How #charities & #socialenterprises can create great #socialmedia content (30 pages)

the american red cross hurricane app • great content

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How #charities & #socialenterprises can create great #socialmedia content


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The American Red Cross
Hurricane App


ounded in 1863, the Red Cross/Red Crescent global network is one of the world’s most
recognized humanitarian movements. The 189 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
work together to meet the needs of the world’s most vulnerable communities. The

American Red Cross was founded in 1881.

The App

Fully understanding the power and potential of mobile
technologies, the American Red Cross has developed
a range of apps that give people information in times of
need, teach basic health and safety, and provide guidance
during emergencies. With almost one million downloads
since its launch in August 2012, the American Red Cross
“Hurricane App” is among the most popular emergency
preparedness and response apps available for both iOS
and Android devices. Matt Goldfeder, Senior Director of
Mobile Product Development with the American Red
Cross, and his team designed the app “to provide users
with instant access to lifesaving information on what to do
before, during, and after a hurricane or tropical storm. This
information is meant to help users make critical decisions.”

Among the app’s key features are:

• Priorities for what to do before, during, and after

an event;

• Location based weather alerts that users can share on

social networks;

• Maps showing current projected paths of storms and


• Personalised weather alerts for locations where

family and friends reside;

• One touch “I’m safe” messaging to family and friends;
• Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible

alarm; and

• The locations of Red Cross shelters.

“The target audience for the Hurricane App,” highlights
Matt, “is everyone who lives in hurricane-prone regions of
the U.S. and those who live elsewhere but have family and
friends in these areas. The content is available in English
and Spanish based on the user’s language settings.”

Spreading the Word

With significant resources and reach, the American Red
Cross is pro-actively encouraging its networks to talk, share,
and download the app. Matt describes how “the ‘Download
the App’ call-to-action is now a part of our organisation’s
DNA. We promote all of our apps nationally and through
our network of more than 500 individual chapters across
the country. Our social media strategy actively engages
the entire organisation, our partners, and the public. All
of these entities are encouraged to not only talk about
the app, but to also share critical safety information with
the public and participate in broader online conversations
related to disaster safety and response.”

The Red Cross’ analytics reveal that the app is being
downloaded almost equally by men and women of all ages
with the majority of downloads coming from the East
Coast of the U.S. Matt notes how their “analytics tell us
that app usage and downloads are most prevalent during
“grey skies” (when disasters are actually occurring). We

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