Social media has helped countless companies expand their reach and increase their client base. But even though it has so many advantages, using social media comes with some risks. Today internet users are more reactive than ever, and a small issue can quickly cast its ripples around the world, putting companies’ reputations and success at risk. Social media crisis simulations (SMCS) now offer to help businesses prepare for the not-so-unlikely event of an online crisis. Of course, this comes at the cost of time and money, and many professionals wonder whether it’s worth the investment. If you are considering doing an SMCS with your team, ask yourself the following four questions to see if it’s the right thing for you to do.
Can you commit the time?
Running a social media crisis simulation takes a lot of time. Of course, you need to take into the account the time the simulation itself will last but also how many hours you need to dedicate to preparing it.
The best simulations are tailored to your business and reflect risks and issues you could face in real life. Only that way your team will learn something and come out well prepared for the real thing in the end.
To make sure your SMCS partner creates a simulation which helps your company build valuable skills, you need to work closely with them, prepare an outline of what you expect and want to work on, answer their questions and give feedback on their suggestions.
You also need to spend some time going over your results after the simulation. Evaluating what worked and what didn’t will help you put what you learned into practice to create a bulletproof crisis response plan. If you don’t have time to do that, you’re missing out on the most important part of the exercise.
Are you ready to face issues which could cause a crisis?
While preparing your social media crisis simulation, your partner will likely ask you what kind of crisis you think you’re most prone to. Of course, they can also make suggestions, but you know your company best, including its strengths and weaknesses.
Identifying and addressing issues which could cause a crisis on social media, or anywhere for that matter, is neither easy nor pleasant. Yet it’s the only way to make your SMCS effective and instructive.
If you’re ready to commit time and money to a crisis simulation, go all the way and bring up the things you are most worried about and want to see addressed. When working with the right SMCS partner this will help you create a scenario you and your team can learn a great deal from and will likely even result in resolving long-standing issues.
Do you have a strong social media presence or are you completely new to it?
The more active you are on social media, the more likely it is that something might go wrong. This doesn’t mean you should stop using it, but rather that it’s extra important for you to know how to cope when problems arise.
The more people you reach and communicate with, the higher the chance that someone will complain, post a negative review or take offense at something you post. Knowing this, it’s obvious that being prepared for a crisis is a must.
Also, if you are completely new to using social media for your business and have only started to build your following, it’s good to learn how to deal with problems from the beginning. Even mistakes made by inexperienced players are not easily excused today, so knowing how to correct an error and turn it around is a valuable tool both for beginners and advanced users of this medium.
Do you operate in a crisis-prone industry?
While everybody can and likely will make mistakes on social media and potentially be subject to a crisis at some point, some industries and businesses are more at risk than others.
Take a moment to evaluate your field and look at your competitors. Have they had to deal with many issues on social media? Why or why not? What were these issues caused by? Is that something which could happen to your company too? Maybe your whole industry is currently under scrutiny for reasons out of your control. Could that lead to a crisis involving your company?
By analyzing the current situation and thinking about how it could develop, you’ll get a good idea o whether you are operating in a field more prone to a crisis. And if that’s the case, a good SMCS is a solid way to prepare for a storm that could break loose anytime.
At Midas, we understand the power of social media and how it can help your company reach new highs or knock you down to an all-time low. To prepare you and your team to successfully navigate challenges you might face, we are launching our very own social media crisis simulation service soon. Get in touch with us by e-mail today to be among the first to participate.