posted on September 19, 2012 17:20
What is Social Simulator?
In the first 24 hours after a crisis or PR disaster there is approximately a fivefold increase in questions, discussions and comments on social media platforms. If handled incorrectly, it can have damaging and long-lasting effects for a business or organisation. Social Simulator replicates a real-life crisis to allow businesses to see how their teams would react and respond across the different social media platforms and ensure their crisis management plan is effective.
Who’s it for?
Social Simulator can be used across a wide range of businesses or organisations. It is often used to train people in communications, policy and front-line staff to help them deal with social media effectively during a crisis. For example, it could be used by a major transportation company in the event of a terrorist attack, governments could use it to prepare their social media teams in the event of a leaked report which spreads anger amongst the public or major retailers could use the tool to discover how they respond to consumer backlash over the discovery that their company uses child labour to produce their goods.
How does Social Simulator work?
The tool simulates social interactions across some of the main social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and online news articles. The simulation plays out in real-time with communication experts role-playing the general public. The tool also takes into account peaks in social media crises such as a substantial volume of news stories or social media updates due to a breaking news story. This will allow participants to react and respond to a real-life situation. The exercise is all kept private, allowing organisations to get a clear understanding of how the situation is handled by their staff.
What will it achieve?
In a time of crisis, the public will flock to social media. Journalists scour Twitter for breaking news and use real-time updates to monitor a situation or story. Images and videos will populate YouTube before they make the news. Questions will be posted to Facebook pages asking for advice or sharing their opinions. All of these social interactions need to be handled effectively to stop a crisis from escalating even further. Preparing an organisation for such an event can help prevent a crisis from escalating out of control and limit damage to brands and reputations.
What is the impact?
Running a social simulation can have a real impact on an organisation, ensuring they are prepared if a crisis occurs. Social Simulator not only runs a real-time example of a crisis, but provides a full debrief after the event. This allows an organisation to see how fast responses are, make suggestions on how to improve reactions and responses, and analyse the successes and failures of the simulation.
Engaging in a simulation exercise as thorough as Social Simulator allows organisations to test their stakeholder and internal communications and see how their existing crisis management policies work in a real-life situation.