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Social Media Lessons Learned in a Snowpocalypse

By Monique, OT General Manager

Those of you who know me know that I live in Texas. And those of you who have been paying attention to the news know that Texas went through an incredibly rare snow storm, something that hasn’t happened at this severity in over 30 years. As a native Floridian, I get excited anytime I hear that it’s going to snow, and even though I lived in Kansas for three years, I can still count on one hand the numbers of times I have seen snow. I knew it would be cold, and I knew there would be a lot of snow. 

I didn’t expect it to stop the entire city — heck, darn near the entire state. 

Shut Down by the Storm

To get down the core of it, we (the state of Texas) were woefully unprepared; and you know what — we, as in my little family, were also woefully unprepared. Sure, we shopped like mad two days before the storm, but again, I am a native Floridian so most of that was booze. Side note: Hurricane readiness doesn’t translate to snow storm readiness. 

Politics aside, Texas doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle a storm like this, and much of Texas lost power as a result of rolling brownouts and damaged equipment from the storm. Additionally, water supply became scarce from running faucets to prevent freezing pipes and in turn, most cities had to shut off water completely to their residents. Add to that daily highs of 6-10 degrees — well, folks, it was pure chaos. 

Subpar Social Media Updates

When you are without power, without water, freezing in your home, wondering what the situation is, naturally, you turn to social media. Cell reception wasn’t stellar, and when possible we were using what reception we did get to check city social media pages for updates. 

As far as my own little city goes, I was a little disappointed. They were sharing updates from bigger companies with no direct information regarding how my city was handling the situation for its residents. But I do follow surrounding city pages, and while I was staying with family in Southlake, Texas, I found their social media updates to be comforting. Here’s what we can learn from the Southlake, Texas social media pages: 

Communication Saves the Day

In a community crisis like this, communication is key. The information you communicate is vital, and timing is of utmost importance. With multiple posts per day, the city was able to combat a variety of issues like Informing residents of water supply, road conditions, and electricity updates. They did not shy away from bringing the community leaders on the screen for live updates. The city had the mayor on. They did a Facebook live from one of the main water plants. Everything presented during the storm showed transparency. It displayed that community leaders were working hard to get the city back into shape. 

Marketing Practices Go Beyond Business

In a crisis like the one we faced here in Texas, many people became frustrated because of lack of communication. But the city of Southlake applied a sensible, straightforward and engaging social media plan to get its messaging out to citizens. And this whole event sparked a connection to successful marketing. Campaigns that engage with audiences do a few things really well: 

  • Typically use a visual medium to capture attention and make important information easier to understand. 
  • Have a higher frequency of updating information than competitors. 
  • Look to be personable and relatable to the target audience. 
  • Make themselves available across multiple platforms to amplify their message to an interested audience. 
  • Look to make the audience feel a particular way about the messaging. In the case of Southlake, every post wanted the audience to feel informed, comforted, and equipped to handle the situation. 

Communication is the backbone of good marketing, and its importance lasts well beyond crisis situations. In your everyday business, you can use marketing campaigns and various social media channels to bridge the gap between you and your audience. 

What lessons can you take from this and apply to your social media or marketing campaigns? If you aren’t sure, call us. At On Target Digital Marketing, we can bring your messaging to the audience who needs to hear it (no snow storm required).