20 July 2023 |

How to ethically farm engagement on social media


A masterclass in engagement bait (but it’s a good thing, trust me)

Check out this tweet from Justin Gordon:

The post stupidly simple. 4 words (5 if you count the underscores as a word).

And it prints engagement. Just look at the bottom left corner of this screenshot:

136 replies.

Relative to the account size, and the way Twitter engagement has been lately, this is solid.

Why did it work?

There are 3 simple reasons:

TAKEAWAY #1 – The prompt is low-friction.

The prompt only takes 1 word to respond to. The engagement prompts that get the most responses are usually easy to answer.

Don’t force your audience to write a 5 paragraph essay in MLA format to engage with your content.

If the goal is maximizing engagement, keep the response needed to 1-3 words. Easy.

TAKEAWAY #2 – The prompt uses tactical polarization.

Founders and VCs (the target audience of this tweet) are going to have strong opinions on what traits the ‘best’ founders have.

If you know anything about Twitter, and social media in general, it’s that people love to share their opinion.

Be careful with how you use polarization in your marketing, but when used tastefully and in an industry-relevant way, it is a no-brainer to increase engagement.

TAKEAWAY #3 – You’re probably overthinking your social content.

Again, the tweet is 4 words long. This probably took less than a minute to type up. And it crushed.

I see so many content teams hamstring their social teams by implementing long ass approval processes for content. A simple tweet doesn’t need 3-4 rounds of edits.

Send it. Iterate fast. Speed wins on social, and content formats like this are great for quick testing and increasing content cadence.

TAKEAWAY #4 – This type of content (and the underlying principles we just outlined) are not limited to Twitter.

‘Engagement prompts’ exist on all social platforms. I just used this tweet as an example.

You can apply the same principles (low-friction, tactical polarization, scrappy content) on Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Threads — well, if the app is still alive.

For these 4 reasons, this post is going in my Swipe File. I use these types of prompts all the time with my clients (personal and brand accounts).

By the way, if you want to grab my exact Swipe File template I use to keep track of inspiration and never run out of content ideas, check it out here.