Social hubs – what are they and why you may need one?

4 Social Hub Examples

As the number of social networks increases, brands have started to look at ways in which they can bring all their social networks into their brand owned websites. Contrast this with the more common situation where the only reference to social media on the main site are the ubiquitous  Facebook,  Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ share buttons. These don’t give any impression of the type of interactions and communities developed on these networks or customers own networks.

Social hubs can give customers a snap shot preview of the activity on each of the chosen social networks. This is a growing trend among the bigger, global brands which have active social outposts, often country-specific and they clearly want to bring that conversation and activity to their own site.

What is a Social Hub?

Social hubs tend to be content aggregation pages on a brands own website. Pulling feeds from any or all of a blog, Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, YouTube, Blogger.com and more… We have talked before about the need for a content hub which is something different – this is typically a blog where content is updated and then syndicated or manually shared to different networks which point back to more detailed info on the hub as Dave Chaffey describes in this post showing a model of a content hub.

If brands are making good use of the social networks in their own right, not just publishing the same thing to each of them, then they are actually useful if you are genuinely interested in that brand. Giving you instant access to the most recent activity, it also makes it easy to follow / like / join each of the networks directly from that page.

Why do you need them – beyond buttons?

I think the use of a brand hub are still few and far between, given they are a simple way to integrate the multitude of social networks onto one page. I think this is probably because many CMS won’t support so they need manual creation of a page integrating all the feeds which needs time for design and styling.

Social hubs give:

  • An easy way to view all social activity with a particular brand
  • A method to join multiple networks from one place
  • Integration between own brand communities (blog > forums) and external activity

Social Hub Examples

Here are four examples I think work, but interested to know of others you like, including your own – let us know and we’ll update the post.

Cisco Social Hub

Social Cisco Social Media

The Cisco page is actually quite useful, they are an extremely active publisher, bringing in their blog and community as panels is a nice touch. It also makes it easy to follow recent conversations and connect straight in with them.

Dell

Social Media Dell

For a brand that does so well in Social Media I was rather surprised by this page, very little interactivity, no feeds pulled in, just static content with links to the social networks.  A disappointing attempt?

H&M

H&M Social Media Room

One of the more impressive Social Hubs, giving you the ability to filter content byH&M only or community, or both. Hovering over each piece of content will expand the box and give you more information. It also allows you to publish content to your Facebook wall or retweet / reply to a twitter message from this page.

National Nuclear Security Administration

An example of a typical Social Hub, the latest pieces of content from the 4 major social networks (minus Google +), a very simple and yet somewhat effective page.

What do you think? Are social hubs a useful feature for websites or something the bigger brands do, “because they can”?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Walmsley/509498198 Chris Walmsley

    For B2B companies wondering how to get involved in social media, hubs are the way forward. When people search for B2B products and services they will use more traditional methods like word of mouth, search engines, magazines, newspapers etc rather than social media.

    If they come across your companies website a social hub is a great way to bring your company to life and capture them as a follower, then future messages get pushed out to them through the social media.

    I have just moved from a B2C client side social position to a B2B agency advocating social media and I see many companies scared by social media (in the UK in B2B) when I have put forward the idea about the hub and shown them some examples they start to realise not only that they can get involved in social media, but that it can also bring their (often very static and boring) websites to life.

    To be honest as more and more social networks and communication methods grow I can see companies with static websites being left behind by those who are continually communicating through the various channels. For my freelance project I am working on the homepage is going to be a hub with the static content accessed via links.

    Sorry forgot to add this is just my opinion would love to hear other views because I have been advocating hubs to clients over the last 6 months :)

    • http://twitter.com/damien_mahoney Damien Mahoney

      Hi Chris, we (Stackla – social hub software) now has a partner in the UK, let me know if you want to get in touch.

  • http://www.q4blog.com Darrell Heaps

    Great post Chris, I’m a huge supporter of social media hubs. I wanted to let you know that my firm (Q4) just recently deployed a new social stream widget on Dell’s blog. Check it out here (right side of page): http://en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/dell-shares/b/dell-shares/default.aspx

    We’ve also been building social media hubs for various companies for about 6 months or so. A couple examples:

    Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare
    http://teekay.com/business/media-centre/Media-Kit/default.aspx

    YouTube and Flickr
    http://www.aimia.com/English/Media-Center/Multimedia-Gallery/default.aspx

    Would love to hear your thoughts on them. Cheers.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Walmsley/509498198 Chris Walmsley

      Hi Darrell thanks for sharing the links to the social hub examples. Love the social stream widget on Dell’s blog! I can see this kind of thing becoming very popular, especially for companies generating a lot of content!

      I like the way you have laid out the Teekay media especially as you don’t have too much space to work with!. All I would say is that maybe it would be good to have a bit more order or information about the different media available. The same for the Aimia site too. Maybe you could put a few more social plugins down the right hand side or one of those social streams, they seem to have a lot of content!

      If our clients ever go ahead I will post up some examples of what they have done here as well.

      • http://www.smartinsights.com/ Dave Chaffey

        Thanks Chris, thanks Darrell – Darrell is going to writeup his experiences on these for best practice, so watch out for this – sometime next week.

  • Bizdaa HuB

    Introdcuing Bizdaa.com the worlds first social B2B Hub

  • hub

    Social Hub is for Great Video Moments!
    Now you can swipe videos for best moments which is highlighted by other people.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clipclock/id564400744?mt=8

  • teamtint

    Chris, thanks for the great article. I’d also like to share a product called Tint ( http://www.tintup.com ), which allows brands to start making beautiful social hubs in minutes, and for free. We have over 3000 digital properties using our product, and would love to help more people out there market themselves better with their social media.

    Best,

    Ryo Chiba & Team Tint

  • Pingback: Are Social Hubs the Answer for Business Content Aggregation? | WebTool Plugin For WordPress

  • Pingback: Are Social Hubs the Answer for Business Content Aggregation? | Your Daily Dose of Spice – News From Across The Globe

  • Pingback: The Social Hub | Social Hubs – What and Why?

  • Pingback: 5 Ways Retailers Can Use Social Media for Black Friday

  • Pingback: What Is A Social Hub?

  • Pindle

    If you want a visual social media hub check Pindle: http://www.getpindle.com/

    It allows you to curate and display your social media feed on a single place.

  • MikeCogburn

    I do wonder how much value these kinds of hubs really provide, though they are neat. Wouldn’t users be looking for content/info thematically? This seems like the ‘multimedia’ sections of websites, that users don’t exactly seek out unless they are super bored… I think the key is integrating all of the social channels, and weaving through websites/apps/content marketing efforts.

Feedback Form
Feedback Form