Disaster relief in China: what’s the public’s awareness of insurance and willingness to participate in disaster relief efforts?

Our latest research published in the journal Natural Hazards examined disaster relief in China, the paper can be accessed here.

Below you can find an overview of our study and results.


Meteorological disasters frequently occur in China and around the world. These natural hazards can cause huge economic losses and threaten the personal safety of citizens. The public’s willingness to engage with disaster relief efforts and the degree of participation is critical to reduce the impact of such disasters.

This study conducted a survey with 62,903 respondents from China. The study utilized statistical analysis and correlation analysis in order to understand the differences and similarities of the public’s willingness to take part in disaster relief across gender and age.

The study found that:

(1) the public’s awareness of insurance and willingness to make donations during climate disasters is low, and that more than half of the public are only willing to insure for very less money;

(2) although the public has very high enthusiasm to participate in disaster relief, they are less willing to learn the basic skills of reducing disasters and for participating in training for disaster reduction as volunteers. This was especially the case for elderly citizens and females;

(3) the willingness of the public to prevent and reduce disasters is high, and this was the case across various gender and age groups. Finally, the study puts forward several measures to improve the uptake of disaster relief and disaster prevention among citizens.

Be sure to check out our paper here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-021-04538-7#citeas

COVID-19 Misinformation: Research Collection

There has been a lot of false and malicious information shared related to COVID-19.

We have been conducting research related to a number of different conspiracies. Below you can find an overview of some of the work we’ve done around COVID-19 misinformation.

COVID-19 and the 5G Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data

Four experts investigate how the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory began

COVID-19 and the “Film Your Hospital” Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data

‘Film Your Hospital’ – the anatomy of a COVID-19 conspiracy theory

New Output in LSE Business Review

Brands support #BlackLivesMatter on social media, but what’s missing?

Companies must make data public on the internal distribution of ethnic minorities by salary band, write Wasim Ahmed and Wasim Rehman

Be sure to check out our full article here: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2020/10/30/brands-support-blacklivesmatter-on-social-media-but-whats-missing/

Three Recent Papers Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

Below you can find an overview of 3 papers that we recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research:

3. COVID-19 and the “Film Your Hospital” Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data (https://www.jmir.org/2020/10/e22374)

2. Public Disclosure on Social Media of Identifiable Patient Information by Health Professionals: Content Analysis of Twitter Data (https://www.jmir.org/2020/9/e19746/)

1. COVID-19 and the 5G Conspiracy Theory: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Data (https://www.jmir.org/2020/5/e19458/)

Ethics and Privacy: Social Media Use by Healthcare Professionals

Respecting patient privacy and confidentiality is critical for doctor-patient relationships and public trust in medical professionals. However, during online viral campaigns and sharing in the online world nurses, physicians as well as other healthcare professionals may inadvertently disclose more information that might be expected from both patients and families.

One of the dangers of sharing information publicly on social media is that information can be shared in seconds but it can be difficult to completely remove content once it is out there. Viral tweets, for instance, might get tagged in news articles or printed in journals which could pose a challenge in having the content removed.

In our latest paper for the Journal of Medical Internet Research we studied the hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet with the aim of  quantifying potentially identifiable content shared on social media by physicians and other health care providers.

To quote our abstract we found that:

Health care professionals (n=656) disclosing information about others included 486 doctors (74.1%) and 98 nurses (14.9%). Health care professionals sharing stories about patient care disclosed the time frame in 95 tweets (95/754, 12.6%) and included patient names in 15 tweets (15/754, 2.0%). It is estimated that friends or families could likely identify the clinical scenario described in 242 of the 754 tweets (32.1%). Among 348 tweets about potentially living patients, it was estimated that 162 (46.6%) were likely identifiable by patients. Intercoder reliability in rating the potential identifiability demonstrated 86.8% agreement, with a Cohen κ of 0.8 suggesting substantial agreement. We also identified 78 out of 754 tweets (6.5%) that had been deleted on the website but were still viewable in the analytics software data set.”

