A Guidebook for Social Media Crisis Communication
High levels of uncertainty result from emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19, creating unique communication challenges that are different from other health communication initiatives. Effective crisis communication is essential to promote the recommended prevention behaviors (e.g., physical distancing, hand hygiene, mask-wearing, and vaccination) and to maintain trust during the crisis. This session will provide an overview of best practices for social media crisis communication for public health and its practical application during COVID-19. First, the best practices for effective crisis communication to demonstrate trustworthiness will be presented. The Guidebook for Social Media Crisis Communication has been widely shared and downloaded, providing practical advice for public health. Next, Ottawa Public Health’s social media crisis communication during COVID-19 will be explored to highlight the lessons learned and key strategies the team employs. Ottawa Public Health’s Twitter account is the most-followed local public health account in North America, and their social media work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been lauded for its excellence by organizations like the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation and many others.