Tweeting in a crisis - timing, trends and topics

12 June 2020

With business schools moving quickly to online delivery during the pandemic, communication with students, faculty, professional staff and other stakeholders has been key. A new study by Maastricht University School of Business and Economics reviewed over 75,000 tweets from EQUIS business schools to discover how schools have been communicating in recent months.

Schools have tended to be reactive in their tweeting about the pandemic, waiting for government announcements until setting out their position. However, once they started tweeting, pandemic-related topics have taken over the usual range of subjects accounting for every fourth tweet in the last five months.

While there was a great deal of activity initially, this has tailed-off from April, which may be explained by an element of ‘corona-fatigue’ among target audiences. With such an important topic, it’s essential that audiences for the tweets don’t become blasé and not read information carefully.

Topics of tweets have varied over the months with an initial focus on health and online learning being replaced over time by details of social and economic impacts on society as research by business school staff. As lockdowns are eased around the world, schools will need to reinvigorate their tweeting, still providing reassurance for different audiences, but also returning to other topics such as marketing, programme developments and alumni relations, albeit often couched in terms of a ‘new normal’.

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