Be sure to check out our paper here: https://www.jmir.org/2020/9/e19746/

New Output in Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Zika Outbreak of 2016 Insights from Twitter


An outbreak of the Zika virus in 2016 caused great concern among the general public and generated a burst of tweets. The aim of this study was to develop a better understanding of the types of discussions taking place. Tweets were retrieved from the peak of the Zika outbreak (as identified by Google Trends). Tweets were then filtered and entered in NVivo to be analysed using thematic analysis. It was found that tweets on Zika revolved around seven key themes: pregnancy, travel and the Olympics, mosquitoes and conspiracy, health organisations, health information, travel and tracking, and general discussions around Zika. Our results are likely to be of interest to public health organisations disseminating information related to future outbreaks of Zika and we develop a set of preliminary recommendations for health authorities.

Check out the full paper here:

Robbie Williams Loves an Instagram Story, You Should Too! This is How it Can Benefit Your Brand

Instagram stories have only been around for a few years, however they have become a much-loved part of platform. In August 2016 Instagram started allowing people to upload stories to their accounts.

An Instagram story is when a user uploads a photo or video for a limited time (24 hours). After this time, the ‘story’ will disappear. Stories can be viewed by everyone who follows the user, however there are settings that allow only certain people to view it.


These are called private stories; however, they are not very useful when it comes to promoting a brand. The key benefit of Instagram stories to brands and businesses is that there is no limit to how many can be posted and they don’t save to your account.

Stories are easy to make and have some great features included in the settings that are great for brands and product promotion, these include tagging certain products, hash tagging and also adding a ‘DM me’ button, to allow people to message you about your brand.

If your Instagram account is public (ideal for a brand) anyone using the app can search your username and see the story that you have posted. This means that people can also share your story with others, either by direct message, or if they were tagged they can share it by adding it to their accounts story.

This will then inform you that they have shared it to their story too and are promoting your brand. The benefit of this is that the person who has used your story then shares it with all of their followers allowing for it to reach a wider platform and they can be viewed by a lot more people.

Being tagged in Instagram stories is a great way to gain more followers as people often click on the nametags that are on the story. These tags link back to your page so people have a quick way of getting straight to you and your products / service.

Amazing Instagram story features and how they can help

When posting an Instagram story, you get the option to add a hyperlink. If you choose to add this it could be a great way to promote a product. For example, while talking about a new range of smoothie, linking the website where it can be brought is a great use of the hyperlink feature.

People are more likely to swipe up and buy it right there and then, than remember the specific name and go onto the website later to purchase it.

It also means that while discussing a topic there can be other links to different social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook where users can find similar information linked to the topic without clicking off Instagram.

An entertaining Instagram story is more likely to get noticed than a posed video on the explore page. This is because stories are short and sweet, which entices people to listen to them.

Also, a recorded story has an extra wow factor as there are lots of funny and interesting effects and sounds you can add to a story to get the audience involved, such as polls and questions. Therefore, if you are trying to sell a product, promoting it on a story would be more beneficial than doing it on a post.

Great ways to boost your brand!

Some of the great things on Instagram stories can really help brands understand what they need to improve on such as polls. These are little questions that you can put on your Instagram story, to let people pick one of the available options given to them.

A great way a brand could utilise this is to ask questions about what products the customers would like to see next season, what they think was the best product, or what they would change.

They are a great way to get feedback and a good sense of what the users would like to see potentially helping the brand know where it needs to change or improve from an easy online quiz poll.

Other features that brands need to use are the hashtag and location icons. The hashtags allow the story to be seen by anyone who searches that hashtag.

A good example of this could be if a brand was promoting a new flavour chocolate bar they would hashtag; chocolate, chocolate bar and confectionary as these would all be words to help get the story to the right place on Instagram, so that it would show for the right audience.

The location icon is useful for small brands as it shows where you are operating. This is really helpful for businesses like hairdressers or nail technicians, as they require a local fan base to gain clients and grow as a brand.

Instagram stories also a has a function where by people can send you direct messages based on the topic you choose, after you’ve posted the question on your story people can start replying. It is the easiest way for a customer to contact a brand as it only takes a few seconds.


