4 Tips for a Better Holiday Command Center

Summer is coming to an end, fall is here, and the holidays are just around the corner. For many of you it means longer hours, strong coffee, and bigger campaigns and budgets. With the pressure often comes more eyes on results from social. That can mean stress, but it can also be an opportunity. As I travel the country and meet with social teams, I’m hearing a theme for the holidays: command centers. They are an opportunity to showcase your results.

Command centers were the rage six years ago. Remember the dedicated rooms, big monitors, and press. And then a few years ago, I remember seeing dust collect when I visited brands. We can agree there is a pendulum of trends in social, right? According to my small, admittedly unscientific sample set, we are hearing more companies planning a form of a digital base. Just this week I heard one team calling their command center a “digital dojo”—I’m jealous! If you are considering a holiday command center, here are four tips to help advance your social program:

1. Start with why.

Yes, I’m borrowing from Simon Sinek, but it’s a concept that works everywhere. What is the purpose of a holiday-focused command center? Are you building internal awareness? I see most teams focused on raising the social IQ of their organization and giving key stakeholders a high-level view of the impact social has on the business. Instead of waiting for the dust to settle after the holidays or a leader to email you with ad hoc reporting requests, get the data out in the open. Use it to inform, educate, and active your organization. But before jumping into the sources of visual data, think about the outcomes. How will this make a difference in your organization?

2. Know your audience.

Depending on the location and format of your social hub, make sure you understand who will viewing. Is it your team, senior leadership, brand managers, or vendors? Most companies will have many categories; therefore, you should think about value for each group. For example, leadership will need high-level business metrics, while brand managers will want to see their product or campaign.

3. Establish screens with purpose.

If you have the luxury to visualize data on more than a few monitors, consider the intent of each one. With the lens of holiday, think about trends, giving campaigns, product or campaign highlights, and referral traffic. Keeping your objectives and audience in mind will help create more discussion when people visit. Be flexible, too. When people have questions or feedback, swap screens, refreshing sources that need to be highlighted.

4. Move beyond the data.

In my experience, the most successful holiday command centers start a conversation. A wall with monitors is the launchpad for more. It’s like a solid PowerPoint for a presentation. The visuals emphasize the story you are telling and the big point you want to leave with your audience. Think about creating intentional discussions with each visitor. I’ve seen brands with a checklist or one-page resource to help guide people through the experience. Have a weekly tour or morning huddle and invite cross-functional teams. Create a narrative that is linked to your desired outcomes.

When you get to February and look back on the blur of the holiday, how will a command center help drive value to your organization?

If you have questions about best practices on building a command center, my team is a great resource and we’d love to talk!

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Tim Bursch is the Minneapolis Market Director at Spredfast. When he’s not tweeting, blogging, or strategizing, Tim spends time with his wife and 3 kids, all of whom enjoy cooking great food or scoping out the next great restaurant in Minneapolis. He’s also really good at drinking coffee and reading lots of books.