Using Instagram in Student Ministry

instagram-logo-whiteOver the past few months I have been using Instagram more and more in our student ministry. For a long time Facebook was the best place to be for promoting events and connecting with students online. However, students are leaving Facebook and spending more time on Twitter and Instagram (click here to see how you can use Twitter in your student ministry). Even though I still use Facebook and Twitter in our student ministry, I am spending more time and putting more energy into using Instagram. I want to share with you a few thoughts on using Instagram in student ministry.

Create an Instagram profile for your student ministry. Everything I share from this point forward will be pointless if you don’t already have an Instagram profile. You may have a personal profile for yourself, but I would encourage you to make one for your student ministry. We have a Instagram profile for both our middle school ministry and high school ministry.

Promotion. The main way you can use Instagram in your ministry is for promoting upcoming events, series, and your student ministry in general. Whenever we start a new a series I will post the series graphic on our Instagram and invite students to join us for the start of that series. Also, when events are coming up I will use Instagram to promote it weeks leading up to the event. Not only series and events, but we use Instagram to simply get the word out about our ministry and when we meet. Every Tuesday morning, I post something on high school ministry Instagram inviting students to join us that night for our weekly gathering. I do the same every Wednesday morning for our middle school ministry. The best way to create a quality graphic for promoting things on Instagram is to use the app Over. It’s simple and easy to use.

Connect with students. I know connecting with students in person is way better than online, but let’s face it, we would be foolish to totally ignore the fact that we can effectively connect with students online as well. Instagram is a great place to do just that. This may be best done with your personal Instagram account instead of the student ministry account, but either way, connect with your students. “Like” their pics and even comment when it’s appropriate.

Post pictures and videos instantly from an event or during your weekly program. Whenever your in the middle of an event, retreat, mission trip, or weekly program, post a picture or video so others can see what’s going on. This is a great way for other students to see what your ministry is like. They may see a picture and want to come and check out your ministry! Also, this is a great way for parents to see pictures of their children and the ministry they are in. Plus, students will see pictures of themselves later on and generate some traffic as they “like” it and maybe comment on it.

Live pictures. There is this awesome program called Instafeed Live you can use to have Instagram photos be posted live on the screen at your event or weekly program. You simply create a hashtag for your ministry or an event then when students post a picture on Instagram with that hashtag in the caption it comes up on the screen. It will then live stream all the pictures that have posted with that hashtag. We used this at one of our events this past Fall and the students loved it!

You may be doing some of these things already, but if not, consider leveraging Instagram in your student ministry. Students are there and it’s a great place to get the word out about your ministry.

Promoting Your Student Ministry Events

megaphone-300x300One of the most important aspects of any event is promotion. Promotion will make or break your event. This is especially true in student ministry. You can plan the most epic event ever, but if you don’t promote it well it will fail. Effectively promoting your student ministry events will help make them more successful. I want to share a few tips for promoting your student ministry events to your students.

Use social media. When it comes to promoting events for your students always use social media. Students are already on social media so if you promote events on social media sites they will be sure to see it. Facebook events are a great resource for this kind of thing. Great way to invite students to events via Facebook and also a great way to quickly share the event so students can see it on their timelines. Twitter and Instgram are also great places to promote your student ministries events. I usually tweet about an event every few days leading up to it. I also have been using apps like Over to create Instagram pictures to promote our events on Instagram.

Send out a mass text. If you don’t have a tool for sending mass text messages out to your students than get one asap! I use Group Text! for iPhone to send out mass text messages to our students. Whatever tool you decide to use, make sure and promote your events via text messages. Send out a mass text a few days before an event to remind students about it.

Create postcard sized handouts. For every event we create a postcard sized handout that has a well-designed graphic for the event and all the details students need to know about it. We usually start passing these out a few weeks in advance at our mid-week gatherings, church services on Sunday, and whenever we are out and see students. Also, this is a great way to get students to promote events themselves. Give each student a stack of postcards and let them go pass them out at school or in their community.

Have a creative announcement time during your mid-week or weekend gatherings. Don’t overlook the importance of promoting upcoming events on a weekly basis as part of your mid-week or weekend gatherings. However, be creative in how you promote events during the “boring” announcement time. Don’t just get on stage and tell them what’s coming up. Do a video or something crazy to get there attention and make the event stick.

These are just a few ways we promote events that will work well for your ministry as well. Remember, promotion is one of the most important parts of making an event go well so put energy into promoting it effectively.