Last fall a huge storm hit New York City. Maybe you remember it? Super Storm Sandy took NYC by storm (literally), putting many businesses out for days, months and even for good. At the time, I was working for a NYC based culinary school. I managed all their day-to-day social media efforts as their Community Manager and Social Media Strategist. While my main job was engagement, I was always online and, luckily, I lived on the other coast with no interruption to my internet service.
Unfortunately, the school was hit pretty hard and had to close for a week. Their server—an important and very vital aspect of their business—was underwater. No server means no internet. No internet meant no live chat operator. And ultimately, no internet meant, in their case, that no information was getting to the students about when classes would restart, if their class was cancelled, and a slurry of other pending questions.
Social media to the rescue. Luckily for this company, we had a very active social media community (*pats herself on the back*). The first place everyone came for answers was social media. It was a crisis management strategy we didn't know was in place, but was made very apparent afterward. It was a total win for social media.
I bring this story up because social media is not only for promotion. It is a means of communication. Communication is at the core of a social media strategy, and a social media strategy must have an acting communication strategy.
Social media should be used as a promotional tool, a customer service tool, and most importantly, as a relationship tool. Building relationships with your customers—and your future customers—will make you a stronger company. And, hopefully, one that can withstand the storms that businesses face.
See how others use social media in a time of crisis. This Infographic breaks it down very well.