Social media and Web 2.0 technologies go hand in hand, so virtually everything you need to support your social media program from a technology and database perspective will live in the cloud. That’s a good thing for speed to market, low investment, and robustness. Establishing a presence on the major social networks is free, for the most part. It’s stunning to think how quickly and inexpensively you can be amassing an audience of hundreds of thousands, communicating with them, and publishing and promoting to them.
You will probably make technology investments in cloud software tools to help you do the following:
- Monitor your brand reputation, industry, and rivals
- Efficiently publish to several social networks
- Perform customer relationship management
- Launch sweepstakes, games, group deals, and other specialized campaigns
- Track and report analytics
Social media represent the new public square, and they are an ideal place to hear the conversations of your target consumers as they talk about your brand, the marketplace (what they like, what they hate, what they need), and your competitors. Listening is not just the first step in developing a strategy for how you’ll approach social media.
- Social media represent the new public square, and they are an ideal place to hear the conversations of your target consumers as they talk about your brand, the marketplace (what they like, what they hate, what they need), and your competitors. Listening is not just the first step in developing a strategy for how you’ll approach social media.
Publishing and Management Tools
Shout let, Voices, Hoot Suite, and Tweet Deck are just a few of the leading applications for publishing posts and managing conversations across multiple social media networks.
Most businesses will not require custom software to manage their advertising on social media platforms. But for organizations running large and complex ad buys across several social networks, or testing a huge variety of different ad versions, or micro-targeting audiences by location or other criteria, there are management tools worth considering.
For instance, BuyBuddy from Buddy Media allows you to manage your social media ad buys from one central console and lets you measure performance against an impressive array of performance goals.
Throughout this book, I’ve focused on the positive impact your social media program can have on your fans and on the company’s image. We’ve explored best practices and sought to learn from some of the most inspiring examples and case studies across different industries.
But when talking about social media operations, we can’t neglect disaster preparedness. It’s one of the unpleasant but vital responsibilities of a social media team: you must anticipate the worst and know how to respond to it to defuse a situation and prevent it from worsening.
Your Social Media Command Center
You’ve planned, budgeted, and staffed your social media operation. You’ve invested in and mastered powerful social media software. You know what you need now.
The digital marketing geek’s version of a “man cave,” the social media command center, was hatched in June 2010 by PepsiCo in its Chicago headquarters, for its Gatorade brand. Dubbed the “Gatorade Mission Control Center,” it consisted of a centrally located, glass-walled room, glowing with the light of six huge flat-screen monitors displaying social media visualizations from Radian6 and IBM software. From there, command center staffers monitored brand mentions and trending responses to Gatorade commercials and content uploaded to YouTube and USTREAM.
Community interaction, marketing campaigns, and promotions are the exciting aspects of social media—the stuff that happens in the glare of the spotlight. But what makes it all succeed is the unglamorous, backstage work of operations management: solid planning, budgeting, and staffing—and damage control when things go awry.