Evolving Social Media Processes to Improve Engagement: Waco-McLennan County Health Education Social Media Process

Madysen Cordova, MPH Candidate, Thomas Chandler, BSW and MSW Candidate and Dr. Christina Tuell, EdD, CHES, Department of Health Education, Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, Waco, TX

Background: The Health Education department is within the Health Equity, Promotion, and Prevention division. Our mission is to promote and encourage healthy lifestyle choices through education and partnerships with local community agencies.

Program background: Social media has become a staple in public health communication plans. Initially, a new page or profile was created for every program or group. Each profile would then have its own process to develop and approve posts. While common, this method has caused mixed results. Followers may not be aware of all the pages they need to follow to get all the information, staff needed to create more content to keep up with algorithms and stay in the feed, and information siloed.

Evaluation Methods and Results: After an evaluation during fall 2022 of the current process it was determined the educational social media posts were not reaching enough individuals to be effective. Two primary changes were identified, use one account and develop a central approval process. This was piloted within the Health Education department during spring 2023.


1. Staff creates social media post with caption

2. Submit for health literacy, content, and design review

3. Scheduled to post in Hootsuite

4. Communications team has two weeks to review

5. Posted to social media platforms

To support the streamlined approval process, staff received additional training in their areas. All changes are documented to support the learning process and identify patterns for whole staff training. Graduate Assistants (GA’s) review post and caption for health literacy and design. The supervisor completes the content and final review. Posts are created a month ahead to allow the communication department time to review before posting. Iconosquare conducted a study of 30,000 Instagram profiles (Foxwell, 2023). It was found the average engagement rate is 4.7%. Engagement in 2022 for our Facebook and Instagram were 3.50% and 4.81%. After adopting the two recommended changes in 2023, engagement on Facebook rose to 3.88% and nearly doubled on Instagram (8.09%).

Conclusions: The changes to the Health Education departments' social media process have shown positive outcomes. The social media process provides a system of checks and balances for all social media from the Health Education department which sets a standard for posts social media posts, while also keeping the social media branded and a cohesive social media page. The changes have provided a system to build staff capacity, a structure to train new staff to sustain the changes and increased the accounts engagement rates. The social media process leads to better social media pages and through this creates a better engagement rate for health education. Improved engagement may lead to more effective messages shared with the community and ultimately a more knowledgeable community.

Implications for research and/or practice: As social media access and use has increased, it has become a valuable tool to educate communities on health, programs, and initiatives. This specific social media process has increased the engagement of posts, thus educating more people than just those who walk into our building. This process could easily be implemented at an organization to improve process and effectively reach followers.