pair it with a daily-readings-inspired Instagram post.
  5. Point the camera at them.  Let them do recaps, reflections and shout outs.

 

Make It Part of Your Instagram Strategy

Hopefully you’ve already been putting some time and effort into using Instagram in your ministry.  (If not, check out this free webinar to help you get started.)  It’s time to double-down on those efforts.

Start spending even more time building your Instagram presence – both with “normal” Instagram posts and with Stories.  This new rollout means teenagers are going to be on Instagram even more than they were before.  Make sure you’re there too.

 

If you need content for Instagram, we’re giving away 120 free Catholic social media images over at FreeCatholicImages.com.  They’ll work GREAT on Instagram.

 

So what do YOU think about the latest Instagram feature?

What the new Instagram Stories feature means for youth ministers everywhere.

Michael Marchand

Michael is a Catholic evangelist, author and speaker.

After spending 11 years as a parish youth minister, Michael left parish ministry to work full-time with ProjectYM (a ministry he cofounded a few years earlier).

Michael's resume also includes preaching gigs at events and conferences around the world, a Catholic theology degree, authoring a book on Catholic evangelization, years of training and consulting with parish/diocesan leaders on technology and social media, countless online projects, and the founding of 2 ProjectYM mission bases: one in Uganda and one in Chattanooga, TN.

Michael is blessed to be part of an amazing missionary family. Michael, his beautiful wife (Crystal) and three kids recently settled in Chattanooga to serve the local Church there.



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