This week we focus in on how we plan to help our neighbors and community. Yes, your own community.
Learn more about local government and how your hometown provides service before, during, and after an emergency. #NatlPrep
Me and the Mayor of my hometown!
By getting more involved in local government, you can better serve your community and ultimately your neighbors. Trust me, in the past few months, I have talked to my neighbors a ton on preparedness efforts and general safety measures.
Mass notification and public messaging about dangerous inbound weather is the latest hot button topic in emergency management because no matter the location, everyone is susceptible. This year has been especially deadly with numerous tornadoes.
On May 25, 2014, this message was put up on the main billboard on the field during the Indianapolis 500, which had 300,000+ fans during race time. The National Weather Service (NWS) declared a Tornado Warning before the start of the race.
Race Fans? C’mon, you have a captive audience at the motor speedway. And you are addressing everyone there, not just race fans. Most likely, your audience is saying “Great, now what is a Tornado Warning?”
Clear and concise messaging is incredibly important because seconds will matter in an immediate evacuation or leading others to shelter…especially with large, open, and unprotected public venues. This particular message was unclear, poorly worded, and definitely not concise.
A more effective messaging and follow-up post should have read:
DANGER! TORNADO WARNING NOW – SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY!
Safe SHELTERS are located at AREA X and GATE X
By phrasing it this way:
1. Your message is short, sweet, and to the point.
2. Capital letters will grab the attention of your audience and convey urgency.
3. Have clearly identified safe locations IN CAPITAL LETTERS will assist those reading your message.
4. Shorter messaging could allow your followers to retweet/repost and amplify your emergency messaging.
5. It is still tornado season so make sure you are prepared by having pre-scripted messages on “what is a tornado warning” and messaging on how to “shelter-in-place”.
All concurrent Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, etc. should reflect this messaging. If a Tornado warning is issued, timing is of the essence. Do not be lax when it comes to emergency messaging because you don’t want to ruin the fun. For the sake of your constituents, it is better to error on the side of safety.
Twice a year, moving our clocks ahead/behind one hour for daylight savings time provides all of us public safety the opportunity to push an easy fire safety tip to our constituents. It’s a good time to remind folks to test their smoke alarms. That’s what BTFD FC did when they posted this message on twitter, which included the #gopushthebuttton hashtag.
Keep in mind that Twitter’s mantra is short concise messaging limited to 140 characters. The idea behind a hashtag is to pair your tweet with other tweets out in the twittersverse. So I did a quick search for #gopushthebutton and found only one tweet from BTFD FC. With no other tweets using that hashtags, using #gopushthebutton was just wasted characters.
If you use irrelevant or made up hashtags, all you end up doing is wasting valuable space. Long tweets do not allow your followers the room to retweet your valuable content to their followers because of 140 maximum character counts.
A more effective tweet could have read:
Test every smoke alarm & CO detector in your home today. An easy safety reminder from XXFD. More info? www.XXFD.org
By phrasing it this way:
1. You have more visibility by reminding your followers test both smoke and CO detectors.
2. Twitter shows your twitter handle and name with the tweet, so don’t waste space by repeating information already in plain sight.
3. Do not use a made up hashtag as it will confuse your followers. In a serious tweet, use a serious hashtag.
4. Using the word “easy” will likely get your followers to complete a task because it’s easy.
5. Or consider using a more popular hashtag. In this case, #daylightsavings or #springforward
6. Reference your website for more information on detectors. Also you are establishing your agency as a trusted source with good information. And through analytics, you can also track how many people visited your tweeted website which could assist in quantifying your social media efforts.