Did you know you can use Instagram DM for church community building and relationships? Let’s find out how you can use Direct Messages on Instagram as a free and easy way to connect with your community.
Have you heard of the entrepreneurial champion Gary Vaynerchuk? He’s got quite the story from trading and selling baseball cards, earning thousands of dollars before high school…to building his family’s business from a 3 million dollar business to 60 million…to now creating his own media consulting company, Vaynermedia.
2 months ago Gary put out a video on how to network through Instagram Direct Message (DM). There are a few takeaways in this video that churches can experiment with…
Advanced apologies for the 1 swear word at the 3:26 mark…but it’s GaryVee…don’t let that distract you from the insane value inside…
Why Instagram Direct Message and not Email?
- You don’t need to track down their email address.
- The average worker gets 121 emails per day. DMs are rare. You have a better chance of being heard through DM.
Now, this may seem a little daunting…this is a very new way to think about marketing your church. But when done intentionally, using Instagram DM for church community-building can open new doors for your church to build relationships in your community through local businesses.
Why Should My Church Direct Message Local Organizations?
There used to be a time when the church was at the center of community. People gathered at the church for multiple days and it was a central part of city-life. It was where children could learn, families could gather, and people could build relationships with others in town.
Fast forward to today and church is now another box in life. Work and family come first and the church is something that is “tacked on” to life.
When we build relationships with businesses and organizations in the community we have the opportunity to re-enter the city life and culture and reach more people.
If you say, “We’re a church who wants to meet people where they are,” then you need to try using Instagram DM for church outreach. Instead of waiting for people to come to you, you can go to them and reach them proactively.
Here are some ideas we’ll use as examples:
- Bring Santa Claus to a local organization (DM local kid-friendly businesses or preschools)
- Offer groups or classes at local restaurants or coffee shops (DM the businesses)
- Give a local blogger something to write about (DM the blogger, make the event free for them)
I get it. You’re taking ministries and sending them out of the church building and into the city. Remember, Jesus is still the focus and you’re guiding people to Him. But you’re doing it outside the church walls.
It sounds good in theory but it can cause anxiety to implement.
Here’s how your church can use Instagram DM to find local operations to partner with and minister to your community…
Provide Value And Serve First
Too often churches get so involved in asking people to come to church, we forget that we can do many of our ministries out in the community. When we do this, people will see inside your church culture and be more likely to attend when they are asked to come (through a Facebook ad, mailer, personal invite, email follow up, etc).
You may also brainstorm some new ways your church can reach people with what your city’s strengths are. Have a highly active community? Find a way to serve your community at a local gym or park. Live in a tech community? Serve them at a local coffee shop, event, or shop.
Example: if you want to serve local families with an event or class:
Don’t Spam, Make It Personal
Start with businesses and organizations you know. The places you take your family to, or businesses your staff and membership has talked about.
When you DM, just as in Gary’s video above, don’t copy-paste. Instead, spend a minute looking at their profile and business and craft a personal message with what you offer and what it can do for the community and organization.
Remember, just because it benefits a local business doesn’t mean it can’t be a good discipleship opportunity for the church.
- Personal greeting
- Mention something you love about their business or profile
- Make the offer
- Show the benefit to the organization and their customers/consumers
- Ask for a reply
Take something you already do at church and bring it to the community.
Good morning ABC Daycare! One of our members’ daughter goes to your daycare and has nothing but good things to say. Our church has a man who plays Santa Claus every year for our children’s ministry and we wanted to see if you would like him to visit your daycare. He’s very good at what he does and our children are always so happy to see him. His name is John, he is 58 years old with 2 kids and 3 grandkids, and he has always passed our yearly background checks. We’ll also bring some milk and cookies for the children. We’ll provide the flyers, snacks, chair, and decorations. Does this sound like something you’d like to pursue?
Start a new ministry in a new location.
Hi CleanBean Coffee, we love how active you are in our community, especially how you offer free coffee to veterans. We’re starting a support group for military wives whose husbands are deployed and we think your shop would be a great meeting place. We’d like to provide them with coffee and pastries, so why not have it at the source instead of picking it up or making our own cheap coffee? We’ll get the word out in the community and buy the coffee and pastries, and of course tag your shop in any of our social media promotion. Does this sound like something that gels with your values and goals?
Find a blogger with thousands of followers and invite them to an event.
Hey Juan, love your last article on summer events in town. This fall our church is hosting a fall festival and it looks like something your family would enjoy. We would be so excited to have your family come join us. We’ll give your family a free meal and 30 carnival tickets to enjoy the night. What do you think?
Pros and Cons
- Using Instagram DM for church communications is free.
- Communicate directly with your neighbors.
- Targeted communication with businesses and organizations in the same area as your ministry, which can easily bring in new faces.
- Opens up new doors to bring your church into the community while benefitting a local business (possibly ministering to the owner too!)
- Not scalable. If you live in a big city it will take time to DM the hundreds of organizations around you. You’ll need a team of “DMers”.
- Requires thick skin (you will be told no a lot). Expect a 2-3% response rate.
Using Instagram DM for church strategy gives you a new way to network with local businesses and bring ministries out into the city. We preach often, “the church is not inside these 4 walls,” so why not live it?
To find new ways to bring your ministries out into the community we have to be willing to try new things. Instagram Direct Message can be a way we easily find local businesses and organizations to bring our ministries to.
Find how you want to provide value in ministering to the community, then brainstorm how bringing it to a local operation may also bring them value.
You may also find people are more willing to come participate when it’s out in the community then holed up in the church building.
So what do you think? Is this crazy or are we onto something? Have you used Instagram DM for your church in other ways?