Oh Sandy, Why Did You Have to Be So Mean?

Oh Sandy, Why Did You Have to Be So Mean?
By Sabrina Espinal

Running my social media business is like a well-rehearsed and beautiful dance: smoothly turning, gliding and grooving through the day. It’s exciting, rewarding and it’s always a good day at Sabrina&Company Marketing.

Everything was just humming along … and then Mother Nature stepped into the picture with a mean superstorm, also known as Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricanes aren’t supposed to hit New York City. Many people forget that New York City is an island, especially since it is tucked away between bigger pieces of land. So, when the information about Hurricane Sandy was on the news, most people didn’t believe it was going to be that big of a deal. After all, it was coming all the way from the Caribbean and then heading up the East Coast. What were the chances that it would actually find and hit New York City?

Well, I had a funny feeling that there was a big chance it would land in New York City. So, not only did I start hauling home cans of tuna fish, batteries, candles and bottled water, but I also started thinking about how my company would survive the storm. The biggest threat to my business was going to be the loss of electricity and the loss of an Internet connection.

I immediately decided to get a plan together!

My Disaster Plan List

  1. A “power station” that you charge for 36 hours and then it supplies low wattage recharge power for a few days
  2. A “wireless hot spot” on my iPhone with my Verizon cell phone service
  3. An extra charger case for my iPhone
  4. An extra charger case for my husband’s iPhone
  5. A 50 gig “wireless hot spot” from T-Mobile
  6. A transistor radio and batteries
  7. My computer, iPad and iPhone 100% charged
  8. Quick email marketing to all my clients to let them know that I might lose power but I would be online working for them

It Happened
I was hoping for the best and nervous for the worse.  And then, around 7pm on Monday night, the power went out. The nightmare of Sandy and her destruction had begun. The devastation was across multiple states and continued through the night into the next day. The cost of damages to the state of New York alone has been estimated to be around $30 billion dollars.

And the Social Media Continued
I remained dedicated to updating my clients’ social media accounts as we communicated through text messages.  All of my clients in the path of Sandy lost power and were impacted by the destruction. All of them were without electric and other basic utilities for at least five days.

Business After Sandy and Loving My Clients
My restaurant clients worked closely with me as they went through multiple phases of re-opening without phones, internal systems, credit card machines and so much more.

One bar owner client opened without power and just grilled hotdogs on the street and gave them away to hungry people in their neighborhood. Of course, I got that message out on Facebook and Twitter.

Another of my clients is a morning radio personality. Despite the fact that the radio station lost power for a week, she continued to work (with the help of a generator) and kept people informed of what was going on in a world without electricity.  I was able to listen to her on my transistor radio and post the Sandy aftermath updates on her social networks.

One lucky restaurant client received electricity after five days, and was able to open with lights, heat and really great handmade bagels. Their phones were out and they could only take cash, but they were busy. The restaurant became the neighborhood comfort location for people to stop by, get warm and talk about living without electricity and life after Sandy.

Personally, I did not have electricity and heat for five days but I stayed focused on taking care of myself, my family and my business.  Once my “power station” was drained I ventured to places that allowed me to recharge my electrical devices and continue to work.

I’m so proud of my clients that made the decision to focus on others and not on their core business. I’m elated that I have been able to support them in every phase of superstorm Sandy and their continuing struggle with recovery.

My clients and I have grown so much closer as we learned a new and unexpected dance together.

Sabrina Espinal is the owner of Sabrina&Company Marketing, a creative social marketing company that combines the power of social media marketing, WordPress website design and niche virtual services into a unique offering for the busy entrepreneur.