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31 Aug


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How to Use Social Media During a Crisis – Lessons from Irene

August 31, 2011 | By | No Comments

Outer Beaches Realty, Hatteras Island

My family has vacationed on Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for years. So when Hurricane Irene made landfall, I wanted to find info about how the village where we often stay had fared. I visited the website of the realty company we use, and what I found was a company fully engaged in using social media to communicate during a crisis.

Highway 12, the only road onto the island, was wiped out in several places, stranding about 2,500 people. Scary stuff if you or a loved one is stranded—and concerning for property owners as well as renters who’d planned to vacation there in the upcoming weeks. Here’s how Outer Beaches Realty  President Alex Risser and the rest of the staff keep all stakeholders updated:

  • Blog updates. This is a great blend of must-have information and real-life storytelling. Readers are updated about everything from island electricity and Internet services to the fact that employees shared a hot lunch on Tuesday, which was, for some, their first real meal in days.
  • Facebook page. The staff uses Facebook to answer questions while property owners, renters, and other fans use it to leave well wishes and even offer assistance. 
  •  YouTube channel.  This offers video footage from a remarkably unfazed Outer Beaches employee named Kurt, who filmed from the island during the storm.

Through all those social media connections, Outer Beaches Realty does two things—and they do them really well:

  1. Convey how much they care for their customers, from owners to renters.
  2. Create a compelling story that puts human faces to their brand.

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