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Instagram and the Visual Web

Instagram and the Visual Web

Posted February 6, 2019 by Bryan Haley

“Your church’s online presence must become more visual.”

Jerod, Church Juice’s founding producer, said this back in 2012. And it’s still true today. Many churches are slow to adapt, slow to change. But we must not get left behind on this front. So let me say it again: your church’s online presence must become more visual.

I’m not saying you need a full-time professional photographer on staff to document every Sunday service or midweek Bible study. But I am saying that you should commit to taking more pictures, and using those pictures to visually share your church’s story.
 

Church, Meet Instagram

If you don’t know Instagram, it’s time the two of you met. At its core, Instagram is about sharing pictures with a minimal amount of text. Friends can like or comment on photos. It’s like Facebook if you removed everything but the pictures. (It’s worth noting that Facebook owns Instagram, although it functions as a separate project.)

Instagram has more than 1 billion users (more than 1/10th the world’s population). Many churches are trying to grow younger (reach more young people). So, hear this, 540 million, or 64% of Instagram users, are ages 18-34. But it’s not just young people using Instagram.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Lili Hayes (@lili_hayes) on

 

If a large segment of your church’s audience is under the age of 45, or you’re trying to reach more of this audience, you need to think about your visual presence, and think about including Instagram in your communication strategy. Even if you choose to remain on other platforms, it’s important to realize the impact that Instagram and visual stories have had on Facebook and Twitter.
 

The Visual Web

Your church may not need to utilize Instagram. But even if you’re not thinking about using this newer social platform, you should recognize that its popularity exemplifies the increasingly visual nature of the web.

The right image can say more than a block of text. Some cliché experts would even suggest that it’s more powerful than 1000 words. A website shouldn’t be an epic novel. People who come to your website aren’t looking for a complex narrative. They want to find the information they’re looking for, and they want to find it quickly.

Yes, quality writing still matters. Being creative with the words you use makes your website stand out. But think about how images could replace some of the things you write—because your words become even more powerful if there are fewer of them on a page.


 

This is an updated article originally published by Jerod Clark, Church Juice’s founding producer, in 2012.

 

Filed under: Social Media, Instagram

About the Author

Bryan Haley

Bryan joined the ReFrame Media team in 2017 with a passion to help churches reach people with the gospel using effective church communications. As producer for Church Juice, Bryan helps congregations energize their church communications by overseeing the Church Juice blog, publishing in-depth ebook resources, and developing training on topics like marketing, branding, social media, internal communications, and website development.

Bryan brings years of communication and outreach experience gained both in full-time church ministry and the field of church website design. Bryan and his wife, Denae, enjoy Michigan summers, Detroit sports, and family time.

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