Social Media Tips to Increase Engagement

This document provides high level suggestions for families of hostages and wrongful detainees advocating for the return of their loved one on social media, and Twitter in particular. These suggestions are intended to help create compelling and impactful content to increase engagement and reach. If you are working with a media consultant, it is important to speak with that person to align your social media campaign with all other media work being done.

  • Add visuals to your posts. Include images, videos, or graphics whenever possible. Photos of the person and their family should be included often in social media posts.
  • Get others involved and interested. Tag relevant people and organizations but try to space it out across many posts. For example, don’t tag a dozen people in a single tweet as this can become “white noise.”
  • Interact with your followers and/or comments. Some people might have questions and the more information they receive from your cause, the more helpful they might be in spreading the word.
  • Also interact with other accounts you’re following – especially if they are related to similar cases. This will give your account more visibility.
  • Create a public group or page on Facebook and on Instagram to encourage people to get involved. Try to post regularly on social media and share (or retweet) others who are supporting the effort to amplify their voices. Use the page, and your personal account, to update followers on the various efforts and highlight positive developments.
    • Example account: The James Foley Foundation Twitter account does a great job of posting daily and supporting those who are being held hostage. They’ve retweeted some accounts that have great share language with a similar cause.
  • Include data that is impactful and compelling.  Examples include:
    • Anniversary dates and birthdays
    • Number of days in captivity
    • Estimated amount of effort you have put into the case – i.e., number of phone calls you have made since captivity started, number of hours you have spent “on the phone” or “in meetings” or other
  • Appeal to the human side of your audience.  Make it personal when appropriate.  Help others understand what it’s like to walk in your shoes. Starting social media posts with first-person pronouns (such as “I,” “we” or “my”) is an effective way to frame the posts.