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The American Red Cross: PR Efforts Before, During and After Hurricane Harvey

Published on September 25, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.
by Parker Rocco.

Over the past month, the southeastern United States has been battered by strong Atlantic storms, including hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. As a result, the American Red Cross  has had its hands full, serving meals, providing shelters, distributing relief items and providing health services to storm victims.

In addition to work on the ground, the American Red Cross has been active on social media, sharing important information with its followers before, during and after each storm.

Let’s talk about Harvey.

The calm before the storm
Before Harvey made landfall on the coast of Texas on Aug. 25, 2017, the American Red Cross was proactive on its social media accounts. It shared several similar posts on its most popular platforms — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram respectively — with hurricane preparation tips, weather updates and its current efforts. This social media strategy appeared to be targeting those directly affected by the storm.


The eye of the storm
Once Hurricane Harvey made landfall, the American Red Cross continued to keep its followers updated; however, its posts began to change across all social media platforms. The organization started to share shelter locations and the stories of evacuees in those shelters. These posts made me, an individual almost entirely unaffected by Hurricane Harvey, start paying attention by pulling at my heartstrings.


Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

The aftermath
After the storm and a series of emotional posts, the American Red Cross changed its social media strategy yet again. Now, the American Red Cross focused the majority of its posts on suggesting how we can help — including how we can donate.

The American Red Cross’ social media strategy was perfect for mobilizing its followers in all aspects: those directly affected, those indirectly affected and the nation as a whole.

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