Posted by: Alexa Morris | May 1, 2017

Crisis Communication on Social Media

You must know who your audience is before communicating risk, if you want to communicate with any hope of success! Lundgren and McMakin (2013) share that it is important to be aware of your audience because “sometimes the audience is broader than you think” (p. 92). On social media, FedEx must appeal to a wide audience, because any adult could be a potential customer. On social media, FedEx can communicate risk best on Facebook and Twitter. This was the case for FedEx most recently on Facebook, during the Oklahoma floods.

First, here is why FedEx cannot communicate risk on Instagram. FedEx provides a variety of shipping options domestic and abroad, as well as international freight, printing and logistic services. On Instagram, they emphasize travel, whether that is by plane, truck or car. Users on this platform will follow their friends and brands that have beautiful and unique photos.

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FedEx lives up to their profile description which is “delivering a more colorful, connected world”. FedEx shares the journey of how packages get one from one place to another in a beautiful way. In addition to great content, they also stick to the theme of transportation, which provides brand consistency throughout their feed.

While their Instagram is focused on travel, their Facebook is focused on programs, services, sponsorship and more, which attracts a different audience. FedEx makes the process of shipping a package look simple on their Facebook page. My favorite aspect of their page is the fact that they embrace user-generated content, like this little boy on Halloween.

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In addition to user-generated content, their content is also intentional about how weather around the world could impact deliveries. Here is one example of risk communication on social media. There is a risk while communicating weather, as in many cases, lives can be in danger. FedEx highlighted weather in a tasteful way that demonstrated how their employees were handling the floods, as people around the country watched the devastation in Oklahoma unfold on TV. FedEx knew their audience which was important because they could post content that fit “the needs of local communities and citizens affected by the crisis, but also have the diverse needs of those who feel connected to or part of the crisis events though they may live thousands of miles away” (Lundgren and McMakin, p. 92). Their audience connected with the content and sympathized with those affected in Oklahoma and FedEx employees.

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Lastly, the Fedex Twitter feed is a perfect blend of their Instagram and Facebook strategy. In addition to responding to customer’s questions and complaints, they feature user-generated content and the journey of shipments. FedEx has not used their handle for communicating a crisis yet, however, I believe they will be ready when the time arrives. FedEx does a terrific job appealing to a wide audience through each of their social channels.

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