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Great Commercial, FloodSmart.gov! Why Can’t I Find It On YouTube?

If you’ve been watching CNN recently, you’ve probably seen the FloodSmart.gov commercial – you know, the one where there are two guys getting rained on under floating rooves. One is “having a problem.” The other: dry and secure.

I wanted to see it again, so I quickly went to YouTube to see if I could find it.

Searching on “FloodSmart.gov” and “flood insurance,” I found nothing.

So I went directly to FloodSmart.gov. Voila! They had four iterations of videos from this ad campaign, but from what I can tell, there have no social media presence.

I am not suggesting that FEMA should have these videos on YouTube or establish a Facebook page just for the sake of checking a box and saying, “Hey! We’re in the social media game!”

Why am I highlighting this example then?

For two reasons:

1. What if I am local official who would like to embed this video on my city’s website? I have no way of quickly grabbing and embedding this video for the benefit of my citizens.

2. What if people have additional questions? Sure, I can call, have an agent call me or email FEMA my questions, but if I had to place myself in the average citizen’s shoes, my gut feeling is that my inquiry goes into a bureaucratic black hole. If I post my question on a Facebook page or am able to interact on Twitter, there are several benefits:

– I immediately see that my question is posted publicly.

– FEMA is held accountable for a response – if my question languishes without an answer, everyone knows it!

– Other citizens with similar questions can see that their question was asked (and hopefully answered), saving them time and energy.

– It’s likely that these tools will get indexed and rank fairly high in a Google search.

Now I don’t want to raise an issue without complimenting FEMA on four items:

a. When I conducted a Google Search, I was pleased to see that they had purchased an ad so that they appeared as the #1 result (in addition to being the top organic hit).

b. It’s a great commercial. Sometimes government commercials can come off as too cheesy. This one caught my attention and communicated their core message effectively. Well done. I’m sure it’s achieving maximum impact with a broad audience by running on CNN, too.

c. Nice use of a dedicated web page – FloodSmart.gov was easy to remember and when I landed on the page, I was greeted by the commercial, so I knew I’d arrived at the right place.

d. They have some excellent tools, like a One Step Flood Risk Profile and an interactive Flood Cost assessment (complete with thunderstorm sound effects :-).

So why not use social media in this instance to reach more citizens where they are on the Web?

What other tips or suggestions might you have for FEMA in this situation?

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