Social media is the gateway to reaching people all over the world, but sometimes we need it to reach people in our own communities. In a catastrophe such as a hurricane, flood or tornado, platforms such as Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and even Snapchat (SNAP) are perfect for getting news out quickly.
Not everyone has access to a television. Stay in the know by setting up your local television station’s weather updates to be sent straight to your phone. You can also join in on live breaking news press conferences, and engage, in real-time with others.
The comment section is perfect for opening the lines of communication. You can easily share altered traffic patterns, where gas lines are long and which stores still have water, non-perishable food, and batteries in stock. This can be done by joining local community Facebook Groups or downloading apps like GasBuddy.
Even after the storm, safety is still a top priority. Take advantage of those local community Facebook groups to help your neighbors avoid danger by sharing where powerlines are down, what stores are open and where evacuation shelters are located.
Let loved ones know you’re safe by using the Safety Check feature. Remember, with no power, cell phone batteries can leave you with no connection to family and friends out of state, but if you can log in quickly, you’ll leave them with an eased mind.
Snapchat allows people all over the world to tune in in real-time. What’s happening in one neighborhood, might not be in another, so it’s another great method to help people avoid danger.
Facebook and Snapchat are also good platforms to store pictures of your personal items, home and car. Take pictures and store them in a private album on Facebook or save them to your Memories on Snapchat. Even if you lose access to your computer or phone, you’ll still have access to these pictures for insurance purposes.
From a business standpoint, social media is a convenient way to keep the public updated. Post to your page to let people know you’re back in business. Even if you aren’t, it’ still a good idea to keep customers updated on your status to help avoid an unnecessary trip out of the house. Insurance agents and doctors can share important quick tips on what to do if you have a flood or other property damage. Doctors can share which medications to have on hand, or what to do if someone is seriously injured.
Remember, your safety is a priority. A simple tweet or Facebook post can mean the difference between life and death during a natural disaster.
About the Author: Julie Talenfeld is an award-winning and highly respected marketing communications professional. The firm she founded in 1989, BoardroomPR, today offers media relations, branding, social media strategy and execution, reputation management, crisis communications, litigation communications, strategic planning, marketing and advertising.