Once someone has sent either an answer to your question or another question, there is a button that allows you to add what they have said onto your story. This helps so other people can see you are active at replying and also because it stops people asking the same questions.

Posting a story everyday is a great way to improve the interaction on your page. The more stories you post the more likely your followers are to see it. This is certainly true of many celebrities such as Robbie Williams.

Robbie regularly posts on his stories to keep his fans up to date. This helps to keep his fan base engaged and entertained, as well as ensuring they are the first to know, when any news or big announcements are made.

If you think that Instagram stories could benefits your brand and help you market your brand take a look at our guide to help you make it on Instagram!

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Available exclusively on Amazon.

How to Use Twitter to Build a Following for Your Brand

What is it Twitter and who uses it?

Twitter is a great social media tool to have if you want to promote your brand. It is used by many companies and individuals for promotion and also as a site where potential consumers can contact you.

Twitter was created in 2006 and since then has racked up a large number of active users, which now stands at more than 330 million. Twitter works by allowing users to send tweets of 280 characters as often as you please. These tweets can contain photos or videos; however, some people like to just use words as that was the original purpose of this app.


Recent studies show that only a small percent (11.4% as of April 2020) of all Twitter users are between the age of 12-17. This is a huge difference compared to apps such as Instagram and TikTok that have a higher majority of users in the 12-17 age range.

There are a lot of people using Twitter to follow celebrities, influencers and popular businesses, this is because of how easy it is to set up Twitter, as well as how it allows users to keep up to date with a brand’s content, promotions, discounts and new stock.

How to get followers on Twitter

Firstly, an important thing to remember is that promoting an account on another platform where you may have more followers is a great way to start building up a following. However, if you don’t have any other platforms then there are other ways to gain followers.

Some ways of gaining a following are:

Tweet frequently:

Tweeting frequently helps to get your account noticed, the more you tweet the more chances they have to gain followers. Increasing brand awareness by posting lots is a great way to get promotional content out, without having to worry about when it will be seen most as you’ll be posting a lot throughout the day.

Some accounts tweet up to 15 posts a day. Another key thing to think about is tweeting relevant but not original content, for example sharing content and/or tweet or a tweet from another brand and/or celebrity could get some good publicity.

Use popular hashtags:

Twitter is a great place to really get into using great hashtags as there is a large chance of people following you after finding a post connected to a hashtag they were looking for. On Twitter, there is no ‘explore page’ or ‘foryoupage’ the only way for to see people’s posts is to follow them, search hashtags, or other people share their posts.

Utilizing hashtags that are trending and putting them on to your posts means a lot more people are going to see the post.

Post visual-content:

Tweets can be photos, videos or just text. The more visually appealing the post is the more likely people are to notice it. The benefit is that a lot of other posts on Twitter are just text, so this will help yours stand out even more. If you post great quality content that is funny to watch or bold to look at, the chances of gaining followers improves highly.

do something great

Videos are a great promotion tactic as they are more gripping, which is what is ideal when a user is scrolling down a feed. You need your posts to be shareable, what that means is the post has the ability to be shared by lots of people and not loose its context.

This is why videos are great as they explain themselves and they have the potential of being very interesting to watch. The more shares you get the wider scale your brand is covering and the more reach you will achieve, resulting in the potential of more followers, link-clicks and eventually customers.

Make sure you have an inviting profile:

When people click on the brands page it needs to be full of information, and great quality posts, either funny or interesting. Having an inviting profile will mean that people are more likely to stay and interact with more of your posts if they feel engaged and have an interest in them.

A good example of having an inviting profile is having a colorful profile picture and a good informative bio as this helps other users to understand what the business is like and why they should follow it. Similarly, when users tag their friends in your posts, you want your profile to be inviting so that they then follow you and do the same.

Engage with replies, retweets and tags:

When people share your posts, liking the retweet takes no time at all. However, it can have a great reward. If users see that as a brand you are very engaging and friendly they are more likely to follow you.

Replying to questions that users ask you about your work, the products you’re trying to promote will help others as they will recognise the brand as helpful and reliable.

If you want to increase your following and visibility on Twitter, check out our 20 Minute Quick Start Guide To: Getting Noticed on Twitter in 2020. It has some really helpful tips to help your brand grow !

