Exploring the Relationship Between Trust-Building Strategies and Public Engagement on Social Media During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Cindy Sing Bik Ngai*, Rita Gill Singh, Wenze Lu, Le Yao, Alex Chun Koon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Communication is critical in a new health emergency because it motivates the public to take preventive actions. Prior research has shown that strategies including source credibility, information transparency and uncertainty reduction actions could enhance trust in health communication on social media. Yet research on how the government in China used these trust-building strategies to engage the public during the outbreak of COVID-19 is limited. Therefore, our exploratory study developed an integrated framework for conducting quantitative content analysis to examine how the most popular government-owned newspaper in China, People’s Daily, utilized a major social media platform, to engage the public. Our findings showed that accessibility to external links, provision of emotional support, and information on skills and resources were associated with increased public engagement with government COVID-19 posts. Insights gained can enable public health organizations and governments to focus on specific strategies to enhance public engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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