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Why Work with Social Media in a Crisis?

This information is for historic and reference purposes only.  Content has not been updated since the last reviewed date at the bottom of this page.
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Social media can support message sharing in public health emergencies that are—like technology—quick and constantly evolving. Using social media channels with more traditional communication channels can help your organization spread urgent public health messages farther and faster.

Social media can:

  • Reach people where they are.
  • Social media may be able to reach wider populations. People in rural areas or cities, diverse communities, and specific audiences might all have access to the same social media platform.
  • Build relationships with the public.
  • Social media can help you address concerns, gather feedback, answer questions, and engage in dialogue. Social media may also reveal common myths and misconceptions, allowing you to address these in your messaging. Answering the questions people post in a public forum can humanize your organization, improving your trust and credibility with audiences.
  • Help disseminate information in real-time.
  • People often get their news from social media first. Your organization can use social media to send messages to the masses fast. Linking to photos, new sites, and information resources can draw attention to the facts.

Once you’ve created messages that can help protect the public’s health in an emergency, you’ll need to communicate them. Social media, in addition to other channels, can help your organization respond to any emergency more efficiently.

For more resources and information on CERC, please see Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition or Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Pandemic Influenza, 2007.

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