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USDR Social Media Playbook

Estimated time review playbook: 1 - 2 hours, and 20 - 40+ hours to execute.
Our playbook will help you audit, strategize, and distribute trusted COVID-19 content across social media channels.
During a COVID-19 webinar, Chaz Langelier, MD, PhD, who worked on genetically sequencing SARS and is currently researching COVID-19, was asked, "What is the most important thing Silicon Valley can do to help during this pandemic?" He responded, "Educate and communicate scientific research that's accessible to the public."
We understand there are limited resources and time, so this was created with that in mind. This is the leanest possible way to help governments audit, strategize and deploy a social media strategy. The first session will take up to 1 hour, then we'll schedule additional workshops to dive deeper, depending on needs.


Hurt by a lack of industry expertise, limited personnel, and access to technology, governments struggle to develop a comprehensive social media communication and content strategy.
Our research shows that social media personnel are usually communications specialists, journalists, or have political strategy backgrounds. This experience typically lacks data-driven skills or platform expertise targeting growth.


We learn more about COVID-19 every day. This playbook distills a social media strategy with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as from governments like Boston, New York and New Zealand, who have been doing a great job communicating on social media about the current pandemic.
While the techniques and strategies for social media strategy are not new, COVID-19's unprecedented scale and speed require we implement lean and agile ways to reach and engage citizens, using new tools and methods. This will require an incremental investment in time, resources and potential collaboration across various departments and institutions.


We've created this playbook to be executed within a week, over 2 - 4 working sessions. How much time do you have? How can we tailor this experience to your availability?

What personnel do I need to execute this strategy?

A PIO (Public Information Officer) that can handle all editorial and publishing. Additionally, a designer that can make graphics and edit basic videos should be a bare minimum. If you can add a third employee, someone who's a generalist that can assist with research, editing copy, editing graphics, and analyzing social media data.
At the very least, these are the skills your team should have:
  • Copywriting
  • Coordination
If you can hire an extra 2 or three people, these are nice skills to have:
  • Graphic Design
  • Video Editing
  • User Experience Design
  • Data Analysis
Ideally, our social media playbook will take the same amount of time, or decrease your time spent on executing social media. Traditionally, social media is reactive and ad-hoc, whereas our playbook will develop a consistent strategy to establish weekly routines.
A PIO (Public Information Officer) is absolutely necessary to include in this process, specifically to proactively prevent future bottlenecks in the development and production pipeline. Given the constraints of government PIOs working across departments, there is most likely a need for a coordinator to assist in executing this process.
What is your chain of command? Do you anticipate roadblocks in the process? What is your typical process to schedule a social media post?

Where does US Digital Response fit?

We've developed this playbook so a USDR Content Strategist can engage with a government. After an audit is completed, a communication and content strategy will be established. This will help the USDR Content Strategist determine what type of team the government needs:
  • Designer
  • Copywriter
  • Video Editor
  • User Experience

What results should a government expect?

The overall goal is to help cities and organizations deploy a successful social media strategy with limited resources to increase channel growth that will create more awareness around the government's communication strategy to the public. In addition, a consistent strategy establishes ethos with the audience, connecting more people to different channels and encouraging a constant stream of engagement between the government and citizens.
This is a live document and will be changing as we learn more. Feel free to submit pull requests or edit on github.
This playbook was written in collaboration with:
  • U.S. Digital Response; Jacci Guthrie, Jia Liu, Courtney Cronin
  • City of Boston
  • Lots of Volunteers
Have questions? Get in touch with USDR
Last modified 3yr ago