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Engaging with Your Audience

Time to Engage

Putting the Social Back in Social Media

Think about social media this way: The post begins the moment you press share… Expand your focus from building followers and gaining likes to building community instead. If you’re a nonprofit, consider what it means to “friendraise” instead of fundraise.

What is engagement on social media? Social media engagement is a measure of how people are interacting with your social media accounts and content. The term can cover a broad range of actions across all social platforms. For example, engagement might include likes, comments, direct messages, and replies.

What are ways to engage?

Respond to comments in a timely manner

When people comment on your posts, respond back within 24 hours (less is best!) to help the commenter feel seen and welcomed, and also to help boost engagement from others.

Ask questions and encourage people to tag others

Prompts that require readers to consider—and hopefully provide!—a response can help boost the visibility of your post. You can also encourage others to tag their friends in comments, so more people see your post. Examples include: When is the last you [insert action here]? What do you think about [insert noun here]? Tag someone who might be interested in our [insert event here] in the comments! For more prompt examples, check out this article.

Repost/share to Instagram and Facebook stories

Share others’ content to your Instagram and Facebook stories. This encourages interactions between you and the original poster and might motivate them to share your content in the future!

Thank people for reposting your content

When someone reposts your content to their Facebook or Instagram stories, offer your appreciation with a simple “Thanks for sharing!” This is a nice way to show your gratitude, plus it could encourage further discussion and deeper connection.

Message back within 24 hours

To demonstrate your commitment to your community of followers, respond to direct messages promptly; within 24 hours. This demonstrates stellar customer service and helps build further relationships with your community.

Tag others

When mentioning other people or pages, be sure to tag them correctly across social media platforms. This will draw them to your content and could encourage them to tag you in theirs!

Facebook and Instagram groups

Facebook and Instagram groups are great ways to connect your community in one place. Here is where you can share exciting updates and offerings and upcoming events. You can also ask engaging questions similar to your caption prompts.

Use keywords and hashtags strategically

Read on to learn more about keywords and their importance in increasing content visibility and engagement!

Test your knowledge

How can you engage on social media?

Exercise: Engagement


Keywords are words or phrases that are relevant to web topics or conversations and can be used in your social media bios, website, website, and more. Similar to values, they are important to weave throughout your content, but more frequently.

Keywords help deepen your connection with your audience, as they can show you what people are searching for and interested in. By using keywords related to your accounts, you can optimize your content for more visibility and engagement.

How do you find keywords related to your platform?

  1. Think about the words you commonly use when describing what you do and who you are, particularly to someone who might not know anything about you. You can also consider general knowledge terms that relate to your niche. What words are repeated?

Thinking of The Community Garden, examples could include: gardening, produce, organic

  1. Then, look at the words that convey meaning in your mission, vision, values, and tagline(s).

Examples: fresh, community-oriented, family

  1. Expand that list to include related words or phrases.

Examples: organic produce, community garden, farm fresh

  1. Finally, look at accounts that are similar to yours and notice which words they use frequently in their content.

  2. Try to avoid using words or acronyms that are jargon or too field specific, such as those included in textbooks or research papers. You also want to avoid using abbreviations of terms for search engine purposes.

For example, instead of using TCG, the acronym for The Community Garden, write out The Community Garden, or shorten to “the garden.”

Now that you have keywords, how do you use them?

Integrate your keywords into your captions, bio or about section, comments, and even hashtags! Hashtags are used less frequently than they used to be; their importance has waned. But if you’d like to create branded hashtags—that is, hashtags that act as mini taglines for your account—you could use keywords to boost your search engine rankings. Example: #ProducingWithLove #CommunityPowered #FarmFresh

Learn more about keywords here.

Test your knowledge

Where should you not look for keywords?

Exercise: Keywords

Building Community

When crafting your content, think about how to offer or share it to your audience rather than push or force it onto them. How can you instill a sense of agency in your online community?

A few quick tips:

  • If you’re an organization, use “we” or “us” not “I” or “me” as often as you can.
  • Avoid using the word “should” or language that feels forceful or demanding.
  • Think about how to collaborate with others. Here are a few ideas:
  • Share for share: Share others’ content as a story or repost. Ask if they will share yours as a trade.
  • Review for review: Review on Google or Facebook. Message and ask if they will review you.
  • Co-host IG or FB Live: Partner with an organization or influencer with a larger community (i.e. following) to host a free workshop or offering.
  • Showcase other organizations: Spotlighting partners increases reach and engagement.
  • Host events: Partner with others to host events on Facebook or LinkedIn. Add them as a co-host to reach more people!

Finally, be creative. Play around with different question prompts or types of content that still remain consistent with your brand. Try not to get frustrated if it’s slow going at first. Keep at it! Think consciously and critically, but avoid overthinking if you can. You’re off to a great start!

Test your knowledge

What is not a way to collaborate with others on social media?