Understanding the Aspects of an Engaging Social Media Post

Published by communicatinghealth on

Presented at the 42nd Annual scientific meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia 27th-30th November 2018, Canberra, ACT


Authors: Herron E, Molenaar A, Choong J, Klassen K, Lim M, Brennan L, Reid M, Truby H & McCaffrey T

Objective: People are increasingly using social media (SM) to seek health and nutrition information. SM personalities have high engagement and influence over followers, something that nutrition and health professionals often lack on SM. The aim of this study was to identify SM strategies associated with high engagement across food industry (n=10), lifestyle personalities (n=10), health organisations (n=10) and nutrition professionals (n=10).

Method: An exploratory content analysis using a coding framework was conducted on 524 posts across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The association between post strategies and engagement metrics (likes, shares etc.) was explored using multivariable linear regression.

Results: Engagement was higher for lifestyle personalities on all platforms.
On Facebook, Food Industry frequently used “visually appealing” strategies (13%), and health
organisation frequently used “stories” (8%). Strategies most positively associated with engagement were having people present in the post on Instagram (β=0.233, p<0.001) and a positive tone on Twitter (β=0.218, p<0.009). Strategies most negatively associated with engagement were “association with health success” on Facebook (β= -0.208, p<0.002), and Instagram (β= -0.228, p<0.001) and links to health information on Twitter (β= -0.251 p<0.001).

Conclusions:Nutrition professionals and health organisations could utilise these successful strategies to increase reach and retention of healthy eating messages.

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