7. Advertise!

The more followers you have the greater the impact you can have, so make use of different communication channels to promote your presence on social media. As a public organization be aware that you have the ability to reach your audience via the services you provide to the general public. Also, the use of the social media applications in a pre-crisis setting aids its use during crisis situations, as your followers are already familiar with it.

However, even without many followers you can make a great impact. Firstly because you can utilize the networks of others. Secondly, using adequate keywords, e.g., relevant hashtags on Twitter, facilitates your message being found and possibly spread, even when you do not have any followers.

Key steps: 
  • Consider the different ways in which you have or can get in touch with your audience and choose the best approach to continuously promote your social media accounts.
  • Ensure that advertising motivates citizens to engage with you via your social media applications.  
  • Consider where you could gain greater visibility through your social media accounts. For example, a retail organization can link promotional offers to the social media account they use. Public authorities can also use one of their more popular social media accounts to promote the use of a specific, less popular, social media application (see the example provided in the box below).
  • Ensure that your public website and promotional materials provide audiences with links to your social media accounts.
Example: 

The American Red Cross uses their Facebook page, which has over 648,000 ‘likes’ to promote the use of their Flood App, through which they communicate information on crisis management related to floods.

The Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (UK) uses their fire trucks to promote their Twitter channel. Furthermore, as citizens regularly visit their municipality to request new travel documents or a driver licence, these visits can be used by the municipality to promote their Twitter channel or Facebook page.

Guideline Category: