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Posted on April 25, 2016, at 7:40 p.m.
by Kala Brumbaugh.

After the major success of Pope Francis’s Twitter account, it should come as no surprise to see him join the Instagram community. On March 19, 2016, Pope Francis posted his first picture, an image of him kneeling in prayer with the caption “pray for me” in nine different languages, to the platform.

Screenshot from Instagram
Screenshot from Instagram

The pope’s following grew exponentially. After just 12 hours, the account had more than one million followers, passing David Beckham’s previous record of one million followers in 24 hours. The pope’s account, Franciscus, has accrued 2.1 million followers since it was launched nine days ago.

Pope Francis continues to break traditions and push the Vatican out of its comfort zone.

The Vatican released the news of the pope’s account numerous days before the launch. The new digital media strategy seems to be paying off for the Roman Catholic Church and its pontiff. Pope Francis has made a mark by embracing social media and using it as a call to action for social causes and responsibilities.

The account was created a few weeks after the pope met with Kevin Systrom, the CEO of Instagram. During the meeting, the pope and Systrom discussed “the power of images to unite people across different cultures and languages.” The platform continues to grow in popularity, and the account will only help the pope’s ultimate goal of transparency and uniting Catholics across the world.

The Vatican also has an Instagram account, newsva, which is used for news updates. The pope’s accounts on social media are separate from the Vatican’s, but are managed by the social media department of the Secretariat for Communications.

Screenshot from Instagram
Screenshot from Instagram

So, the chances of the pope posting a selfie are highly unlikely, but the account has been proactive since its debut. In the first two weeks, the account posted 17 pictures and, as of now, has followed zero people back.

There is no doubt the pope’s stance on transparency has boosted the image of the Catholic Church and its social media following. The pope’s Twitter account has gained 8.9 million followers since its launch in 2013, and has been a key platform for the pontiff.

In the digital age, Pope Francis sets an example of adaptation, transparency and communication that all brands can relate to. It turns out that you’re never too old or conservative to use social media!

How do you feel about the Pope having an Instagram account?

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