As we take services online, it seems apparent that social media platforms will continue to thrive as a platform for digital church. As we were putting together a student experience for Church Online Platform, I was thinking through what platform would be least difficult to onboard students to. It would have to be a digital platform that they were already utilizing on a regular basis. A platform that is ripe for content like shorter online services is Instagram Live. Facebook’s daughter company is thriving with teens, college students, and adults that gives heavy priority to live content. This has remained a challenge because the only way to go live seemed to be with a quality device or phone. The ability to deliver pre-recorded quality content to Instagram Live was unavailable, until now.
Enter InstaTV, an app that is currently only available on desktop, but allows you to stream pre-recorded content to your Instagram Live account. Simply download the app, pay the subscriber fee ($25/month or $250/year), upload content and hit “Start Live Video” when ready. You can upload multiple videos to have a playlist, add a pinned comment to your broadcast, and chat with followers directly from the app.
Engagement was FANTASTIC. Students stayed online and watched the service. They engaged in the chat. They shared the broadcast. Our stats post broadcast were somewhat limited. We saw that 45 people were consistently watching. This is a big deal for us because this came with very little promotion. However, the comments were huge. Students were active in the chat as student pastors and volunteers engaged them in conversation while watching the service.
In fact, we considered this so much a success, that we rolled it out for adult services the same weekend. Engagement and retention were high for adult services as well. In coming blog articles, I will tell you about ways that we are going to be improving the experience. For now, check out InstaTV and consider Instagram Live as a possibility for your next social media platform to reach people. Low risk, high reward.