What's in this session?

  • 1: Instagram Business (0:48)
  • 2: Buffer (2:59)
  • 3: Evernote (3:33)
  • 4: VSCO (4:21)
  • 5: Priime (5:33)
  • 6: Airdrop (6:06)
  • 7: Boomerang (7:40)
  • 8: Hyperlapse (7:47)
  • 9: Layout (7:57)
  • 10: Focus (8:14)
  • 11: Stop motion (Instagram stories feature) (8:46)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Alex Mills: Well hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show, where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication ship that we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined, as always, by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. And today we’re talking about 11 free social media tools for churches.

Brady Shearer: We all know how important social media is for the life of our church and its searchability online as well as just engaging our churches throughout the week at Seize the 167 life. So we wanted to take inventory, do an audit of the social media tools that we use that are free.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: The ones that are definitely integral to our activity on social media and share those with Pro Church nation.

Alex Mills: Sweet.

Brady Shearer: There’s 11 of them.

Alex Mills: 11 tools, 10 minutes or less.

Brady Shearer: So let’s dive right in.

Alex Mills: Let’s get into it.

Brady Shearer: Tool number one is Instagram Business Profiles. If you sign up for an Instagram account you are going to be given an Instagram personal profile. It is 100% free to change, to translate that profile over to a business account and the myriad of benefits exists but there’s really no downside to doing that. It doesn’t change the appearance of your profile or anything but what it does give you is a bunch of statistics and data that you can leverage to understand your audience more, to see how your posts are performing, dial into what’s doing well, what’s not doing well and give you insight into your activity on Instagram as a whole. So, we looked into our Instagram profile, The @BradyShearer account to see what kind of data is our Instagram business profile giving us and here are some of the interesting things that we found looking into that data.

First, I looked at what posts performed best on my Brady Shearer Instagram account. Now, I should make note that we have a professional photographer on staff who is highly skilled and yet the most popular posts …

Alex Mills: I hate this so much.

Brady Shearer: … of the last year, is a screenshot of a tweet.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: ‘Cause Instagram does not care.

Alex Mills: I know.

Brady Shearer: And as much as they will say, this is a visual aesthetic platform that’s all about beauty. No. It’s about screenshots of tweets.

Alex Mills: Just disrespectful.

Brady Shearer: It’s about stopping the scroll. And so these are the types of insights that you likely won’t gain unless you have the real hard data because who would’ve thought that a screenshot of a tweet would be my most popular Instagram post over the last year? No one.

Alex Mills: No.

Brady Shearer: Now we know. This is the type of data that’s important because when you know what’s working, you can do more of what’s working.

Alex Mills: Exactly.

Brady Shearer: And be more successful. Other interesting things … when it comes to my demographics on Insta … 72% men, 28% women and the biggest age demographic: 25-34.

Alex Mills: And what notably, on your Instagram account, one of the geographical locations, it might even be the top one for you is actually Brisbane in Australia, which is so interesting to me.

Brady Shearer: And another city that pops up all the time, Melbourne. So apparently the Aussies love the Pro Church nation.

Alex Mills: I guess so.

Brady Shearer: Canadians and Aussies.

Alex Mills: There you go.

Brady Shearer: Pap the power. Also, you can figure out when your followers are most active, which is hugely important for figuring out when you can post again. All through the business profile, 100% free.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: Tool number two. Buffer, Buffer is a social media scheduling tool for Twitter and Facebook and now, also Instagram.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: It has a free plan, a free forever plan, and all the tools that we share in this list, they’re not just tools that have a 30 day free trial. We’re talking about tools that have a free forever plan that is actually valuable and I think the free forever plan for Buffer allows, at this time, up to 10 scheduled posts and you can use that for as long as you need and if you need to upgrade to a paid plan, I think, their pretty much highest paid plan, they have enterprise accounts but, the one’s that your church will need, is like ten bucks a month. But, again, we’ve used it for free for years.

Alex Mills: Yes.

Brady Shearer: Tool number three that is also free, Evernote. Not only am I reading my Pro Church daily notes in my Evernote right now …

Alex Mills: As am I.

Brady Shearer: … but I use Evernote as my digital notebook for literally everything in my life. You never know when inspiration is going to strike, you never know when it’s going to be 1:00 am and you’ll be like I have an amazing idea for social media.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: If you do not write that down, you will lose it and then the next day you’ll be like, I had an amazing idea but I forgot it. There’s a whole episode of Seinfeld about this because that’s real life. Evernote, always in my pocket, in my mobile device. I can take it out, write down any of my ideas for social on the go and I know I’m never going to forget them.

Alex Mills: It also has a great desktop platform, as well.

Brady Shearer: It syncs everywhere, exactly. I use it on all the devices and it’s great. No matter what device you’re on at the time, it’s always there, so easy.

