In times of natural disasters, social media can be a lifeline
(Image: Mashable.com, AP/Rex/Shutterstock)
The nation’s attention has been riveted to Texas, particularly Houston, as Hurricane Harvey hit the coastal area. The storm had been highly anticipated, but the catastrophic impact of the storm is much greater than anticipated. Harvey didn’t just hit and leave, it is continuing to linger and spread over a greater span of Texas as it empties large amounts of rain in short periods of time and for what meteorologist are predicting will continue for days. During this time of crisis, social media can be a lifeline for those who are being impacted by the devastation.
The advantage of being in this social media era, is the ability to provide key information to large numbers of people in real-time. Normally, social media is used for entertainment, personal and business reasons. In times of natural disasters, social media can be a powerful tool in linking those in need of resources that allows them to weather the storm.
One such example of an organization using their platform as a way to communicate the severity of Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding is Love. Work. Repeat. (LWR). This is a marriage and lifestyle website celebrating marriage, family and a variety of other empowering topics. The organization is based in Houston. They have a Facebook following of 3K+. Although their content is usually marriage related, they understandably went out of their comfort zone to share vital important information with fellow Houstonians and people across the nation concerned about their family members who live in Houston and the surrounding areas.
Normally, the content on business social media pages should be consistent with the company’s mission and vision. But there are times like what is happing in Houston that warrant the deviation from the norm.
LWR started informing its followers about the impending storm as early as the Thursday prior to the storm. They posted a detailed graphic that includes a list of items needed for creating an emergency kit. Their next post, on Sunday morning, included a news clip from TV station KHOU 11 in Houston. In the clip, a meteorologist was interviewed as to the severity of the storm. LWR solicited prayers for the first responders and warned residents to not drive their cars and stay home. About an hour later, they posted a list of resource numbers.
LWR also used their Twitter page to disseminate information.
The public would naturally expect first responder organizations like American Red Cross and Salvation Army to use their social media platforms to get out needed information during natural disasters. LWR’s effort is a great example of how all business social media pages can play a role during emergencies.