What's in this session?

  • @peoplechurch (0:42)
  • @homechurchnash (2:19)
  • @pearlstreetchurch (3:48)
  • @c3brooklyn (4:25)
  • @freshlife (5:13)
  • @legacyhouse.life (6:02)
  • @soco.church (7:04)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Speaker 1: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape, unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to Storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there. 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 shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years.

I’m your host Alex Mills and I’m joined as always by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today we’re talking about seven innovative churches that you need to be following on Instagram.

Brady Shearer: I wanted to share some of the churches that I’ve recently begun following on Instagram that are doing some real cool things that I think are a little bit different and definitely worth a follow. A lot of the times we as churches, we’re thrust into a role that maybe we don’t feel prepared for and finding inspiration from others is one of the best ways to translate what’s being done well into our own church and ministry. So the first church I want to highlight is @PeopleChurch, that’s their handle on Instagram. This is a church out of Chicago, and what I think they’ve done exceptionally well is creating a consistent design aesthetic that is carrying over to every single one of the photos that they use.

We’re getting into Oscar season now, and we hold an Oscar’s party every single year at the Pro Church offices. Of course, we watch all the movies that are running up into the Oscars. So I recently was watching Ladybird and Ladybird is a movie that’s set in Sacramento, California. They do jump over the east coast at a part in the movie to New York, and throughout the movie, when they’re in Sacramento, everything is very golden. It’s very warm, kind of yellow-ish tinge. Then you get the east coast to New York becomes cooler, becomes more blue. You see this with … What was that movie with … What was that TV show with Horatio in it?

Alex Mills: Oh, CSI: Miami.

Brady Shearer: CSI: Miami.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: The difference between CSI: Miami and CSI: New York, CSI: Miami is in a warmer climate, very golden, very yellow. That’s the design aesthetic. Then CSI: New York very cool and more blue tones.

Alex Mills: Even Horatio’s hair very orange, very yellow. Consistent with the theme.

Brady Shearer: Amazing. They’re working on operating on a whole nother level.

Alex Mills: Yeah. I love this church. They do really great things with contrast in their photos and with black and white, really bold text. I really love what they’re doing.

Brady Shearer: It’s very suitable for where their city is located, like Chicago. Even when I was there and I was filming, there was so much gray and the blues and it matches with their aesthetic. It’s not just consistent, but it makes sense for their location.

Alex Mills: Yeah. That’s smart.

Brady Shearer: Second church is @HomeChurchNash. I do believe this is Jared Wilson’s church. One cool thing that they’ve done is they’ve leveraged their Instagram hashtags in a way I’ve never seen a church do it. So in this particular image that if you’re watching Pro Church Daily, we have examples to illustrate everything we’re talking about. So if you’re listening, maybe go to YouTube.com/ProChurchTools and watch this episode of Pro Church Daily so you can see the examples. But I’ll try to explain it. I’m looking at some of the hashtags on this post. The post is ‘No one belongs here more than you’. I believe it was a picture of a coffee mug. The hashtags are #bassthumbsfishing #yakfishing #kayakfishing. The first comment, “A church for fishermen? Love it.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So what this church is done is dial into their target market using hashtags. Someone found this that likely wasn’t connected to their church, and now maybe is connected.

Alex Mills: Yeah. This is probably one of the most creative uses of hashtags we’ve seen online. A couple tips for hashtags on Instagram, don’t use too many. I would keep it to about 20 maximum, 20 or less. You can do some with Instagram Business Analytics you can do some really cool research now. With the Advanced Business Analytics and Insights, you can see how many people are interacting with your photo based off the hashtags. So you can run tests, like a/b tests. You can run a set of hashtags for a week, see how many people are finding that photo with those hashtags. For the next week run your b set, see which ones perform better.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. Third church we want to talk about @PearlStreetChurch. This is something that most or many churches are doing, let’s say, that is to leverage as much possible real estate as you can with your photos. Instead of using one by one square photos … What’s the aspect ratio?

Alex Mills: Four by five.

Brady Shearer: Four by five is what you want to use to maximize the amount of real estate. The taller your photos are, more space they take up on someone’s phone, the more attention you’re going to get.

Alex Mills: If you’re posting photos to your story, do nine by 16.

Brady Shearer: Basically a TV turned on its top.

Alex Mills: Right. So don’t use the same aspect for your grid. Don’t just through that in your story, actually change the aspect ratio.

Brady Shearer: Right. Fourth church @C3Brooklyn. C3 does a great job of taking beautiful portraits of people in their church. This is a great way to build community. Not just graphics, not just event promotions, but the people in your church, church’s family, church’s community. Put those people on display and portraits are one of the best ways to do that.

