Winning the big data battle through Social Media Command Centers

Social media has become an integral part of marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. Billions of people around the world use social media every day, and that number is rapidly growing. It’s estimated that by 2018, 2.44 billion people will be using social networks, up from 970,000 in 2010[1].. In the current scenario, marketers have a plethora of digital tools available to them and an ever-growing volume of data that is only growing exponentially. For example, there are 12 terabytes of Tweets daily and that is only from one social media channel[2]. Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have transformed the way information is consumed and distributed. Stories, information, reviews spread quicker and wider than ever before.

The extent of a brand’s marketing exposure – positive or negative – has never been greater, or more fleeting, than. The challenge is for marketers to leverage technology to gain insights that are valuable for organizational growth. When the goal is growth hacking, increased market share and more website visits, how does an organization leverage technology to gain business insights using various types of data— user level, aggregated level and more? How then can the insights be leveraged to make important business decisions that bring better results. This veritable explosion in customer touchpoints and digital accessibility has only made the need for effective data architecture even more urgent. It is virtually a battle out there and whichever brand is able to understand the data well and at a rapid, real-time, will emerge as a winner.

Data-Driven Marketing Is The Future

These fast-evolving mar-tech changes necessitate the need for data lakes, an emerging group of data-management technologies that are engineered to store, process, and analyze structured and unstructured data. Creating a data lake is a powerful, accountable, and transparent contributor to a company’s success. It enables teams to connect the dots between marketing activities, from start to finish, to see which one’s influence revenue. Setting up a data lake provides a single customer view across platforms, silos and channels giving the organization a revenue-generation machine. The older ways of capturing data through CRM, marketing automation, analytics, are not sufficient anymore. In this data-heavy world, the organization needs to own the data across marketing applications, channels and various departments.

 “Today, 66% of online USERS are actively using social networkin, but only 16% of companies use social media to engage with customers, you cannot have credibility saying you are customer-centric if you ignore your customers in social media channels” – Altimeter business analyst Charlene Li

Since the origin of a large part of this data is through online and social media channels, it needs to be understood in a holistic manner. This will give the organization a single view of their customers’ movements and decisions through various devices and places. Setting up a social media command center enables live monitoring of the brand, products and the market. It also helps engage with customers across different channels and offers live insights while tracking what is happening on social media. It can accelerate ROI because it ensures that customer service, sales and marketing and other departments remain aligned and focused in the same direction, thereby driving effective organizational decisions and improved brand loyalty.

Before companies set up a social media command center, they need to ask the following questions:

  • What is the organization’s core objectives, and what information would you want to extract from social channels?
  • Who will be the key stakeholders who will be the primary users of this command center?
  • Where will your command center be located?
  • Which data sources would you use?
  • What type of visual data representation will be most effective?
  • How will you transform the insights unveiled by your command center into action?

3 Steps to Setting Up a Social Media Command Center

  1. Mission: Charter a team with a clear mission for the command center from important business areas, especially those whose work is influenced by social media monitoring and insights, such as PR, brand management, consumer insights and research, digital marketing and so on.
  2. Structure: Determine how the command center will be set up and its structure. Will it have a permanent physical location in the office or be distributed across several spaces in various locations? Typically, companies have a central hub that provides centralized resources to business units with key strategic decisions are made there, while the responsibility of execution in business units and local markets lie with the other locations, also known as the spokes. The right use case needs to be determined to increase visibility using a command center. It could be for one reason or a mix of them, such as, tracking the performance of marketing campaigns, connecting with key decision makers, influencers and thought leaders of the industry or creating a platform for handling crisis management.
  3. Social analytics solution: Choose the right social analytics solution and then allocate a budget for the command center. Giving the command center a brand within the organization is also important because it raises awareness and conveys its value to the rest of the organization.

A great example of leveraging the power of a social media command center was during one of the Super Bowls, where organizers set up a massive 2,800-square-foot social media ground control, outfitted with 150 square feet of networked screen space and more than a mile of ethernet cable.  For more than two weeks, 50 experts logged 15-hour days inside, sorting through some 64 million social impressions.  On average, they responded to questions within 3 minutes resulting in the command center generating $3.2 million in positive press and a 12.5% boost in consumer sentiment.

Image Source: Klipfolio

Benefits of setting up a social media command center are many fold right from showcasing your brand’s digital presence, monitoring competition, optimizing your campaign messages, enhancing event experience, crisis management, customer service to driving better business strategies through these insights. However, setting up and managing such command centers requires a right partner.

The Need for The Right Partner

With social media monitoring and analysis technologies becoming increasingly smart and sophisticated, social media command centers are the best way to harness the potential of these networks. Whether it is information distribution, monitoring, interacting and responding to customers interaction, amplifying brand messaging, or leading consumer behavior, there is enough evidence of the pressing need for implementing a data-driven social media command center.

To execute a social media command center that provides a single view of the customer and using the information in the data lake effectively, a well-established partner who can work with the multiple pieces of this puzzle is imperative. With the immense complexity of data that an organization deals with, the partner has to have the knowledge to choose the right tools to set up data architecture, along with the right business understanding and skills to leverage the true power of social media command centers. They should also carry the experience of having delivered such transformational solutions to clients across industries and markets. This expertise can significantly boost ROI and increase revenues.

While technology and consulting firms claim to help with digital transformation, they usually understand only one piece of the digital puzzle. However, a partner who can help companies growth hack in this new normal through a comprehensive, thorough and integrated understanding

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