My Community, My Health

Inspiring change and sharing ideas to make places healthier to live, work and play in KFL&A

Photo by Marcelo Cidrack on Unsplash

Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health is a key part of the health system.  Our goal is to promote and protect the health of the more than 190,000 residents of the KFL&A area. Public Health staff (i.e., doctors, nurses, health inspectors, dietitians, and many more) work in a variety of places from schools, workplaces to immunization clinics; with families and newborns to support their needs; they inspect restaurants, swimming pools, tattoo shops, hair and nail salons, and spas. In addition, staff work along side politicians and decision makers to create bylaws and policies that lead to healthier communities.

My Community, My Health will capture honest, unbiased, and science-based advice from staff at KFL&A Public Health. Their stories will appeal to KFL&A residents of various ages and stages of life, educators, employers, municipal leaders, and many more that want to learn about the latest news in public health to inspire change and sharing of ideas to make healthier communities that give everyone the opportunity to thrive and live life to the fullest. 

Stories will feature information on healthy communities that have been planned and built well to support the physical, mental and social health of its residents. Some health topics will include: access to healthy foods (e.g., community gardens, food policy); physical activity and safe places to commute by walking and cycling; preventing injuries and promoting public safety; sun safety and access to shade; and environmental health (e.g., clean water, fluoridated community water supply, etc.).

Please subscribe to learn more about public health and healthy communities in KFL&A. We hope you enjoy My Community, My Health blog. For more information on any of the blog topics, visit the agency’s website at

Should Businesses Add GIFs To Their Messages?

You may not be able to pronounce it; but it certainly seems like most of us have used one.  Obviously, I am talking about a GIF (pronounced JIF).  A GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is an image file format that is animated by combining several other images or frames into a single file (William, 2019). To learn more about the file format, check out this article

Brands are using GIFs as effective marketing tools on social media. GIFs are perfect for grabbing your followers’ attention as most are no longer than 2 to 5 seconds. GIFs are adding value to business’s marketing strategy as they are easy to share, trendy, allow you to add more context or emotion to your posts, and provide a way to be fun with your messages (Lepard, 2017).

We push a lot of health messages every day on our social platforms. It may be good for our agency to add GIFs now and than to our posts.  These GIFs may offer a bit of light humour or help us to share our brand and make us some ‘more real’ as well as break-up some of the other more serious posts on our platforms.  It would probably help us to keep our followers’ more engaged.

If your business is interested in using a GIF you don’t have to have a graphic designer to create one.  There are several sites available to learn how to make a GIF. Try Giphy or makeagif and share your GIF with me.  


@suztaggart increase engagement by learning how to GIF at


GIFs can increase engagement and feature your product in a fun way! Learn how to GIF at


Lepard, C. (2017, November). What are GIFs and How to Effectively Use Them on Social Media. [Blog]. Retrieved from

Williams, D. (2019, January). What is a GIF? Retrieved from

Does A Story Motivate You?

Hootsuite (2019) states, one of the top social media trends is using stories to share information.  “Consumers want to be treated like individuals, not demographics.  They are demanding more value in exchange for their time and information.  The pendulum has swung back to social’s roots: real, personal, and authentic” (page 3).

All of us use stories when talking face to face to others about our experiences.  It is no wonder that we are demanding stories on social. I have seen health agencies using this approach to have local individuals talk about their experience with quitting smoking.  Their ‘quit’ stories are genuine and speak to the nature of an addiction, in that, it often takes numerous attempts to quit smoking.  Witkins (2019) shares five tips for powerful brand storytelling, including making a genuine connection to set your story apart and to make your story matter to your audience. “… your brain is more engaged by stories than it is by a list of facts and numbers—but studies show that we also retain more information when we learn it through a story” (para. 15). For more tips read this article:

Vaynerchuk (2019) states to make a genuine connection and to make the story matter to your audience, individuals and companies must consider the nuances of each social network where you post your story (para. 8). Social media platforms are unique and speak to the needs and wants of different users.  It is important to consider the platform where you are posting your story as your story may need to be modified to meet the needs and wants of the platform users to ensure you are successful in engaging them.  Would a story you read or heard on social motivate you to change your behaviour, join a group, or to volunteer? Share your thoughts with me.

