In early February, predictions of extremely frigid, historically low temperatures started to show up on some extended weather forecasts for Texas. Within several days, most forecasters agreed that a major weather event was imminent—with single-digit temperatures possible even in South Texas and the San Antonio area.

On February 12, Drewa Designs, as the City of Floresville’s social media manager, initiated a series of posts on City social media pages alerting citizens and area residents about the severity of the upcoming weather and urging them to prepare. Detailed messaging, including posts relayed from the National Weather Service, emergency service districts, and area utility and plumbing companies, started showing up in City of Floresville Facebook and Twitter feeds on Friday and Saturday.

As the largest city and county seat of Wilson County, Floresville (population 8,045) has an outsized influence and reach, even beyond its city limits. With over 5,000 Facebook followers, the City can quickly and directly communicate important information to thousands of individuals and businesses in the area.

Floresville, population 8,045, is the county seat of Wilson County, Texas.
Floresville, population 8,045, is the county seat of Wilson County, Texas.

Benefits of Effective Communication

During this historic weather event, successfully connecting with citizens via social media was a key factor that allowed Floresville to ride out the record low temperatures, icy roads, and wintry mix of precipitation—faring better than many other Texas cities.

As described by KSAT News and the Wilson County News, Floresville Electric Light & Power System (FELPS) was largely able to keep the power on—with minimum outages and rolling blackouts. Drewa Designs and the City of Floresville aided this effort by relaying conservation messages from FELPS, allowing the utility to better manage the local power system and keep lights and heat on as much as possible.

Advanced warnings also enabled citizens and businesses to prepare and protect people, plants, pets, and pipes. Working closely with City staff, we issued messages about area road conditions and closures and encouraged residents to stay home and stay safe during the worst parts of the storm. While Floresville was not entirely spared from burst pipes and water damage, social media notifications likely helped the city better manage the weather event relative to many other towns and cities.

As the thermometer dipped to ten degrees Fahrenheit in the Floresville area, Floresville United Methodist Church teamed with the City of Floresville and the American Red Cross to open a warming shelter for those in need. City Hall’s Facebook post announcing this warming shelter quickly reached over 31,000 individual Facebook users and was shared more than 500 times.

In fact, during the month of February, Facebook post reach and page views were up nearly 300 percent; and new page likes and followers increased by nearly 400 percent.

Floresville’s nickname, Peanut Capital of Texas, and the annual Peanut Festival reflect the tradition of agriculture.
Floresville’s nickname, Peanut Capitol of Texas, and the annual Peanut Festival reflect the tradition of agriculture in the area.

Building the Foundation for Digital Outreach

The City of Floresville was able to communicate effectively and broadly during this event, largely because it laid the groundwork years in advance. In 2016, working closely with former city manager Henrietta Turner, Drewa Designs helped Floresville launch a social media presence on Facebook (and later Twitter).

Building the City’s social media presence and expanding its outreach over the past five years has enabled Floresville to promote events such as Freedom Fest and the Peanut Festival, convey information about local government meetings and opportunities, provide alerts and closure notices related to the Covid-19 pandemic, and broadcast critical information during this and other extreme weather events.

Over the past year, due to Covid-19, many City meetings have been conducted via Zoom videoconferencing software and broadcast to the public through Facebook and the City website.

Investments made by City Hall over the past several years in the City website and social media presence have paid dividends during the Covid-19 pandemic and recent winter storm events. While many Texans suffered during this weather event, the City of Floresville was able to use social media and digital communication to minimize the impacts on its citizens.

Looking to the Future

Following this weather event, Drewa Designs continues to work with City staff to utilize social media and the City of Floresville website to share information about federal assistance opportunities, food and water distribution events, and other helpful resources. With light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel, we anticipate using digital communication media to provide information on upcoming vaccine clinics and other pandemic-related news and updates. Of course, we are all looking forward to warmer, healthier days ahead—when we can once again promote and attend in-person gatherings such as the Freedom Fest and Holiday Extravaganza.

We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the City of Floresville and assist with their social media management, website design, and other digital communications. We look forward to continued collaboration with the City of Floresville and our other municipal clients in the upcoming months and years.

Related Case Study

City of Floresville