The Social Media Command Center: Fad Or Future?

The social media command center (SMCC) entered the spotlight in 2010 when Gatorade and Dell launched their centers. Since then, many brands have jumped on the bandwagon, but for the pace at which the social media industry moves, widescale adoption has been slow to take off.

There are a number of reasons why. Many shy away from the high deployment costs without an obvious ROI, and some see the SMCC as nothing but a PR stunt.

Today social media is touching every part of a brand’s business: customer care, PR, product innovation, business development, legal and even finance. This means that more people within the organization need to have access to social media insights and metrics. As social media continues to impact every business unit, the SMCC can be extremely valuable.

But to be truly successful and steal a piece of social’s future, the SMCC must maximize ROI and provide real business value. Otherwise it will indeed become nothing but a fad.

So what makes a successful SMCC? Here are my criteria:

Determine Business Goals and Units

Establish the business purpose of building the SMCC. For example is it for social customer service, crisis management, content strategy -- or a combination? Furthermore, work with different business units such as product, PR, HR and more to determine if and how they can benefit from the SMCC.

Build For Brands, Not NASA

Different teams ranging from community managers to analysts will most likely need to access the visualizations. The design and user-interface needs to cater to multiple teams with different skill sets and ways of analyzing data. Intuitive, slick and clean visualizations will make it easy to read and understand data.

Actionable Data

Evaluating hundreds of social media platforms and their associated dashboards has taught me the difference between a success metric and actionable data. Compare for example sentiment vs. a running leaderboard of on-channel brand advocates. All data needs to have a valuable purpose, one that will affect daily brand tactics and long-term strategy.

Owned, Earned and Paid

Social media is no longer siloed into owned media channels. It breathes life in the worlds of earned and paid, too. To be successful in social media, brands must integrate and align all three channels. The SMCC should facilitate this by providing data on all three and their relationships.


Social media security and risk management is an emerging challenge for brands in the social space. Recent examples include hacks to automobile and restaurant brand Twitter accounts. The SMCC ideally should integrate technology that monitors social account security. The center itself must also be compliant with permissions across publishing and listening as well as secure access.

Real Time

Social media operates at the speed of culture. The SMCC needs to be as close to real time as possible.

Above All - Mobile

This has been the biggest hindrance to the SMCC going mainstream. The center can’t be confined to a room. Social media is 24/7, affecting multiple business teams at any location. Social media needs to be monitored, controlled and produced from both cell phones and tablets. Brands who make this possible will get the most out of the center.

I’m not holding a crystal ball, but I can promise that brands who follow these suggestions will gain real value from their SMCC.

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