#crisis - Social Media in Incident Response Event

Posted on 31 August

Using our award-winning Media Incident Training Simulator, we held an interactive workshop at Glasgow Caledonian University to demonstrate how social media can impact incident response.


Yesterday, PlanB Consulting held a learning event in partnership with Scottish Continuity on the impact social media has had on how organisations respond to an incident. The changing expectations of employees, customers and the wider public to be informed in a transparent, timely manner and the engagement and dialogue they can have on the event means that companies now have to have robust, reliable crisis communications plans.

Our in-house crisis communications expert, Jamie Donald, kicked off the event with a brief presentation on the subject, using case studies of both good and bad examples of social media communication and escalation in recent times. After that, the participants were split into groups to act as the communications team for fictional companies on an industrial estate and given free reign of our Media Incident Training Simulator.

"An engaging and entertaining insight - a fantastic event, led by a motivated and knowledgeable team." - Crisis Manager, Barclays.

When a fire broke out at one of the businesses, causing mass casualties, injuries and infrastructure damage, the teams were left to face the simulated public and media backlash via social media feeds, news websites and company websites. Forming a crisis communications strategy on the spot and implementing it is not easy, but our delegates tackled a wide variety of issues with humour and professionalism - from speculation about laser eyed rabbits to a prescheduled social media release which made a poor taste reference to the events currently unfolding. 

Over the course of the exercise, we performed timeline jumps to introduce additional complexity. While a logistics firm handled the impact of congestion and poor internal communication regarding the single egress route to the site, a pharmaceutical company addressed animal cruelty concerns and wider reputational issues. After each section of the timeline, we consolidated the response of each group and performed hot debriefs on what could be done and alternative messaging.

The event was met with overwhelming positive feedback, with one delegate commenting that the event was 'absolutely excellent - a vivid and accurate picture of the social media landscape and the issues this presents to continuing business during an incident.'

Want us to run an interactive workshop for your incident management or communications team? Reach out to us here and talk to us about how we can help you.