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Hurricane Sandy: Social Media Resources

Businesses should tap into Facebook, Twitter and other social resources to inform and support employees and business partners.

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The East Coast is hunkered down as it awaits the worst of Hurricane Sandy, and social media is proving to be a critical resource both for the people directly in Sandy's path and for those connected to them. There are several social media resources that businesses should be tapping into Monday and for the rest of the week to keep abreast of what is going on with employees, customers and partners in Sandy's path, as well as to provide support before, during and after the storm.

-- The most important social media sites for businesses to be on top of are their own. Be sure to update employees and customers on the company's status via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other platforms on which you have presence: Are you open or closed? Should employees affected by the storm work from home? How should they be checking in? What resources are available to them? As power outages affect a wider and wider swath of the area in Sandy's path (and wake), social media updates via smartphones might be the only source of info people will have. -- On Twitter, follow FEMA (@fema), the American Red Cross (@redcross) and the government agencies and utility companies local to your company's main and branch offices for information on power outages, disaster preparedness and shelter from the storm.

-- Follow the National Weather Service's National Hurricane Center: U.S. National Hurricane Center, Atlantic (@NHC_Atlantic), provides public advisories relating to storm position, outlook and other news; U.S. National Hurricane Center, Surge (@NHC_surge), provides surge forecasts via real-time reports and observations. The National Hurricane Center also has a third Twitter account, @NHC_Pacific.

[ Read Companies Connect Via Social Media During Crises. ]

-- Searching on the Twitter hashtags #sandy and #frankenstorm will provide updates and information from many different sources.

-- On Facebook, the National Oceanic and Administration, the U.S. National Weather Service and the Weather Channel are just some of the organizations offering up-to-the minute information, updates, photos and video from the storm.

-- Google has put together a crisis map that shows the areas being hardest hit by the storm and the ones that will be hit next. The map includes info on, among other things, the storm's current location, its forecast track, the three-day forecast, storm surge probability and active emergency shelters.

-- Accuweather.com set up a Google+ hangout in which experts answered questions about the storm and the effects it will have -- specifically on the New York area.

-- Mashable has put together a list of the webcams showing Hurricane Sandy's progression through the New York-New Jersey area. Please let us know in the comments section below what social media resources you are using to help you and your employees and business partners get through the storm. We hope all of our readers stay safe.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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