Case Study: Social media for disaster management

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Case Study: Social media for disaster management
How India’s First Social Media Panel created awareness about Social Media for Disaster Management


On 25th April 2015, the world was rocked by the mammoth sized earthquake that hit Nepal and brought the country to its knees.

On 26th April 2015, forces joined to help identify, locate, contact, rescue and warn loved ones affected by the damage through social media channels.

On 27th April 2015, We witnessed a collaboration of NGOs, Brands, Politicians and Citizens to aid the victims of the Nepal Tragedy as one unified entity.

On 29th April 2015, Social Media Industry Experts united through India’s first social media panel for disaster management to help create awareness about the difference citizens can make through social media during a natural disaster, and the results were astounding.

Here’s how Social Samosa collaborated with Industry Experts to form India’s first Social Media Panel for Disaster Relief:


On Day 0 we were shocked by how some brands were leveraging the earthquake as an ‘opportunity’ for marketing their brands and decided that enough was enough. We had to put our foot down and make brand managers aware about how insensitive they were being with their marketing strategies

We then began to notice how digital evangelists were using social media to not only find loved ones but also save lives through warnings and alerts! It became clear to us that Social Media plays an integral role in disaster management and relief efforts for people affected by natural calamities.

We investigated further and found stories on how social media had become an integral part of disaster response, filling the void in areas that didn’t have any cell network. Platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook promptly launch helpful services that can be used to stay informed, locate loved ones and notify authorities of damaged areas.

Michael Beckermen quoted that “The convergence of social networks and mobile has thrown the old response playbook out the window.” – So we asked ourselves “Why aren’t there any standard operating protocols that one can take through social media when a disaster occurs” – and thus was born the social media panel for disaster management

The Panel included experts from each unique digital department, including brands, platforms, listening tools, technology companies and NGOs. Meet our panelists:

1. Rohan Vyavaharkar – Head of Communications at Twitter India

2. Apurva Chamaria – Head of Global Branding & Digital Marketing at HCL technologies

3. Bhupendra Khanal - CEO at Simplify 360

4. Kritarth Chhabra – Marketing Manager at Uber India

5. IN Crisis Relief – A citizen led disaster relief coordination by team VOICE

The campaign was leveraged through our Facebook page, mailers and Twitter in order to ensure reach capabilities. In addition to that, INR 10 was donated to Goonj India for every great question asked, resulting in 20% of our marketing budget for the day being sent over to help victims of the Nepal tragedy – our best investment of the day.

The chat kicked off at 4pm IST with some really amazing questions from IT Professionals, Citizens, Brand Managers and Global Department Heads. The panel united in answering questions about how to locate loved ones, channel funds, enable brand participation and more.

The insightful Q&A session not only answered a series of questions…


















… but also resulted in an essential guide of do’s and don’ts during a social media disaster. Here they are:


• Use social media to voice your needs if you’re a victim of an effected area

• Keep the affected citizens aware about regions they should avoid

• Use technology available to you like ‘Google’s Person Finder’ or Facebook ‘Mark Safe’

• Use the resources you have to help the victims of the tragedy. Like Air India’s free flight scheme or Airtel’s free calls to affected area offer.

• Follow groups like @InCrisisRelief to know how to help victims of natural disasters

• Track and share information using platforms like Twitter to helped loved ones connect

• Collaborate and Follow one #tag for all alerts and rescue operations

• Use services like Skype and Line to contact loved ones where cell services might be down

• The government should warn cities that might face a natural disaster through news and social media in order for citizens to prepare and head to safety through one dedicated portal

• Use Social Media to provide information on evacuation in specific regions

• Inform affected individuals about the actions they can take and the right people to reach out to for the same

• Organisations should collaborate with each other for the betterment of the affected area instead of divide their forces for their own gain


• Avoid spreading rumours about the disaster

• Avoid creating unnecessary panic through Social Media

• Avoid using the tragedy as an opportunity for sales or marketing

• Do not create unrealistic expectations for those affected by the tragedy

• Create multiple #tags. Use the one allocated by the government


The #SamosaChat for #SocialMediaRelief concluded at 5pm IST and witnesses some phenomenal numbers:

We were able to make over 1 million citizens aware about the steps they need to take during a disaster through social media.

Over 169 users participated in the chat, resulting in over 3.5 million impressions and 510 posts.

What’s more, the reach was distributed across the globe, making citizens of India, Nepal, America, Australia and the United Kingdom aware about the steps they can take to help victims of Nepal through Social Media.

Here’s a snippet of the actual numbers:





Simplify 360 also helped us put a small presentation together using their listening tool.

We hope to continue running these panels and creating awareness about how citizens can take action to help one another through the immense network of Social Media.

If you’d like to be a part of the next panel, please contact or tweet @social_samosa

Social Media news Twitter Case study Social Media Case Study India Apurva Chamaria Uber India nepal HCL Technologies Bhupendra Khanal Simplify 360 Earthquake disaster management Kritarth Chhabra IN Crisis Relief Rohan Vyavaharkar