The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has been growing exponentially, causing a lot of uncertainty and fear among the public. As the coronavirus continues to spread, so too does the false content surrounding the issue.
This has put many government organizations in a tail spin trying to combat the false information and connect citizens with the truth they need.
We've outlined three ways organizations can help set the record straight.
1. Spread the Information Directly from Public Health Authorities
The first patient who tested positive for coronavirus due to community spread was in California. Communications teams all over the state needed to communicate information about the coronavirus quickly, accurately, and effectively. In order to do so, it helps to sync up with public health authorities to get the facts.
Work with internal departments to ensure they're also communicating the right messages to your audience.
2. Create Consistent and Focused Messages
Many people prefer to open up a social media platform for their daily dose of news instead of going directly to an official news source. As such, there has been an increase in false information surrounding coronavirus – from harmless grocery store outages to life-threatening treatment claims. Don't engage with misinformants. Instead, provide consistent and focused messages that direct your audience to any of the following trusted medical sources:
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- State or Local Public Health Departments
Collaborate with internal departments to make sure everyone is on the same page about the messages you're trying to convey to the public.
3. Speak to Your Audience on the Platforms They Trust
Timely and effective communication is critical, especially in times of crisis. Because social media is constantly updated with information (or misinformation), it's not an effective communications channel during this time. Instead, use more direct communications such as email or text messaging.
Emails from government organizations are less likely to trigger spam or junk filters, and they have about 10-20% higher engagement rates than those from private organizations. Now, more than ever, citizens are relying on their local governments for accurate and up-to-date information.
How can you collaborate internally to ensure your external messaging is clear? Microsoft Teams, a part of the Office 365 suite, enables government agencies to:
- Chat with internal members
- Set up video or audio conferencing
- Create meeting links that citizens and gov officials can connect to
- Access, share, and edit Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents in real-time
Let us help you get set up with your Office 365 platform, so you can be the voice accurate information during these times and beyond.