Gen Z Prefers Instagram Over Snapchat


Does your church have a social media strategy?

I hope so. While it isn’t necessary to be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or other platforms all the time, it is important to be familiar with the tools your congregation uses most and to discover ways that you can use those tools to communicate effectively with your people.

When I was in youth ministry, I frequently asked my students which social media tools they were using. In my context, students were migrating from Facebook to Instagram, and soon thereafter left Instagram to focus more on Snapchat. My messages were simple. I would share what I was up to with my family, or send an update about a teaching topic or an upcoming event. As long as I was communicating on multiple channels (a routine email, social media, and word of mouth), most students and parents remained in the loop.

Mobile Marketer reports that there have been a few shifts recently in how Generation Z is using social media. Snapchat is falling out of favor, and Instagram is reasserting itself as a platform. Erica Sweeney writes:

Instagram and Snapchat have been fierce competitors for Gen Z audiences, and the platforms have recently unveiled some new features aimed at attracting brands and new followers. Instagram expanded its Shopping tool and unveiled Shoppable Instagram Stories. Snapchat expanded its e-commerce offerings, as well, by allowing shopping within Snapchat Stories.

The Stories format has been a main driver of Instagram's growth. In 2018, 104.7 million people in the U.S. — 31.8% of the population — will use Instagram, a 13.1% increase from last year, according to eMarketer. The growth will mark the first time more than half of U.S. social network users will access Instagram at least once a month.

Here is a complete list of Instagram features and how they can be used in effective communication. It’s more than images. You can also use videos and create “stories” to keep people informed. You may also find tags useful for connecting with your community more broadly. I live in Waco, Texas, and I often tag my photography so that others in my city can discover my work.

Further, typography applications like Canva can be useful for creating cool graphics that are attractive and well designed. Familiarize yourself with these basic graphic design principles. Keep your church communication sharp.

So What About Facebook?

Most Gen Z’ers try to avoid Facebook because they see it as having been taken over by their parents. However, recent statistics report that between 70-80% of Americans have Facebook accounts. It seems apparent that different generations use Facebook differently, but Gen Z’ers and younger Millennials seem to use it more like yesterday’s Yellow Pages. It is a reference tool for consultation on businesses and activities in their area. Regardless of where your church might have a social presence, Facebook should be among them.