Nowadays, the use of social media by public institutions involved in disaster management is starting to become common practice. However, despite scientific interest in the effect of social media on disaster risk and crisis communication, data exploring emergency management agencies’ round-the-clock Facebook usage and the impact of their content and media choices on stakeholder engagement is limited. This study set out to investigate Romanian local emergency agencies’ Facebook usage patterns and stakeholders’ engagement with their content. The data is comprised of 7810 messages posted between the 1st January and 25th October 2017 by 32 County Inspectorates for Emergency Situations. First, using content analysis techniques, the topics of the posts were summarized to illustrate how these agencies use Facebook. Second, stakeholder engagement was investigated using social media marketing techniques. Third, messages related to natural hazards were analyzed in greater depth to reveal disaster risk communication patterns. The results suggest that Romanian emergency agencies mainly promote transparency and their institutional image on Facebook. Stakeholders were most likely to engage with brand-oriented posts, especially if these also offered rich multimedia feature. Meanwhile, stakeholders were less likely to interact with messages about natural hazards, particularly if they incorporated educational content. These observations suggest that, while at the moment Romanian local emergency management agencies take advantage of Facebook to create and maintain relationships with their stakeholders, they bypass opportunities to implement communication strategies for effective disaster risk reduction.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited