Communicating the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout with Multicultural Communities

Melinda Jennings

Australia has a diverse population. With that comes the need to create equally diverse communication strategies. This is even more imperative when delivering messages about COVID-19, as it’s something that affects every member of the community.

Over the last year, state and federal governments have encountered some challenges when engaging with multicultural communities to share information about the pandemic. Already there's been false information spread on WeChat groups amongst Chinese Australians, translation errors in COVID-19 information, and some multicultural groups inaccurately thinking they have to pay for COVID-19 testing

As Australia begins to roll out our COVID-19 vaccines, it’s imperative that governments carefully consider inclusive communication strategies for everyone. We’ve put together four key ways that governments can achieve that.

1. Write messages in multiple languages

With approximately 1 in 5 Australians speaking a language other than English at home, it’s important to communicate information about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in multiple languages. Across each language, the message should be clear, factual, and consistent. 

Through Whispir, you can segment your audience and send tailored messages to each group. That way, tailoring messages according to demographic or language spoken is easy to do. 

2. Use proactive messaging

A major obstacle in communicating information about the COVID-19 pandemic has been the spread of misinformation. With multicultural communities not getting clear and direct information from trusted sources, the potential for false narratives to be passed around is heightened further.

While it’s an overwhelming task to curb this altogether, being proactive in your messaging can certainly mitigate it. That means sending out updates frequently and sharing news early - even when the whole picture isn’t clear. It’s better to over-communicate than to allow silence and rumours to fill the void.  

Being proactive also means you can employ a strategy known as call deflection. This is used to decrease the amount of calls coming through to your help desk or contact centre, by ensuring people have the information they need before they even think to pick up the phone.

Through Whispir, you can create rich web forms, SMS prompts and web pages that provide information to people in a dynamic and easy-to-understand way. With automated two-way communication, your community can feel engaged with your message without tying up resources by speaking to an actual team member.

3. Diversify your message across channels and mediums

To make sure you reach the widest audience possible, you can utilise different channels. For example, Whispir lets you seamlessly send two-way communications across SMS, email, social media, voice, and more.

Because people consume information in different ways, it’s a good idea to leverage different mediums, as well. This can include linking to videos, adding infographics to longer form content, and facilitating phone conversations for those who prefer it. 

4. Engage with leaders in the community

The best source of information about a community is always the members within it. Governments can greatly benefit from working with leaders in communities to figure out which communication strategies will be most effective.

This method is most impactful if you include leaders from the ground level, rather than just bringing them in to sign off fully formed ideas at the end.

Learn more about communicating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and how Whispir can help you.