Skip Navigation

Improve your Instagram ministry with one simple change

 

By Dan Wunderlich

Instagram is a versatile, visually-based platform that offers churches many ways to be in ministry with their community. It also happens to be the social network with the highest level of engagement across practically every industry. This means that if you know how to do Instagram well, it can be a great tool for building relationships.

Being strategic and effective on social media is easier if you have access to certain tools and information, like analytics about your audience and the performance of your posts. These features are not available to standard Instagram accounts.

However, by converting your ministry's Instagram account to a business profile, you unlock access to a suite of features and information that are not only powerful, but they are free!

Get monthly MyCom tips plus free desktop wallpapers!

 

Added Features

There are four primary benefits to converting your Instagram account into a business profile:

Contact features in your profile

With a standard personal profile, you can display one link in your profile. And while you could include contact information in the "bio" section, it appears as text that is not a clickable link, nor can it be copied and pasted by users.

When you convert your account to a business profile, you can add a physical address, email, and/or phone number to your account. These appear as clickable links that allow a user to get directions, email, call, or text you directly from your profile.

Analytics information

A business profile gives you access to information on the demographics and activity of your followers, as well as information on the performance of your posts. This kind of data allows you to be more strategic as you do ministry on the platform.

See the section "Access to information" below for more details.

Post scheduling

Scheduling posts ahead of time is a feature that is not available on standard Instagram accounts and only became available to business accounts in early 2018.

This feature not only allows you to be more efficient by creating and scheduling posts in batches, it also means that you can schedule a post to automatically publish at a time when it will have the biggest impact.

While this feature is not available natively within the Instagram app, it is rolling out to third-party social media services. Some great free options include Buffer and Hootsuite.

Access to promotional tools

With a business account, you have the ability to promote posts. You can do so by clicking the "promote" button below a specific post or on your profile. These promotions are essentially ads, so while access to these tools is free, you will need a budget to actually launch a promotion.

While not as robust as ad creation within Facebook, you can strategically tailor a promotion based on variables like your objective, audience location, and audience interests.

This can also be an effective way to get extra reach out of posts that are performing well organically.

Access to information

Perhaps the most important benefit of converting your Instagram account into a business profile is the access to analytics. This allows you to be more strategic and make decisions based on data. We will cover the highlights below, but for more information, visit Facebooks's help center guide to Instagram Analytics. For a deep dive, including lots of definitions and helpful screenshots, check out the Buffer Blog's "Ultimate Guide to Instagram Analytics." There is also a "What Do These Mean?" link at the bottom of each analytics screen offering a general overview of terms.

You can access analytics information in two primary ways. First, you can tap "View Insights" below any of your posts. This will bring up information about that particular post. For access to all of your information, head to your profile and tap the bar graph icon in the top right.

Audience and follower information

Information about your audience can help you tailor the content, design, and scheduling of your posts. Some of the information available to you includes:

  • Follower totals and growth over the previous 7 days
  • Demographic breakdowns by age, gender, and location
  • Days and times when your followers are most active on the app
  • Data on overall impressions, reach, profile views, and website clicks over the previous 7 days

Post information

Information about your posts allow you to see what kinds of content are resonating with your audience. This can help you craft more effective content in the future by giving you an understanding of what is working. Some of the information available to you includes:

  • Number of times a user has liked, commented on, or saved a post
  • Number of profile visits and link clicks generated by the post
  • Post reach (the number of unique people who have seen the post)
  • Post impressions (the total number of times the post has been seen)
  • Where those impressions happened, such as on the home screen, on your profile, while viewing hashtags, or other

When you view your analytics through your profile, there is a section within the analytics dashboard titled "posts." Tap on the "see more" link at the top of that section to sort your posts by a variety of variables. You can filter and sort by post type, analytics measure, and timeframe.

Analytics are also available for the "stories" feature, allowing you to see how many users have watched each segment. This can help you determine whether users engaged all the way to the end of a multi-segment story or dropped out along the way.

Converting your account

If you are ready to convert your account, you can follow the steps below. The change is reversible, so if you decide that you'd like to switch back at some point in the future, those steps are included as well.

Before you convert your account

Before you begin the conversion, you need to have a few things in place on both Instagram and Facebook, as this process links your organization on Instagram and Facebook.

  • Your Instagram account must be public. If it is currently set to private, you must change the privacy setting.
  • You must have a Facebook page for your ministry. If you do not yet have one, you will need to create one.
  • You must be an "admin" for your ministry's Facebook page. If you are not an "admin" on your Facebook Page, edit the page roles or have someone who is already an "admin" make the switch.

How to convert your account

When you are ready to convert your account, you can follow the steps below. All instructions given are based on the app design and configuration as of February 2018. You can also review the most recent instructions directly from Facebook, the company that owns Instagram.

  • Navigate to your profile within the Instagram app. This is done by tapping your profile picture in the bottom right of any screen.
  • Access the settings menu. Tap on the button with a gear icon next to the edit profile button.
  • Tap the option called "Switch to business profile." This is under the "account" subheading in the settings menu.
  • Select the Facebook page you wish to connect with your Instagram business profile. If you do not see the Facebook Page you wish to connect, you may be signed in with different credentials than you are using on Facebook, or you may not have completed the process of becoming an "admin" for the Page.
  • Add, edit, or delete contact information for your ministry. The information you include here will determine which contact options are included on your profile's page.
  • Tap "done" in the top right corner. Your profile is now converted to a business profile.
  • Tap "Edit profile" to review information and settings. You can update your profile picture, the link in your profile, your bio, as well as contact information. If you choose to include a phone number, you can select whether you would like users to call or text the number by tapping "contact options" and then tapping the phone number option.

How to switch back to a personal account

If you decide that you would like to switch your account back to a personal profile, you can do so by following these steps:

  • Navigate to your profile within the Instagram app. This is done by tapping your profile picture in the bottom right of any screen.
  • Access the settings menu. Tap on the button with a gear icon next to the edit profile button.
  • Tap the option called "Switch back to personal account." This is under the "business settings" subheading in the settings menu.
  • Confirm your intention in the dialog box that appears. As you will lose access to the extra features and information, the app will ask you to confirm your choice.
  • You can switch back to a business profile again at any time. Follow the steps in the "How to convert your account" section above.

Did you know that The United Methodist Church is on Instagram? Log into or sign up for your account and start following us today!

Dan Wunderlich

Rev. Dan Wunderlich is an extension minister focused on worship, communication, and creativity with the goal of helping ministries and their leaders better connect with their communities. Find out more about his work and his podcast "Art of the Sermon" at DefiningGrace.com.