Social Media in Emergencies: UNICEF Guidelines for Communication and Public Advocacy

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
Covers Thematic
  • Content creation Social media content creation is arguably one of the most important aspects of a social media marketing campaign. Social media content creation is an art, and one that requires an extra amount of patience, creativity, and education around graphic design, copy creation, and color composition.</br></br></br>Source:
  • Crisis communication Crisis communication is a strategic approach to corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event. When a crisis occurs, proactive, quick and detailed communication is critical.</br></br></br>Source:
  • Technologies Software for interaction with, within or among communities in case of a disaster and for analysis of these interactions
  • Target audience
  • Policy Makers local, national, and European agencies and institutes, public authorities, standardization bodies
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source:
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • During Also referred to as "Response Phase"</br></br>Actions taken directly before, during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.</br></br>Annotation: Disaster response is predominantly focused on immediate and short-term needs and is sometimes called disaster relief. Effective, efficient and timely response relies on disaster risk-informed preparedness measures, including the development of the response capacities of individuals, communities, organizations, countries and the international community.</br></br>Source:
  • After Also referred to as 'Recovery Phase'</br></br>The restoring or improving of livelihoods and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets, systems and activities, of a disaster-affected community or society, aligning with the principles of sustainable development and “build back better”, to avoid or reduce future disaster risk.</br></br>Source:
  • Synopsis

    The original document is not available on the web anymore

    These guidelines are designed to assist communications officers at United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) headquarters, at regional and UNICEF country offices, and in national committees. Social media is described here as a means to ensure that information reaches the intended audience as part of an overall communications mix that includes offline media as well as other digital tools such as websites or email newsletters.

    Main goals for using social media in emergencies

    • increasing awareness for the situation of the disaster-affected population,
      • particularly children and women
    • advancing awareness of and support for children's rights and immediate needs
    • generating positive media coverage
      • about what UNICEF and UNICEF partners are doing in response to the needs of the affected population
    • mobilising people for relevant actions


    • emergency preparedness for social media practitioners
    • key networks and tools for communicating in emergencies
    • use of social media in the different phases of an emergency
    • social media monitoring and impact evaluation

    Prepare fact sheets

    • how many children live there;
    • basic information about the population living in the area
    • important socio-economical data;
    • information about the public health situation; etc.
    • information related to social media platforms and channels

    Expand your network

    • Connect with UNICEF colleagues in your country
    • Connect with the rest of the UN family and implementing partners
    • Connect with journalists, bloggers and local/regional goodwill ambassadors
    • Connect with the affected population, general public and diaspora
    • Social media and corporate social responsibility
    • Get the word out
    • Show that you are listening

    Please note: Access to the original document is available on the project's server

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