All right, so let’s just to tool number four, Visco, which I believe stands for Visual Supply Company. Visco is amazing for editing your photos and creating a very nice, aesthetic look when it comes to color grading and the such. Do you use Visco?

Alex Mills: I don’t anymore ’cause I use all my own presets but I did used to use Visco and there are presets built into Instagram and other photo apps but Visco does really have, in my opinion as a photographer, the best stylistic, like one click presets. Perfect for editing photos that you’ve taken on your phone, maybe you snapped some at church and you just want to have them pop a little bit. These presets are designed by photographers and ready for you to use for free on Visco just to kind of step up that level of imagery a little bit.

Brady Shearer: Another great way of using Visco is, on a Sunday morning, let’s say you have a photographer like Alex, and they’re shooting photos and most cameras now, DSLRs and micro 4/3 cameras, come with wifi so what you can do, you can take a photo on your DSLR and you don’t have to bring it into a light room or into an actual desktop or laptop, you can transfer it via wifi directly to your phone, edit within Visco, and then publish directly from there, which is an amazing use of a streamlined work flow using these new tools in tech.

Similar to Visco, another tool that I like is called Priime, it’s spelled with two I’s, not Amazon Prime, not Prime the Instagram time scheduling tool. It’s Priime with two I’s and what is different about Priime compared to Visco is Priime uses artificial intelligence to analyze the actual colors [crosstalk 00:05:48] in the photo that you’ve taken and then it will suggest a preset based on the colors and the overall profile of your photo so that you don’t have to go and say, maybe this preset’ll look good. It uses the intelligence of color theory, matches it with an existing preset, and pairs the two together.

Alex Mills: Very cool.

Brady Shearer: Very cool. Another tool that is free is Air Drop. When we were in Hawaii, we were hanging out with this guy named Alex, he’s a youth pastor, also a photographer. He was taking a bunch of photos throughout the day and instead of waiting to go home to transfer them, we would just turn on Air Drop and he would transfer them directly to me. So, again, the use case for this for church is, on a Sunday morning, let’s say Alex is taking the photos and editing them but he knows that I’m the one in charge of the social media for the church, he can capture the photos, Air Drop them to me, and then I can publish them directly from my social media accounts.

Alex Mills: I use Air Drop every single day and I’m shocked often, and this just happened this past weekend, with how many people are using Apple devices and don’t know about Air Drop. They’re like I’m messaging themselves photos and it’s like you can do this so much faster and so much more efficient with Air Drop and so if you’re in an image and you click on that little share drop button, Air Drop will be one of your options. You can share just about anything, files, music. Sending a full album worth of music over Air Drop is super fast. I do it between my computer, my wife’s computer, all the time. And yeah, it’s built in to every Apple device and ready for you to use.

Brady Shearer: Six tools down, five to go. The remaining five are all tools that are built directly within the native Instagram Stories editor. Instagram Stories continues to impress me with their new features and their innovation. What would normally take six different apps, you could do within the suite of Instagram Story apps and Instagram connected native apps. Those features include, there are five of them that I chose, that I use all the time that are amazing for creating content on the fly. Boomerang for Gifs. You do not need another app to create gifs. You can use Boomerang directly within Instagram Stories. Hyperlapse for time lapses. This is another app that you’ll need to download but it is made by Instagram, works directly with Instagram and allows you to create time lapses with your phone. Very cool.

Number three, Layouts for Collages, another third party app from Instagram. You can take three different photos and then create how you want them to be made within a single photo and you can choose from different layouts, two on the side, one on the side, all three stacked vertically, stacked horizontally. Find whatever looks best, create a collage. Focus for shallow depth of field, audio and video. So, if you want to blur out the background for a photo or video that’s focused on a human face, you can do that natively now within the Instagram Stories app. You don’t even need a DSLR. DSLR will look nicer …

Alex Mills: That’s true.

Brady Shearer: It’s a pretty cool simulation of that effect.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and you can do that with any phone that doesn’t even have portrait mode. Somehow Instagram has figured out a way of using digital tech as opposed to hardware as opposed to having two lenses on your phone to simulate that depth of field look. It’s very, very cool.

Brady Shearer: And then final one, Stop Motion, again, within the Instagram Stories interface.

Alex Mills: This one’s fun.

Brady Shearer: You can create stop motion which is a bunch of different pictures that turn into a video and so it’s like this little choppy, stuttery video. A very cool look that is also pretty trendy right now. All within the Instagram Stories, an Instagram app itself, which is, of course, 100% free.

So, there you have it. 11 free social media tools for churches for creating content, for editing your photos, for sharing your images, for scheduling and for analytics. All 100% free forever.

That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. See you next time.

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