Social media can be a very powerful and effective way to spread information far and wide about a loved one who has gone missing. However, it can also have it’s difficulties. Here’s our tips on how best to create and manage your own social media appeal for your missing loved one.
Before you create the post
Consider the implications that social media may have on you, your family, and the person who is away from home. Once the appeal is online, it may attract attention from the media. This could be positive for your search, but could feel overwhelming, or begin to intrude on your personal life. Make sure you take care of yourself, emotionally and physically, whilst publicising your missing person. Check out our keeping safe online pages for tips on how to manage your online search safely.
- Speak to the police. Make sure your publicity will not have a negative impact on the investigation.
- Prepare clear images and information. Think about the possibility of it being shared widely, make sure you’re happy with it.
- Consider how your missing loved one might feel if they saw that photo or information, and ensure it isn’t too personal or upsetting.
Creating the page
- Keep it separate from your personal pages. This helps to keep you and your personal information safe, and allows you to take a break from it if needed.
- Post the details and ‘pin’ it to the top of the social media account page.
- Ask someone you trust for help. Running a page on social media can be overwhelming. It’s important to check it regularly and keep it up to date. If you know someone who is good at social media, see if they can give you a hand.
- Give the page a name. It helps people find and share it. For example, it could be @helpfindJohnSmith and you could use the hashtag #FindJohnSmith
- Share the 116 000 helpline number. Never give out your own contact details. If someone has information about your loved one, or feels affected and needs support, we can take these calls 24/7, safely and confidentially, passing sightings information directly on to the police.
- Refrain from responding to trolls. It is best not to respond to unkind messages about your loved ones.
- If someone is becoming very persistent you can block them or hide their message on Facebook and Instagram, and mute their posts on Twitter.
- You may also want to use the reporting feature to have their profile blocked from the platform.
- Talk to us. We understand that this situation can be traumatic, confusing or isolating. Our team are here to support you.
- Consider your loved one’s digital footprint. Be prepared to close the page and remove as much as you can from the internet once your loved one returns, to make it as easy as possible for them to walk back into their life.
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