Alex Mills: Yeah. They do something really creative with their grid too, which is something that I’ve kind of played around with on my personal account and we’ve done some fun grid stuff on our Storytape account. But what they’ll do is they’ll post one photo of a person or location. The next photo will be their sermographic, and the next photo will again be a photo from the Sunday service or a different type of person photo. So when it all lines up, a whole row down is sermographics, a whole row down is photos of people, and a whole row down is photos of the church. So just fun, innovative ways to play with the grid.

Brady Shearer: Fire. Next church up @FreshLife. This particular example that I wanted to highlight is just a design trend that I’m a huge fan of. It’s one of those things that is out of the ordinary for what most will see in their actual Instagram feeds. The more something is unusual, the more likely someone is to stop and actually engage in it. So this is just like the same word on repeat. Elevation has been doing this for a while. It’s a design trend that I want to say Kanye started with his album cover from a couple of … The orange one. I don’t remember the record title of that was. But it’s a design trend that I like.

Alex Mills: So this is the one where it just says ‘Practice, practice, practice’ a bunch of times?

Brady Shearer: Right. For everyone listening. There’s the word practice five times and then that’s … That’s cool.

Alex Mills: So just a cool way to interrupt and stop the scroll, which is what you’re trying to accomplish.

Brady Shearer: Exactly. Sixth one @LegacyHouse.Life. I wanted to highlight this church because they only have about a thousand followers. So they’re not a big church as far as I can tell, but they do an amazing job with their actual Instagram feed. Beautiful photos of people, and the one I wanted to highlight in particular here is a photo of a lady. She’s holding up a print material of a sermon series that they did. The sermon series title was Do Not Resuscitate, which by the way I think is like an amazing, amazing title.

Alex Mills: So great. Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So she’s holding up kind of a promo for that. The promo is blocking her face. The promo is in focus and then the rest is kind of shallow behind it. It’s just a set up for a photo that everyone can do and I think looks great.

Alex Mills: Yeah, and way more creative than just posting your sermographic, which is fine. You can do that.

Brady Shearer: Yes. Right. Because you can post that image directly, but get some people in.

Alex Mills: Yeah. If you’re printing it out, get someone to hold it. Throw a person in that photo and you’ll stop the scroll for sure.

Brady Shearer: I would say do not resuscitate comes in a close second to gravedigger. Yeah, nothing can top that sermon series name.

Final church we want to highlight @SoCo.Church. I want to close out kind of the tips that we’re sharing, kind of guerrilla style here on Pro Church Daily for Instagram with this image. They have an image of kind of a Starbucks style coffee cup, and coffee is being pouring into it. But the cup overfloweth.

Alex Mills: Oh.

Brady Shearer: I don’t know how they filmed this because if that coffee was hot, that hand has got to be burning. But this is a perfect example of what Alex has said a couple of times, we’ve alluded to this, stop the scroll. It really is the simplest social media strategy that you can adhere too. The number one goal you should have on social media, before anything else, is you need to get someone to stop scrolling through their feed and engage with your content. So you’ve got to do something different, out of the ordinary. From there, they can engage with the caption, engage with the call to action you have, but before they get to that, you got to stop the scroll.

Alex Mills: We talk a lot about story telling with video because it’s easy to do. You have an audio media, a video, so it’s easy to tell a story. But as photographers, we’re trying to tell stories too. This photo is a great example of that. It stops the scroll, it interrupts that pattern. So you stop, you’re looking at it, and yeah, it’s a great picture, but it also tells a story. It also brings to remembrance that Bible verse, “My cup overflows.”

Brady Shearer: Overfloweth.

Alex Mills: Sorry. Old King James. I’m a millennial, I don’t know that version.

Brady Shearer: You heathen, that’s blasphemy.

Alex Mills: But yeah, great photo. This account SoCo.Church was one of my favorites of the seven. I love what they do with the grid, lots of great photos of people’s faces, but I would recommend you check out all of these churches. They’re all worthy of a follow.

Brady Shearer: All seven will be linked in the show notes so they are easy to follow. Of course, you can just enter the handle directly. That’s why we said them out loud. Of course, there is a secret eighth Instagram account because we’re doing giveaways on my personal @BradyShearer account. It’s also our main account for Pro Church Tools on Instagram @BradyShearer. If you’re not already following me, make sure you are watching my Instagram stories daily because that’s where all the contest details are being announced. We’re doing giveaways all throughout the month of February @BradyShearer on Instagram is the place to catch up with that. So you are eligible for all those giveaways.

Alex Mills: I’d say it’s worth a follow.

Brady Shearer: It’s worth a follow. Thanks for watching this episode of Pro Church Daily. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the Pro Church Podcast for new podcasts just like this one every single day. If you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow.



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