Listening to reports of the recent floods in Northern Colorado, I heard a notice about a location well known as one of the premier Colorado summer camps. The radio broadcast noted that all roads out of the Estes Park, CO area had been closed, one closure at the Cheley Camp turnoff. Knowing a bit about where this location is, the magnitude of the flood emergency began to sink in. These were real people and real businesses facing an immediate emergency, the long term impacts of which could last for months.
For those familiar with the Estes Park, CO area, there are only a few roads in and out. One will be covered in snow soon and impassable. The town relies on tourism for its economic survival, and now that the flood waters are receding, the magnitude of the economic disaster is also becoming evident. A town that needs people to visit and spend dollars relies on those people to be able to actually get to the area. It may be that most roads into the area will be under repair and impassable for the next several months, shutting off the needed flow of visitors.
What does this all have to do with social media? Organizations that have established social media networks are well positioned to keep in touch with their communities, followers, friends and customers. Many are already utilizing these networks to let their followers know how they are and what the status is of the businesses and communities they care about. Nothing can replace commercial activity, but a dedicated community of followers can always be motivated to help the recovery.
Investing time in developing robust social networks can pay off – sometimes in very unexpected ways. Social media “text-to-donate” sites (mostly reputable) have been established to provide financial relief to residents of the stricken areas. Some of these relief sites are inspired or sponsored by area businesses themselves utilizing their own social networks. Other sites rely on concerned citizens to contribute their own social networks to reaching those interested in helping with the recovery. Although some may say that a cynical business interest is present when organizations create these sites, in many instances such as these, the local organizations are really just trying to lend a hand. Below is a link to a business that put together a fund raising outreach program.
Matthew Stone is an accomplished SEO expert, digital marketer and is experienced in Social Media Management. Since 2008, Matthew has helped clients attract build online relationships, expand sales and increase revenues. He also works in Denver Public Relations with GroundFloor Media.
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