I love Snapchat. The relatively new social network is jam-packed with a lot of unique features and is a ton of fun for its users. I was a holdout for a long time, but once I was in, it quickly became a regular part of my daily social activity. It’s pretty popular within my circle of friends and I even follow a good number of churches.
Snapchat is great, BUT…I don’t recommend it for your church.
At least not anymore.
Right in the middle of my planning to integrate Snapchat into my church’s social media strategy, the already super popular Instagram (owned by Facebook) released a new feature.
On their own blog, they described the new feature like this…
Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.
In other words, we’re completely copying Snapchat and you’re going to love our version.
Right or wrong to make a carbon copy of your competitor’s best feature, one fact remains – people really do love Instagram’s version of it. It’s growing extremely quickly and I predict that it will eventually outgrow Snapchat’s popularity.
It can be difficult to decide where to spend your time on social media. If you’re planning to integrate quick, story-style posts at your church, here are a few reasons why I think you should skip Snapchat and focus on Instagram Stories:
A lot of churches already have an audience on Instagram. Rather than starting from the bottom on a new platform, embrace the followers you’ve already worked to obtain.
You can upload custom images and video to Instagram Stories. This means you can design your own branded content to include in your story. Snapchat just introduced a similar feature, but it doesn’t look nearly as good.
You’ll reach people who may never use Snapchat. Just like I was a holdout at first, many people aren’t ready to integrate a new app into their routine. Instagram meets them where they already are, while still giving you this great new functionality.
Instagram Stories is less intimidating to start. When I first joined Snapchat, there was a big learning curve for me. It’s super easy to start sharing on Instagram.
You can have multiple devices sharing simultaneously. Unlike Snapchat, you can have two or three people signed into the same account. This works great for highlighting multiple campuses or for capturing moments from different places around your church.
Your story is temporary in nature, but can also have longterm value. If you capture something really special in your story, you can easily choose to save it permanently to your Instagram profile so that it can be enjoyed longer than the initial 24 hours.
If your church is already plugged in on Snapchat, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you can do both, I say go for it! There are some users, particularly teenagers, that live on Snapchat as their main social network. There is certainly value in reaching them.
But, if your church hasn’t integrated either of these, I would definitely recommend going with the new feature on the familiar platform.
What do you think?
Have you started using Instagram Stories?
Do you have plans to use it at your church?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Kendall Conner serves as the Creative Pastor at Piedmont Chapel in Greensboro, NC. He is a graphic designer, video editor, and all-around media geek, but above all enjoys seeing lives changed. Together with his beautiful wife, Holly, they strive to use media to spread the message of Christ and equip others for ministry.