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Social media "command centers"

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 13 Jul, 2011
Essential Essential topic

How should we manage social media conversations in the real world?

Did you see the publicity late last year around the launch of these "command centers" by two megabrands? Think nuclear power station or space shuttle consoles, very futuristic.  I thought their launch campaigns were really interesting in the way they were used to highlight, the importance of listening and responding, both to consumers and other people within the company.

Gatorade Mission Control

Here is a great example of how one brand uses social listening not only to monitor, but to engage and influence too.

Mashable wrote-up the thinking behind this.  If you take a look at this promo video, you can see how they emphasise the importance of listening to ALL conversations, but not only to monitor negatives, but find a way to engage and create dialogue. You can also see the scope of the control centre is not just social media but all marketing campaign activity cross channel and that includes the website and web analytics. What a great way of making web analytics sexy!

Dell Social Media Command Center

Launched around the same time, the thinking behind this initiative is similar. It's interesting that Michael Dell was rolled out for this one, to position the importance of the listening and responding for brand Dell.

And in the Real World?

These are big brands, what does this mean for smaller organisations? Some have even questioned their relevance for larger companies calling them white elephants.

Well, although we're not going to see these in companies where there is a marketing team of one, then there are steps you can take in terms of tools, process and engagement which I think apply to any size of organisation.

1. Put in place free or paid listening tools.

2. Use free tools initially to check the volume of conversation. If it's not significant, you can probably don't need a "mission control centre", but you should use a free tool to monitor your brand and respond appropriately - it's not just about monitoring the negatives as some see to think, it's about reaching out to potential partners and collaborators too.

3. Set up Social governance policies.

4. Find a method such that you can follow-up on potential partnership options - remember that Partnerships is the 8th P in the Marketing Mix.

5. Integrate your social media monitoring and reporting with other business and campaign reporting and web analytics systems.

I'd be interested to hear how you view the concept of the "social media command center". Is it useful, do you know of other examples and how do these 5 points compare to steps you have taken or about to take?

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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