The future of social media command centres

command centre

command centreSprinklr has seen the future, or at least the future of social media command centres, and it looks increasingly positive, and increasingly flexible. Long gone are the days of a central control room, with six chairs in front of large screens that showed social media activity about a brand in a defined way. After all, what use is a room in HQ when so many people now work from other locations, including, increasingly, from home?

Instead, it seems that companies are increasingly recognising that what they need from a command centre is flexibility in the data available, so that people see what they need to see, accessibility for those who need the information, so that they can see what they need to see whenever they need to see it, and from wherever they are, coupled with an ability to respond in real time. It’s quite a big ‘ask’, but many companies are finding that it’s possible, and that it’s serving them well.

The benefits of a command centre

Command centres can have a range of benefits for organisations, including:

  • They show the value of social media beyond the social media team, to the rest of the organisation;
  • They create a sense of engagement at large events. You can curate content from attendees at your events, creating a link between real-life attendance and online conversations;
  • They support internal collaboration, by keeping people informed of what’s going on in the world, and how the brand is being discussed;
  • They help you to make informed decisions. Like dashboards, they take large volumes of information, in this case conversations on social media, analyse it and present it in easy-to-understand ways, so that you can use the information to inform your decision-making.

But just now, command centres can’t really do all these things. They have certain limitations, shall we say? They are often physically confined to one location. Fine if everyone is at HQ, but that’s often not the case. Secondly, they’re not necessarily adaptable. Individuals only want to see the data that’s important to them, but not every command centre lets individuals select. And even if they do, selection can be a pretty blunt tool. And a physical command centre is hard to scale or change as the social media landscape changes. Many are set up for a single campaign or use, and then become obsolete. Because they can’t be changed, companies end up investing again to get a new command centre for the next use, instead of having something that is infinitely flexible and reusable.

In other words, there’s still a long way to go before command centres really do what’s required.

A vision for the future

Sprinklr’s vision for the command centre of the future is very different. The new breed of command centres will be integrated with the rest of the social media management: part of an overall system. They will be collaborative, connecting different parts of the organisation including marketing, PR, and customer care, and able to provide different dashboards for different audiences. They will be accessible wherever you are and whenever you need it. You don’t have to be in HQ, and it doesn’t have to be within regular working hours, because your customers aren’t having conversations about you in regular working hours. The centre will be customisable and expandable, to fit your future needs as well as today. And best of all, it will help you to respond in real time to social media activity. You can see what’s happening, and you can decide what to do about it, whether that’s to respond straight away in public, or listen to what your customers say first, before you put together a more considered response.

Sprinklr offers a questionnaire to help you decide what sort of command centre you need, with five possibilities:

  • integration, with a solution linked to your reporting;
  • actionability, to display posts where your team can and will take action on them;
  • configurability, where your solution can be customised for different business needs;
  • accessibility, to link people in different locations and support collaborative decision-making; and
  • curation, to showcase content and enhance real-life experiences of customers.

A challenge and an opportunity

With more than three quarters of us using social media, it’s both a challenge and an opportunity for brands. A challenge, because conversations develop quickly, and reputations can fall very fast. And an opportunity because where else can you hear what your customers are saying as they say it, and be able to respond? Social media command centres are essential to addressing the challenge and embracing the opportunity.

Image credit: Kevin Sr., Brooklyn Union Gas Systems Control Center circa 1962

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