American Red Cross: Social Media Monitoring

Social media listening is viable as an early warning system in a crisis. The resulting information may inspire and enable people to act quickly. Social media can be used to collect donations, triage situations, reach officials and eyewitnesses, schedule and communicate with volunteers, or simply tell the story from ground zero.

In January 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti. The American Red Cross was one of the first to respond and disseminate information on the scene. They had to know right away what information to share and where to share it.

Because the American Red Cross was monitoring its social media pages before this happened (using Radian6), they understood beforehand that various social networks have various needs. They realized that their Facebook page was a discussion platform and their Twitter account was meant for sending out news, updates, and donation information.

They also monitored during the crisis, trying to figure out what the main sentiment of the general public was. They found that most people were asking, “How can I help?” — so they shared information accordingly. During the time of disaster, the Red Cross found that social media was extremely crucial in sharing information.

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