Social media training for social housing experts

The Client

Octavia Housing has been managing homes for 150 years, and currently manages around 4,700 properties. Octavia provides thousands of people in London with good quality, affordable, well-planned and well-managed homes, alongside care and support services and community projects.

Acumen first helped Octavia to develop their business continuity strategy and plan back in 2008 and has continued to work with them ever since to refine and further develop their business continuity capability.

Regular exercises and training sessions, involving Octavia’s senior management team, business managers and scheme-based personnel, ensure that capability is maintained, continually enhanced and broadened into one of organisation-wide resilience.

The Requirement

Recognising the need to incorporate social media into their crisis communications planning, Octavia recently asked Acumen to prepare and facilitate a a realistic and challenging social media-focussed crisis management exercise.

The Solution

Acumen partnered with media specialists Mentor to develop an exercise utilising their social media simulation tool 'Splutter', which provides the functionality of websites like Twitter in a secure, self-contained environment, allowing participants to view and post messages in 'real time'.

Acumen created a crisis scenario and ran a series of timed exercises to test the effectiveness of Octavia’s messaging. Highly realistic, 30-40 minute social media simulation sessions were followed by ‘hot’ debriefs, to assess where the teams performed well and offer learning points for improvement.

The success of these immersive sessions in a friendly, informal training style, has resulted in Octavia developing their social media policies and communications plan and, as part of our service, Acumen has since worked with Octavia to refine their initial crisis holding statements.

What the client said

“It was super-useful…we had such a brilliant experience – very comprehensive.

We try to prepare for every scenario but it was a very realistic way of preparing us for what would actually happen, with things happening so fast in real time. I feel much better equipped now.

It’s not like any other media training we’ve ever done before.”


Rachel Harrison
Head of Communications
Octavia Housing