Many health organisations seek social media engagement through their online health promotion campaigns, but there is little understanding of what engagement means in relation to the uptake of health messages. To understand the relevance of social media engagement, we need to look at the reasons why people engage with health content via social media. This exploratory study examined people’s motivations for engaging with health content through a case study of the Healthy Lunch Box campaign. Data was collected via online focus groups (n = 7), with participants being a convenience sample of people who had seen or engaged with the Healthy Lunch Box resources (n = 24). The discussions covered reasons for engaging with the Healthy Lunch Box campaign, and more broadly with health content on social media in general. The data was analysed using a reflexive approach to thematic analysis, with themes developed inductively. The study found that some of the reasons for engagement aligned with the paradigm of social media engagement being an intermediary step in the process towards health behaviour change. However, people also described other reasons, such as alignment with their personal values, consideration of their online presentation, or as a way of curating the content they wanted to be shown on social media. These results demonstrate that people’s decision to engage with health-related social media content involves more than consideration about the usefulness of the content, suggesting the need for a deeper examination of the assumptions made about the value of social media engagement in health campaign evaluations.

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