We love getting social at VOUS. From the very beginning, social media has been such an integral part of our communications strategy. It keeps the VOUS Church community connected throughout the week while we’re not physically together. It also serves as a great way for people in our local community to discover us.

Instagram in particular has been a game changer. Through a little bit of trial and error, we’ve compiled a list of seven tips that we believe will help you achieve some good grammin’.

#1. Know your audience

Although it’d be a dream come true for your youth pastor, if the median age in your church is 52, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to to tell your audience that worship night “issa vibe” or that the 6PM service is “gonna be lit.” Know your audience and use language that will resonate with them.

It’s also important to know that each platform has its own median age. For example, the average active user on Facebook is 41 years old, and 90% of Instagram’s audience is under 35 years old. These stats give us a little more flexibility in how we communicate on each platform. As a general rule of thumb, always keep your target audience in mind.

#2: Consistency is key

In any relationship, people want to know what to expect from you. They want to know that they can rely on specific responses and behavior from you. It puts people at ease and paves the way for a genuine and organic connection. The same rings true for social media. Here are a few areas it’s important to be consistent in.

Be consistent with your voice

Your cadence, language, and tone should all be consistent and well thought out. A good place to start when developing this voice, would be to reference the language that’s ingrained within the culture of your organization.

Here are some questions to think of to help you get started:

  • What are our values and how do we reflect them with the things we say in the digital realm?
  • What are some phrases that we say or hear often in our church culture?
  • What are some things we DON’T say?
  • Do we use casual language laced with pop-culture references? Or, is our language a little more formal?
  • Who are we speaking to (who’s your target audience?)

At VOUS, we use positive, inclusive, and inviting language that lets people know they are loved, and have a home, because people are our heart. We honor servant leaders through our social media platforms, for their dedication and hard work, because honor is our calling.

Your online voice is just an extension of who you really are, so they should reflect the values you live out.

Be consistent with your aesthetic

Being consistent with your aesthetic is always crucial to getting peak engagement. The data shows us that editing your Instagram photos and videos can increase engagement by more than 45 percent. It’s always best to decide upfront, what your photo editing style will be, and stick to that style so your Instagram feed is cohesive. We’ll get more into detail about your Instagram feed a bit later, but here are a few apps that have robust editing features that can mean the difference between an amateur or professional result.

  1. VSCO Cam
  2. Snapseed
  3. Priime
  4. Afterlight

Be consistent with the details

“It’s all in the details!” We’ve all heard it before, but it’s surprisingly true! The details are the difference between something that’s good and something that’s excellent. So, what exactly are the “details” in this context?

Here are some examples:

  • Do you write your hashtags #inalllowercase or do you #CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord?
  • Do you write 7:00AM or 7AM?

Again, these may seem like small details, but in the grand scheme of things, they make a huge difference. A good way to ensure consistency is to create a style guide for all digital and print communications. A style guide provides clear direction for all of your church’s messaging and makes sure all communications teams are on the same page.

Be consistent with post frequency

Make it a point to post at least once a day, Monday – Saturday, and multiply your efforts on Sunday. Instagram’s algorithm gives favor to accounts who post consistently. Do this and your reach and overall online presence will be increased dramatically.

#3: Your IG feed is your first impression

Researchers say it takes only 1/10th of a second for the human brain to experience and store a first impression. It just so happens that the very first thing someone will see when they look at your Instagram account is your feed. To create a consistent feed, you need to view your Instagram as a whole rather than as separate photos. How your pictures look together is equally important as how they look by themselves. Being intentional about how your images look makes for a more visually appealing social media presence that lends you more credibility.

Here are some quick tips to make sure you’re leaving the best first impression:

Choose photos that show human emotion

Passion, love, joy, excitement, wonder. These are all the emotions that we want people to connect to our church. When you post images that represent emotion, you pull the viewer into the scene and evoke that same emotion from them. Taking candid photos of genuine expressions of emotion is a great place to start.