ROME – Pope Francis is now on Instagram. How many followers have you gained throughout the years? The Holy Father broke a record for getting one million followers in 12 hours.

His first post on the 5-year-old social network was a photo of him kneeling in prayer with the message “pray for me” in 9 languages. It ranked up nearly 60,000 likes and 10,000 comments within the first three hours.

David Beckham had broken the previous record for getting that amount of followers in 24 hours.

Pope Francis is now on Instagram.  Photo credit: The Daily Star
Pope Francis is now on Instagram. Photo credit: AFP/ The Daily Star

You can find the Pope’s account by typing “Franciscus” on the app’s search bar. The account will be maintained by members of the Vatican just like his Twitter account. They are both separate from the official Vatican accounts.

Already a Twitter star, the Pope also tweeted about his arrival on Instagram, saying he was at the beginning of a new journey to walk with Christians along God’s merciful path.

Francis’ plans to join the increasingly popular social network were made known on Thursday, just weeks after he met Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. The two talked about the powerful role of images in the integration of people from different cultures and discussed the possibility that the Pope would join the media platform, as reported by CNN Money.

Instagram’s CEO was on hand when Francis’ first post went live

Of course, the CEO was prepared as the Pope’s first Instagram photo was published and commemorated the memorable meeting with a photo of them shaking hands.

Systrom included this kind message: “Watching Pope Francis post his first photo to Instagram today was an incredible moment. @franciscus, welcome to the Instagram community! Your messages of humility, compassion and mercy will leave a lasting mark.”

Systrom also wrote that the photo Francis posted on Saturday comes exactly on the third anniversary of his papal inauguration. Obviously, none of this was a coincidence. It was a unique marketing opportunity for both leaders in their respective field of influence.

Unlike many religious people, Pope Francis has taken advantage of the social media tools to communicate with Catholic followers around the globe. He knows how powerful they are if used effectively.

Particularly Instagram has been quickly gaining popularity in countries with a significant Catholic presence, including Mexico, France, Italy and Brazil, according to CNN Money. However, the Pope’s presence on the image-based platform was strong long before he launched his account. Instagram made known that he induced 21 million posts, likes and comments from nine million users in the fall of 2015 during his visit to the United States.

Source: CNN Money