Is a Social Media Command Center Right For Your Business?

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at a Social:IRL event in Kansas, focused on rethinking traditional business operations in the age of social. I chose to speak on the advent of social media command centers and how they are changing the way organizations operate for events. By providing examples of some of the better-known centers, like Gatorade, Dell, and the Super Bowl, my intention was to bring some clarity to a question many large organizations face of whether a social command center is right for them.

While this depends on the internal mission of a particular organization, implementing  a large-scale command center is not always necessary, however, there are principles these centers have forged that most organizations can use during times of influx of interested consumers.

I think about the reasons why these centers are even required and it’s usually for a large event or product launch or even just a really large company that is handling a massive amount of communication daily. Organizations that have systems in place are finding measurable results, while others who don’t are missing opportunities to engage with a suddenly interested audience, expand their reach, increase communication at events, and grow.


Before your next event

As with anything, having a plan of action is the best way to approach your next event. You should start by understanding what problems you want to solve by having a social presence at your next event, which can include anything from keeping the audience informed to driving traffic to a particular Web site, generating leads, or increasing brand awareness. In the case of the Indianapolis Super Bowl Committee’s command center, they wanted to provide a one-of-a-kind fan experience for those attending the weeks worth of events leading up to the game.

Beyond planning the “what” of your next event, time must be spent determining your KPIs. These can range from simply increasing your brand’s reach to increasing sign ups on your landing page. With Twitter being the go-to for staying connected at events, many KPI metrics  tend to focus on this channel. Metrics tracking Mentions, Retweets, hashtags, important influencers, and overall reach should be measured,  along with pre-determined keywords that you want to listen for.

Organizing for success is the next step, which is dependent on the scale that you are trying to achieve. Think about your team structure and who will be responsible for listening , content creation or responding back to users. Typically in large-scale centers there are teams that listen for different keywords and then determine the appropriate response to those actions. It’s also important to keep in mind infrastructure and logistics,; where will your teams be and what hardware or software will they need for managing the complexities of a social media command center.

During your next event

Once your team is organized and planning is complete, it’s time to be active while the event is occurring: make sure business objectives are met, KPIs are hit, and the event goes smoothly. These actions are aided by additional principles that command centers have already pioneered and standardized:

Scheduled content- Having a regular cadence of conversations with your now captive audience is essential. This task is made easier by planning a content calendar of your posts over the course of the event. This content should include event details, important locations, friendly reminders, event facts, and sponsor information. Contests are also easy to handle by pre-scheduling.

Unscheduled content- It is very important that you keep your audience up-to-date with the latest of what is happening around the event. Posting news-worthy items like room changes or something cool happening helps keep your audience in the loop on what’s happening around the event.

Listen & Engage- Listen to your audience. Make sure to respond quickly to any questions they have and spred their share-worthy content. If you pick up quotes from your speakers that support the reason your event exists, share it!

Lagniappe- Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to keep those who are not attending the event in the loop with what’s occurring internally. This helps promote attendance for the next time around. In addition, when looking for posts to share, find content that supports the mission of your event.

After your next event

The hard part is over, but there are steps organizations should take in order to collect key takeaways from the event. One simple step is to provide an event recap on your blog, like ours from Social: IRL, which is an easy way for attendees to share and remember what occurred. Follow up with those who became your power users during the event and keep monitoring the feeds from the event, especially in the # world. Also, revisit your KPIs to determine the success of your campaign.

Social for business has grown up over the last year. We as an industry have deepened our understanding of utilizing social platforms for effective marketing while increasing the number of people who have a role within social. This growth has emerged with more developments for these new folks in social to geek out over, from the newest social network to the latest social media success story, but the emergence of social command centers and the principles these centers practice have provided hours of content to consume, share, and put into practice for our own. For your next event consider some of the principles laid out here and grow your social.

To check out my preso slides from the event click here.

Austin Lytle's picture

Austin Lytle

Austin Lytle is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Spredfast where he works with customers and the Spredfast product team to make sure we are delivering the world's best social software platform. Austin spent three years running political campaigns in Texas and Louisiana. A New Orleans native, he is avid cyclist and lover of music and wine.