The “Social Media” Command Center

We’ve worked on a number of command center projects, some that look like the NASA command center in Houston where the famous “Houston, we have a problem” line was received. Most track vital real-time logistical and operational data – the stuff that keeps organizations operating smoothly. But a few years ago we started getting requests for command centers that look a little different and track equally important live content from numerous social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were building early versions of the “social media command center.”

As the name suggests, a social media command center is a central place where staff from multiple departments can easily follow, analyze, and react to social media conversations. However, it’s far more than a way to avert a brand crisis. The social media command center provides important opportunities to drive the creation of new content based on customer comments, on current events and more. In addition, it provides marketing intelligence, online and TV campaign measurement efforts, and a central tracking place to ensure customer support issues are addressed.

The size and scope of the social media command center will vary depending on specific needs and budgets, but the base elements are the same: digital screens, laptops, internet access, a live TV feed, and some software to help visualize all that incoming data. There’s no need to get intimidated by the term “command center”, as suggested by Sheldon Levine, Director of Community Management at Sysomos – it can range from a single cubicle to an entire room covered in digital displays and video walls.

Presenting all of this data and information in a simplified, yet dynamic way is a key part of the social media command center. To drive this content to screens, a content management platform should be able to display live social media feeds from any number of sources — such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — in an easy-to-absorb format to screens in the command center. The platform must be able to display content from sources in real time, in addition to providing analytics in a manner that simplifies understanding and prevents information overload. For example, data can be segmented by demographic, geography, type of sentiment (complaint versus compliment), and more, and then presented in the easy-to-digest format of charts, graphs, gauges, counters, or other graphics. This information can be coupled with live TV news feeds, various RSS news feeds, financial data feeds, and other external information that’s relevant. Additional internal data can also be displayed, providing even more contextual information, all at a glance.

Contact us to discuss your social media visualization projects and ideas. I cover this topic in more detail in a recent article in Signage Solutions magazine: UNLEASHING NEW MEDIA: THE RISE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA COMMAND CENTER 

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