What are the advantages of using social media during emergency communication?

Definition: Using social media to communicate during a crisis or emergency is known as social media crisis communication. Information may be quickly and effectively shared in real-time on social media platforms with both existing followers and the general public.


The advantages explained

When emergency crisis take place, social media is a key communication channel. Emergencies can range from natural disasters, and threats to public safety, to epidemics. In today’s crisis management strategies, social media is an increasingly important element in successful crisis management. Given the rising utilization of social media during emergencies, organizations from a wide range of industries need to recognize the benefits of incorporating social media into their crisis preparedness strategies.

Social media can serve as a valuable asset during times of crisis, benefiting survivors, first responders, affected communities, and more. The advantage of employing social media in emergency communication lies in its ability to swiftly and extensively distribute information. The following points illustrate these advantages:

  • Rapid dissemination of information and audience: Since social media platforms allow real-time communication, authorities may immediately distribute updates, warnings, and guidance to a sizable audience. It is an efficient approach for reaching a wide range of people as information may be broadcast to hundreds or even millions of people at once.
  • Tailored Communication: Social media platforms often permit precise targeting of audiences based on factors such as location, demographics, interests, and behaviors. This feature enables the customization of emergency messages for specific groups or regions, ensuring that pertinent information reaches the appropriate recipients.
  • User Engagement: Social media encourages users to actively participate. Posts can be liked, shared, and commented on by others, which can help the network effect increase the reach of emergency notifications. Users can also give feedback and ask questions, enabling a two-way communication process that assists in the clarification of instructions and addresses issues.
  • Visual and Multimedia Communication: The versatility of social media accommodates various formats like images, videos, and infographics. These formats enhance the visual appeal of emergency information and enhance its comprehensibility. Visual content effectively conveys vital instructions, evacuation routes, and safety measures.
  • Real-Time Updates: In times of crisis, situations evolve rapidly. Social media empowers authorities to furnish real-time updates as new information surfaces. This capability aids in keeping the public abreast of the latest developments and necessary steps to undertake.
  • Harnessing User-Generated Content: Social media users frequently share their experiences and observations during emergencies. This user-generated content offers valuable insights into the on-ground situation, assisting authorities in comprehending the magnitude and implications of the crisis.
  • Dissemination of Accurate Information: By utilizing verified and official social media accounts, authorities can counter misinformation and unfounded rumors that tend to propagate during crises. The act of sharing accurate and current information from credible sources mitigates confusion and panic.
  • Proactive Education: Social media can be proactively utilized to educate the public about emergency preparedness, safety protocols, and appropriate responses in various crisis scenarios. This proactive approach contributes to bolstering community resilience and preparedness levels.

Sharing information in an emergency can be lifesaving. Social media is an essential element of a crisis management strategy.  Due to its expansive and dynamic nature, it can be a powerful tool for businesses to handle and navigate crises - understanding and acting upon the advantages of social media can be a matter of life and death.

Utimaco provides a public warning suite of products that cater for governments, enterprises, and other entities that may also use social media channels to share emergency information.

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