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Case study: an interesting example of social media crisis communications

FEMA made effective use of social media during the Hurricane Irene incident over the weekend of 27th and 28th August 2011 and the organization’s messaging makes an interesting case study for business continuity professionals considering the best ways to use social media as part of a crisis communications response.

To augment traditional communications methods FEMA emailed all its emergency planning partners with the following message, which made it very easy for partners to utilize their own social networks to disseminate urgent information:

Dear Partner,

As Hurricane Irene threatens much of the East Coast, we are seeking your assistance to cross-promote various preparedness resources on your websites and in social media.

FEMA offers hurricane preparedness information here:
http://www.ready.gov/america/beinformed/hurricanes.html

In addition, please follow / amplify
the @fema, @CraigatFEMA, @readydotgov, @DHSJournal, and any state/local emergency management agencies that are posting updates. We’ve also created a list of Twitter accounts posting updates, so feel free to promote that as well: http://twitter.com/fema/irene.

Key messages/potential social media posts for Saturday August 27th:

Aug 27: #Irene may cause flooding or flash flooding – avoid flooded areas & roads. Turn around, don’t drown. cc: @fema

If you may be affected by #Irene, follow the direction of local officials & avoid flooded areas. Safety tips on your phone: http://m.fema.gov

Aug 27: For severe weather watches/warnings in your area
-http://www.weather.gov or on your phone at http://mobile.weather.gov#Irene

Receive text msg updates f/ @Twitter accounts posting #Irene updates.
Text follow + their acct name to 40404 (@Twitter’s number)

Aug 27: Bookmark useful mobile sites- #hurricane safety tips
http://m.fema.gov. Your local forecast http://mobile.weather.gov#Irene

Things you can do from here:
- Subscribe to Preparedness and Response using Google Reader
- Get started using Google Reader to easily keep up with all your
favorite sites.

•Date: 31st August 2011 • Region: US •Type: Article • Topic: Crisis communications

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