3 Tips for Making the Most of Your WyldLife Instagram Account

Blake Anderson serves as the digital marketing manager for Young Life. Among his many responsibilities, he creates content for the national Young Life Instagram account, so he’s our own social media expert! We asked Blake to share his advice for how we can more effectively use Instagram in our WyldLife areas.Successful social media isn’t random. But with a goal, a little planning, and a hefty dose of enthusiasm, building a great WyldLife Instagram account is just around the corner.There’s so much to learn with social media that it’s difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to building and engaging an effective Instagram account for WyldLife. Instagram is a place that seems like it has endless nuances and best practices, and those nuances change every day. So where do we start?
All good social media starts with a goal in mind so that you can continually draw back to and make decisions based on that goal. A social media goal is a statement about what you want to achieve by using social media. It’s not the same thing as a social media strategy, but both are important. Think of social media goals as the building blocks for your social media strategy. Everyone’s goals here can be different, while many might be the same. It all depends on what’s important to your WyldLife account and your community.Here are three easy steps to write your social media goals:Decide what’s important to your ministry: Why do you want to use social media, and how would you like it to help you? (Examples: tell the story of WyldLife; create a space where kids can connect and feel seen, etc.)Audit/Understand your audience: Who would you like to reach on social media? (Examples: kids, parents, donors, community)Create realistic and achievable goals: What would you like to accomplish? (Examples: increase awareness of club; drive camp sign-ups; inform parents about weekly activities; tell leader stories, etc.)Now you can align everything you do on social media with those goals.
I highly encourage content planning: sourcing images and videos, laying out a schedule, and writing captions in batches, rather than one-by-one. It saves time and eliminates that “I gotta post RIGHT NOW and this is stressful!!!” feeling.

I recommend planning out your posts once a month. Whether it’s creating drafts of posts on your phone, a spreadsheet with captions and images, or using a third-party app, planning in bulk will save you time and stress. As far as apps go, I use one called “Later.” Later lets you visually plan your Instagram feed and schedule posts ahead of time. There’s a free version for you to get started, as well as several paid plans that allow story scheduling and useful statistics starting at $15/month. I use the $15/month plan, and I definitely get my money’s worth based on how much time I get back!
Post vertical photos as often as you can, instead of square photos and ESPECIALLY wide photos. Vertical pictures receive more engagement than square and landscape photos because they fill up more of a smartphone screen’s real estate (see photo below). Larger photos make it harder for people to miss your post when they’re scrolling. The more people who see your post, the more they’ll engage with your content.
One of the easiest ways to take consistently better photos on your phone is to wipe off your phone’s lens each time you take a photo. Smartphones are grimy. Dust, fingerprints, make-up, pocket fuzz – all of these will end up smudging your lens and degrading your photo. Give your phone a quick polish with the edge of your T-shirt, microfiber towel, or lens cleaning cloth, and your photos will turn out crisper and clearer!
Social media can be a lot of work but with a bit of planning and strategizing, it can be extremely rewarding to your ministry. Feel free to reach out with any questions via DM to the @wyldlife_yl or @younglife Instagram accounts, or over email to banderson@sc.younglife.org.

Don’t forget to tag @wyldlife_yl and @younglife in your Instagram posts.

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