Much like TV newsrooms, social media command centers are now becoming critical components for managing and monitoring the online social presence of organizations. Driven by powerful new infrastructures, these stations allow organizations to track and respond to public conversations about their brands in real time via popular social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more. As a result, staff can monitor millions of conversations at once, from a central location, leading to more effective follow-up, analysis, and online responses. But how can organizations implement this new type of media base? What are the recommended frameworks, processes, and best practices?
The following guidelines will help actualize social media command centers, through the selection of appropriate hardware and logistics, effective departmental organization, and content management and presentation software.
• Set the Scene: For large organizations, social media command centers can be set up in large areas equipped with several workstations while smaller firms can choose cubicles or kiosks from which staff members can curate online conversations. Depending on usage, organizations can select the number of screens required, their positioning, and the possibility of converging several screens to form a video wall. Generally speaking, the size and number of screens, workstations, and networking equipment are mostly determined by size and scope of the command center.
• Structure Ownership: It’s important to remember that social media encompasses several areas of the organization including marketing, public relations, customer service, IT, and other departments. A common implementation strategy is for a specific department to take overarching ownership of the command center to accelerate response times and ensure fluid information management. For instance, a digital marketing department could oversee issues arising via social media before turning to a multidisciplinary team to take appropriate actions.
• Manage Content: At the center of any command center is content. While some sites can be monitored directly, today’s variety of monitoring platforms can help organizations oversee both their brand and industry trends while obtaining insights into user demographics, emerging influencers, and trending topics. But when it comes to presenting information and data to screens, simplicity and dynamic delivery become key elements. Displaying live social media feeds in real time, from any number of sources in a way that avoids subjecting staff to information overload, will increase both absorption and retention rates. Therefore, organizations should also select a content management platform that provides easy-to-comprehend tools such as charts, graphs, gauges, counters, and other graphics. These platforms can also be paired with feeds coming from live TV news, RSS sources, financial data, or other relevant external streams.
• Create Channels: A command center’s content management system will also allow information to be organized in the form of channels that group information into topic-specific formats. As a result, content becomes easier to manage for staff monitoring millions of simultaneous social media conversations and allows them to efficiently focus on specific issues, topics, or crises that may arise. Channels powered by content management software are also vehicles for sending information to multiple endpoints, enabling command centers to reach affected staff members via desktop PCs, tablets, or smartphones. This keeps employees informed, regardless of their location.
Social media command centers provide several added benefits to companies: opportunities for new content creation, gathering marketing intelligence, measuring online campaign efforts, and providing satisfying responses to customer support issues. By using a combination of content-enabling software and sound organizational processes, organizations can easily develop a social media strategy that can lead to important competitive advantages, allowing them to securely manage crises, improve customer relationships, and gain valuable feedback about their brand.
Maria Porco is vice president of business development for X2O Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.