Witkin, A., (2019). 5 tips for powerful brand storytelling. Retrieved from  

Vaynerchuk, G., (2019). How to tell a story on social media. Retrieved from

Hootsuite (2019) Social Media Trends 2019. Retrieved from

Facebook: Learn tips on how to create good social stories to motivate individuals to take action.

Twitter: @suztaggart learn tips to create good social stories. #storytelling #brandstorytelling

COM0011 Blog #2 Top 3 Ways to Truly Be “Social”

Social media is designed to be engaging; however, many organizations often use their platforms to push their messages out rather than to seek interactions and conversations (i.e., be social!).  Here are three ways organizations can promote engagement on social media.

  1. Share content from other organizations or individuals that follow their organization.

One advantage of sharing content from other organizations or individuals is to build your brand and potentially, grow your audience.  The followers from the other organization may learn about your product or message in the post and begin following your organization, if it is relevant to them.  Sharing content provides an opportunity to promote complementary products to increase the sell of your own organizations’ products too.

2. Respond in a timely manner to posts received on your organizations’ platforms

Being consistent in posting messages and responding to messages is beneficial to support audience engagement.  Most individuals want a response in 24 hours.  According to this article at there is no time for organizations “to meet up, discuss options, and cultivate a well-worded response”.  Organizations are required to prepared to respond after they have posted, or they run the risk of losing their followers and decreasing engagement on their platform.

3. Use tools and images to create conversations.

Social media allows organizations to connect directly with their audience.  By using tools or images to create conversations (e.g., poll, ask a question, picture or video, or get feedback on a marketing campaign) you are getting to know your organization’s target audience.  This will assist your organization is creating more relevant social media content that followers will find more meaningful and may increase the level of engagement in discussions or conversations on your organization’s platforms.

This is an example of a fast food restaurant using a ‘real’ food image to promote their new product. Food actually looks tasty!

Let me know if you have used any of these ways to increase engagement on your social media or if you have tried other things, would like to learn more on how to increase engagement on social media.


Amaresan, S. (2019, April) What are your customers expectations for social media response time? [pdf]. Retrieved from

Shane Barker (2018, November). 10 of the best ways to increase social media engagement. [pdf]. Retrieved from

COM0011: Blog #1 Get More Followers: Expand or Engage

Which came first: the chicken or the egg? This is such a tricky question because you need a chicken to lay an egg and chickens come from eggs.  The same may be said about this question—what should businesses do first to get more social followers: expand or engage? 

Should businesses expand or engage to get more followers?

To increase followers, some businesses may see benefits to expand by opening several social media accounts on different platforms.  By doing this, businesses can quickly expand their reach to different audiences and age groups that are using these platforms.  This approach to expand may promote a quick launch of their business to various age groups that are using these different platforms but is this approach too resource intensive to maintain these new followers. 

Whereas, other businesses may see benefits to engage with their current followers on one or two social media platforms.  By doing this, businesses may target a smaller audience and a specific age group allowing them to focus their resources on getting to know their audience better and to write for them. (Algonquin College, lesson 2) This approach to engage more with your current audience may result in more followers too, as your current followers may want to share this relevant content with their peers. 

To make social media an effective tool to share messages or to advertise products, businesses need to generate a following. “The more followers you have for your social media presence, the better reach you’ll have”. Check this for more information. To help businesses generate a following share your views and recommendations with me.


Kolowich, L. How to get more followers, fans and likes to increase your social presence. downloaded 2019-05-25.

Mattjeacock/Getty images. downloaded 2019-05-25.