How to Create Engaging Content and Keep with the Trends on Twitter: An Overview of Methods

How to create engaging content

On Twitter, it is really important to make sure your content is engaging due to the fact that people won’t see your page unless they decide to follow you or someone else shares your posts. The most exciting or interesting post will get brands noticed.


Here are a few other ways to make sure that you’re making engaging content multiple times a day:

Create Twitter polls

Twitter polls are a great way of connecting with your followers. The best polls are ones that ask questions about what they expect from brand, what can be changed or improved but also what they love. This tactic is an easy feedback opportunity but also a bit of fun. Other ways to create the polls could be generic questions which people may engage with.

Use other peoples content to attract to your page

Keeping up with other rival brands promoting content can really help you. If they promote something and people backlash it there is an opportunity for your brand to get in and take their disappointed customers over to your page to then see your products helping them make the decision to swap over.

Include visuals in most of your Tweets

Having photos or videos in your tweets can make them way more attractable to scrolling people. Also, people who search hashtags to see overall posts will notice yours first if it stands out as an extra colorful and dramatic post. Another important thing about using visuals is to help people understand the post better, no one likes to read massive texts but seeing a photo with a couple words explaining what’s going on or a video while someone talks, is likely to be watched more by people who are taking in what the video is telling them.

Use the same hashtag for all the related content

This comes in really useful when someone wants to find posts related to your brand and all they have to do is type in your own branded hashtag with only your product details on the page. Use a hashtag that other people wouldn’t use by accident as that will ruin the whole concept if other people post random photos to the page. A hashtag example could be the brand name followed by the date the brand was launched, this hashtag will only be used by your brand to promote the same promotional details on your products.

How to keep up with the trends of Twitter

Trends are a huge part of being able to say you promote your brand well. The most important thing before starting a Twitter is to know what trends you’re going to need to comply with throughout your Twitter journey. Keeping up to date with the forever changing and demanding trends isn’t easy but there are a few ways you can do it;

Tailoring your content to your audience

By often checking who follows you is a great way to see what sort of demographic you should be targeting you content towards. It also helps you to understand if you should be branching out to a different range of people. Once you have a clear understanding of the sort of people that follow you, the brand can start to tailor the content they make so that it is appropriate for that audience. This will also mean your followers are more likely to share your posts if they feel they understand and relate to the content.

do something great

Master the ‘Twitter lingo’

Understanding phrases and terms that are becoming huge trends on social media platforms can help you understand what to say in your tweets. As a brand, you want to be cool and trendy using phrases that have just become big. There are so many abbreviations that others will use and if as a brand you don’t understand them, then you could miss out on a great chance to promote yourselves.

Prevent potential social media embarrassments

A key thing to remember when it comes to social media is that it’s there forever. If you post something without thinking it through fully or share something with the opportunity for opinions to be debated then you could potentially put the brand  in a very awkward situation, which they might not be able to recover from. Some trends can be very political which isn’t something a brand always wants to put themselves into. Knowing which trends to take part in and knowing which ones not to is the most important thing to remember.

Promoted trends

A promoted trend is similar to a brand takeover. It’s when the brand pays to promote themselves for 24 hours on the home page. Everywhere users look they will see the promotions which is great in the sense of gaining potential followers or attracting people to look at your products. However, it’s not the sort of thing to do a lot as people could get annoyed that all they see is your products which could have a negative effect. Knowing when people are most likely to need the products you’re promoting is a great way to tell when you should be paying for the 24 hour promotions.

Use 3rd-Party applications

Keeping up to date with the trends can be really difficult especially as they are also changing regularly. Lots of companies have created 3rd party applications that allow brands to see what’s trending and which hashtags are working the best. There are also apps that allow you to work out what sort of following you have and how you can best target the trends that you choose to use in your content. Twitter has a section where you can see trending files and also the insights from your page.

If you want to increase your following and visibility on Twitter, check out our 20 Minute Quick Start Guide To: Getting Noticed on Twitter in 2020. It has some really helpful tips to help your brand grow!