From serving up free meals to answering thousands of public health queries, the COVID-19 outbreak has seen a flurry of activity from many unofficial ‘first-responders’, spearheading helpful initiatives during this global pandemic. These are no strangers to us – they’re our public sector bodies, our neighborhood shelters, even our local governments.
We’ve all had to work together as a community, and for many of these organizations in particular to deal with the crises and its spillover effects have neither been an easy nor a silo-ed initiative. Several of them have been acting as a nodal point for their states/local communities, and have had to expand their outreach to meet the needs of the present situation. Whether it’s directing someone to a helpful state resource, or feeding hungry mouths, several government entities and non-profits have indeed risen to the occasion. What really stood out to us is the fact that many of them have utilized the power of social media platforms in innovative ways to mobilize help for the general public.
While the social networks themselves have been preoccupied with the effective management of COVID-19 related content on their platforms—with networks like Facebook enlisting help of fact-checking agencies—some of these non-profits and govt agencies have been a go-to source for not only the crucial information, but also news directly concerning local communities.
We’ve picked out 5 such social media handles of organizations based in India, that have been doing a stellar job at keeping the hashtag and the spirits alive at the same time—and we all know how difficult even achieving one of those can be.
The central point of the Indian government’s health initiatives, the Ministry of Health has not only been mobilizing the COVID-19 action plan across the Indian states but has also stepped up its social media activities, becoming a source of all national updates around the crisis and how the country is battling it. It’s not a stretch to say that it’s been a digital bulletin board, from distributing facts to even doing the work of your Pinterest board, by imparting some time-tested health hacks.
Scrolling through their social media content, you’ll not only find find health insurance advisories, and live case numbers, but also a smattering of animated public safety announcements, DIY face-mask videos, and even advice on how to approach medication. Look at this tweet for instance.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a prescription medicine & is not to be used without medical advice.
To know more, watch this:https://t.co/2AuaNsayjX#Lockdown3 @PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @PIB_India @COVIDNewsByMIB @CovidIndiaSeva
— Ministry of Health 🇮🇳 #StayHome #StaySafe (@MoHFW_INDIA) May 5, 2020
Primarily an animal hospital and shelter, the Blue Cross of India (BCI) is one among hundreds of shelters and non-profits in the country that have been strapping against a financial crunch, due to everyday life coming to a halt during the COVID-19 lock-down.
However, they’ve leveraged social media to make public, all their initiatives—feeding strays in the city, continuing rescues even during the quarantine, and even roping in local artists in the city for Instagram Live shows that keep driving home their campaign, while also providing an entertainment relief for everyone who’s stuck at home on their smartphones.
If you thought a banking institution would probably have a dull Twitter, you didn’t assume completely wrong. But the State Bank of India’s post-COVID19 activity on social media has not only taken that assumption to question, but also offers great learning pointers for anyone trying to use a social media platform—even if the choice of platform isn’t perfectly aligned to their tone.
By stepping up during a crisis to allay fears and offer useful financial advice and news to the public, SBI has come up with creative ways to leverage the platform and address its millions of followers across social networks. There’s information on safe banking procedures, updates on crisis facilities like mobile-ATMs, celebrity-driven PSAs, and some neat #throwback content.
We bring to you a virtual tour of our own iconic buildings on #WorldHeritageDay.
— State Bank of India (@TheOfficialSBI) April 18, 2020
It’s non-profit offshoot, the SBI Foundation has been a parallel contributor to this effort by busting myths surrounding the pandemic, driving relief measures through internet banking campaigns, and promoting the cause of social distancing, far and wide.
As the nation fights against COVID-19, we at SBI Foundation are committed to give back to society and help those who are in need. Images from ration distribution in Govandi, Mumbai in partnership with CORO India, while maintaining #SocialDistancing.
Visit https://t.co/tikwN2Kz2c pic.twitter.com/gKDr7ClC6W
— SBI Foundation (@SBI_FOUNDATION) April 15, 2020
Some of the worst hit people during the COVID19 pandemic have been the elderly. Not only are they more at risk for contracting the coronavirus, but they’re also the people who have been most challenged in trying to manage their livelihoods and routine during the lockdown. HelpAge India, a nonprofit has been tackling this problem on the ground by dispatching its many volunteers across the country to distribute food and ration to the elderly across India.
They’ve powered their messaging on social media using not only pictures and videos from ground zero of where many of the forgotten elderly have been reached out to, but also empowered these initiatives with the #ShowEldersUCare hashtag. Here’s a glimpse into the kind of content found across their social media channels.
Our Elders need you, as they are the most vulnerable now. Here are ways we are helping them during the #COVID19 #lockdown You can make a difference and give your support too on https://t.co/qgaOgTDriq #ShowEldersUCare #UnitedWeStand #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/beAzBRZHvY
— HelpAge India (@HelpAgeIndia_) April 20, 2020
They can also be seen encouraging people to speak to the elderly and engage with them during this time, since the lockdown period affects this demographic now more than ever. Their messaging is simple and very effective.
Our #Elders need us the most today,as they are the most vulnerable during the #Covid_19 #lockdown especially those living alone. Show them that You care & help them in whichever way you can. #ShowEldersUCare Pick up that phone & make that call. #SocialDistanceNotSocialDisconnect pic.twitter.com/DLsZkdy2V0
— HelpAge India (@HelpAgeIndia_) April 17, 2020
While known to be meme-wielding whiz kid of Indian Twitter, the Mumbai City Police have not only proven to be witty and internet-savvy during the COVID-19 crisis, but also stepping up to the task of using social media to the fullest potential, for maintaining law and order with it’s people. And it’s not easy stepping up to the task since Mumbai city has also one of the highest concentrations of coronavirus cases among Indian cities. But sticking their landing as usual is the Mumbai Police Twitter, which does not disappoint.
From answering citizen tweets and updates on quarantine breaches, their social media. This King of pop inspired PSA is precisely the kind of content they’ve been serving up.
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) April 19, 2020
They’re also known for really really going for it on their Twitter, sometimes they do it by reminding us that their social media game and pop-culture knowledge is almost scary good.
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) April 2, 2020
But thankfully, that doesn’t put an end to the law and order related information that is constantly being dispensed. Because while we’re here for the kicks, we’re also here to be better informed, and that’s the primary job of the Mumbai Police twitter.
A message about relaxation of lockdown orders being circulated is fake. The lockdown shall remain in force as before. Please do not rely on such unverified posts or rumours.#Dial100 or tweet to us to check the veracity of such posts/messages #FakeNewsAlert
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) April 24, 2020
We appreciate all the effort that goes into helping people out during this pandemic. Whether it’s being a responsible citizen working at a nearby shelter to distribute supplies or if you’re an organization mobilizing help on social media.
If you’d like for us to check out social media handles that have been actively reaching people out during the COVID-19 crisis, do drop it in our comments. If you happen to be a nonprofit or a government institution managing social media channels, we’d be delighted to partner with you and offer support through our social media management toolkit. Do reach out to us on our Twitter to know how we can help you.