Epic Storm Shows Strengths, Opportunity of Social Media

Besides the recent presidential election, Hurricane Sandy has been one of the most talked about  topics on the Web.  #Sandy and #Frankenstorm not only trended Twitter for days, they trended on Google+ and flooded many other social sites as well.  Posts like this one below are still hitting Facebook right and left:

Tweets like this one continue to take over Twitter under the #Sandy hashtag:

The American Red Cross is communicating the help they are providing as well as asking for donations via social media.  The NYC mayor was called out on social sites for not accepting aid from The National Guard because they carry guns. World Vision continues to keep everyone informed with their efforts, how to donate and how to help.

During the hurricane, many tweeted to the New York Fire Department when 911 got backed up and then phone lines went down.  Many citizens ended up being able to help each other tweeting across this channel while waiting in line for hours for emergency aid and to find their loved ones. People in the Northeast are still seeking aid and social media helps them to know where to go and what to do.

What does this mean to you?  It’s nothing short of a great testimony of the power of social media.  It proves that relationship management on any level and on any topic (disaster, emergency, business, political, military, retail, stocks, weather, personal, etc.) is unlimited when it comes to these real-time, two-way conversation channels.  When you can find loved ones on Twitter who are lost in a major flood in an enormous city with phone lines down, 911 backed up and electrical outages everywhere, it just doesn’t get much more powerful than that.

One great way to utilize the power of social media for your business is crowdsourcing.  Here are two great examples:

”Coca-Cola’s Vitamin Water and Diamond Candles are good cases in point (These companies won the Spike Awards 2011 for Social Product Innovation).

  • Diamond Candles used crowd sourcing to understand the types of scents customers preferred and generated ideas. Their program received over 250 new product ideas in just one month.
  • Vitamin Water , a Coca-Cola unit, used their Facebook fan base to create new flavors. Vitamin Water flavor “Connect” was developed by the company’s Facebook fan base of over 2 million.”[1]

When you have an ever-present focus group right at your fingertips and you engage with them, ask them what they need and want from you,  it’s pretty hard for your products or services to fail. Two-way engagement is the key.  If you don’t know what to produce for your target audience, then by all means just ask them.  Or as you are developing a product, get your fans involved to ensure it’s right.  Give them a say and they are more likely to purchase.  If you give customers a sense of ownership and pride into your products and services, you may find it hard to stop them from buying.  They’ll also tell others.  Many others.  Word-of-mouth is another positive angle of social media that you can work to your business advantage.

Looking to leverage social media for your business? Ask us about our social media marketing services.