A content analysis of Canadian influencer crisis messages on Instagram and the public's ... .

Content Analysis Coding



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BMC Public Health. 2022 Apr 15;22(1):763. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-13129-5.


Successful mitigation of emerging infectious disease requires that the public adopt recommended behaviours, which is directly influenced by effective crisis communication. Social media has become an important communication channel during COVID-19 where official actors, influencers, and the public are co-creating crisis messages. Our research examined COVID-19-related crisis messages across Canadian influencer accounts within news media, politicians, public health and government, science communicators, and brand influencer and celebrities, posted on Instagram between December 2019 and March 2021 for Health Belief Model and Extended Parallel Processing Model constructs and the corresponding public comment sentiment and engagement. Thirty-three influencer accounts resulted in a total of 2,642 Instagram posts collected, along with 461,436 comments, which showed overall low use of constructs in both captions and images. Further, most posts used no combinations (n = 0 or 1 construct per post) of constructs in captions and images and very infrequently used captions that combined threat (severity and susceptibility) with cues to action and efficacy. Brand influencers and celebrities, politicians, and science communicators had above average post engagement while public health and government and news media had lower. Finally, most influencers saw the largest proportion of neutral sentiment comments. Crisis messages must be designed to include combinations of constructs that increase message acceptance and influence risk perception and efficacy to increase the adoption of recommended and mandated behaviours.

PMID:35428287 | DOI:10.1186/s12889-022-13129-5