If you’re a corporate that takes social media seriously, you need to have a Social Command Center in place to amplify and speed up engagement with your customers and create awareness of your social media activities internally. In this article I show you how to get started to create a Social Command Center that is of added value to your organization.

The added value
Last year I published  a couple of articles at Frankwatching.com about Social Command Centers. About the added value and how large corporates like KLM benefit from these centers. If you’re interested in the why of a Social Command Center I advice you to read these articles (use Google Translate for an English translation if you desire). This article is not about the why but aims to help you create a Social Command Center that is of added value for your brand.

Where to start
Designing your Social Command Center starts with setting up strategy and procedures; What is it you want to accomplish with your Social Command Center, how are you going to reach these goals and how are you going to measure its success? When your strategy is set, you have to design the physical space. Select the hardware and software you are going to use and make sure you hire dedicated staff to operate the Social Command Center.

Unfortunately there are still companies that setup a Social Command Center without a clear goal and proper strategy in place. They create a trendy space with an impressive large screens and a few shiny lights and call it their Social Command Center. These companies risk that their poorly run Social Command Center will be used to watch Football instead of monitoring social engagement.

Step 1: Strategy and goals
You start your social command center by defining your strategy and clear goals. What do you want to accomplish with your social command center and how are you going to do this? With a well-defined strategy, a solid plan how to reach your goals and defined KPI’s for measurement you are good to go. A Social Command Center can have various goals, here are some ideas:

  • Monitor social conversations of your main audience: Your brand’s customers, partners, employees, media
  • Monitor owned media and support your webcare team with insights
  • Create customer insights
  • Find and act on buying signals
  • Monitor real-time interactions during events or special occasions
  • Crisis management and PR
  • Real-time marketing
  • Real-time competitor analysis
  • Real-time market and trends analyses
  • Predictive analysis
  • Train employees
  • Combine social and business data

Step 2: Design & IT
When you have defined your strategy, you can start designing your Social Command Center to fit your needs. Think about a suitable location first. The marketing department on the 10th floor is probably not suitable if your goal is to create more awareness of your companies’ social media activities. A highly visible location usually works best, you want to put this in a place where it is most impactful to executives and staff. For example on the ground floor near the entrance of your office building. Then think about the composition of your Social Command Center. How many screens are you going to use, will you be using colored lightning to create a trendy and highly visible place?

A Social Command Center asks for a reliable IT infrastructure. You’ll need large screens, PC’s, network connections and other tools to power your center. Work closely with you IT department to make sure your hardware is reliable and supported by IT staff. You’ll also need powerful software that finds quality data and visualizes this data in attractive visuals on your screens. I recommend you to check out Brandwatch Vizia, which offers a powerful multi-screen display system for your Social Command Center.

Step 3: Data
Make sure you use suitable technology that let’s you access quality data. The data makes or breaks your Social Command Center. Your investment is useless if you can’t show quality and relevant data, I can’t stress this enough. A Social Command Center that adds value to your organization does more than measuring the basic social metrics like the amount of shares, retweets or likes. You have to write complex queries to gather the data that fit your strategy and KPI’s. A well-defined analytics plan will encompass dozens of measurements that need complex queries. Think about this and make sure you prepare.

Step 4: Staffing
Another major part of the success of your Social Command Center is determined by your staff. Make sure you have dedicated staffing to run your operations. The Social Command Center staff are the ambassadors of social media in your organization. They need to be able to show visitors the importance of social media for your brand.  It is common that the Social Command Center houses (a part of) your social media team. Almost every company that runs a Social Command Center experiences more involved employees that become social ambassadors. Don’t underestimate the power of it!

Support
If you need help setting up your Social Command Center, feel free to contact me. I’m more than happy to share my experiences and help you create success with your Social Command Center, wherever you are in the world!

Do you run a Social Command Center for your organization? Please share your experiences in the comments!