Social media for emergency management - a good practice guide

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Primary Target Country
Publishing Organisation Wellington Region Emergency Management Office
Language English
Year Published 2014
Target Audience Policy Makers, Practitioners
Status Published
Disaster Management Phase After, Before, During
Covers Thematic Legal/Standards, Social Media Strategy
Audience Experience Level Intermediate, Starter
Source Website
Abstract This guide is most effective when put into practice before an emergency event.

You will want to:

  • develop relevant strategy and policy
  • plan for staffing requirements whether for business-as-usual use or during the response
  • source and train appropriate staff
  • build your online presence and audience
  • Build trust between your community and your organisation, so that people come to you seeking advice when an emergency arises

Before an emergency

Creating a strategy

  • How are you going to use social media?
    • You may have different levels of engagement on different social media platforms.
      • Observer
      • Broadcaster
      • Dabbler
      • Fully immersed
    • What types of social media are you going to engage with?
      • Social networking sites
      • Media-sharing networks
      • Community discussion forums
      • Blogs
      • Wikis
      • Social news sites
      • Mashup or mapping software
  • Which social media platforms are you going to use?


  • Code of Conduct
  • Communications & branding
  • Access to social media platforms
  • Posting access
  • Sign-off
  • Legal considerations
    • Copyright
    • Privacy
    • Record retention
  • Removal of unacceptable content, blocking people


  • Choice of platform
  • Who posts
  • Resourcing
  • Content
  • Voice & building trust
  • Training
  • Access
  • How often to post
  • Responding
  • What if we get something wrong?
  • Maximising reach – use statistics to your advantage

Preparation for response

  • Trained staff
  • Equipment and access
  • Templates
  • Exercising

During an emergency

  • Managing resources available to you
  • Working effectively with other agencies
  • Building trust during the response
  • Managing community expectations
  • Streamlining the release of information
  • What to post
  • Correcting misinformation
  • Sourcing information
    • Managing the flow of incoming information
    • Verifying, and integrating information from social media

After an emergency

  • After action report
  • Before the next emergency
  • Building on your audience
  • Capitalise on the event

Please note: Access to the following link is currently only available for project partners

Is Archived No
Covers platforms

The WREMO guideline provides relevant information on the development of a social media strategy and points out that the employees involved in a social media team must be appropriately trained in order to be able to react appropriately during emergency situations. In addition, it is made clear how resource-intensive the maintenance of a social media presence is and how this effort can be met technically and through good preparation.