Setting Up a Social Media Management Center

Newsroom panorama

I’ve written posts like If I started today and Start From Nothing, where I talked about how I’d go about building my social presence. In this post, I want to talk about if I were managing a small team or department for an organization using social media tools. There are similarities, but there are some things I’d set up differently.

Goals- Always Goals

In building any social media platform, if you don’t start with goals, you’re starting with a hope for failure. There are many possible goals: relationship-building, lead generation, sales, marketing, awareness, customer service. In my example, I’m going to set mine up with the goal of improving leads and sales, while helping out my customer service department. You can alter the recipe to taste.

Internal Communication

For internal communication, I’d use a mix of Yammer and Google Docs. I’d use Yammer for the “fluid” information for our organization and I’d use Google Docs for static information, such as spreadsheets and records and documents. It’s important to have a good internal comms backbone, so that you can put actionable information in the hands of people sooner than later. I’d consider using a social CRM solution like BatchBook, too, because it’d let me keep a journal of notes on each client, depending on whether my sales were more transactional or longer-term.

Listening

I’d build a listening station depending on budget and size of company. If I had money to spend on analytics and insights, I’d buy the SAS Social Media Analytics tool (note: they’re a client, but they’re a client because I like this tool). For monitoring and sentiment, I’d buy either Radian6 or Sysomos (both have been clients) or similar. There are hundreds of decent listening tools. The reason I’d lean towards Radian6 is that they have lots of good team handling tools that let me manage the customer service aspects of social media really well within the tool. What I’d want that I don’t get right out of the box on any of non-SAS tools is better reports, but reports are for after the fact and these tools tend to focus on the here and now (rightly so).

Content

I’d start with a blog as my home base, even if the corporation has an official website. I need a place to create useful content that would be helpful to my buying audience. I’d build a WordPress blog and use a premium Theme to pretty it up. I currently use Genesis (affiliate link) as the base of most of my sites. I’d build blog posts based partly on what I got out of listening and partly out of what my buyers need to know about. I’d add video as soon as possible, shooting with something simple like a Flip Mino HD or my beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. Content, to me, is the anchor of any social media project.

Email Marketing

I believe that an email database is one of the most vital tools people seem to skip over when building a social media plan. To me, having a strong email marketing relationship is almost (almost!) more important than any other set of tools. Because with good email marketing comes a relationship that spans the platforms (which come and go), and that’s worth everything. I use Blue Sky Factory as my email marketing service provider. Why I love them is that they have great social-to-email-and-back tools, but they also have great relationships with all the spam guardians of the world, so they can actually call and talk to humans if ever I get stuck in a bind. This means the world to me. Don’t skimp on email technology, even if it’s somehow less sexy in your mind.

Outposts and Communities

Depending on what I’m doing, this answer is a bit variable. If I’m reaching a highly targeted business-to-business type of customer, then I might actually build a community platform and invite them in. This is the hardest of efforts, as people don’t usually want to join yet another platform. However, if I leave my community needs to a Facebook or a LinkedIn, then I’m at a loss for marketing data that I might normally want. So, that starts things off with a quandary. Do I want to work harder at getting people into a more measurable system, or do I want an easier effort to reach people?

If I have a consumer product, then I’m a bit more likely to try a Facebook group for promotions and awareness, but with links back to the blog frequently for actual lead acquisition and conversions. More likely, I’d also stuff my blog with Facebook “Like” buttons, so that I could ensure that people share my ideas out into their own Facebook communities (see also: Zappos.com).

The goal at the outposts is to build relationships with people and grow a little bit of a community feeling. The elements you need for that are a way for people to identify as part of that community, a common purpose for them to gather (hint: “gee my product is awesome” isn’t really an easy battle cry for people to get behind), and a way to share interactions with or without your explicit participation. This section, to me, is the trickiest, and I could write (and I have!) much more about community building with a business value in mind.

Twitter, obviously, is my community of choice. The reason, however, is the opposite of what I’ve listed here. I love Twitter for its serendipity effect. I love that it allows me to build multiple communities of interest at once. But that doesn’t sound all that targeted, so let’s just call it my little secret. Shhhh.

Marketplace

There are two things I’d do if I’m marketing a product using the social web:

  1. Make it easy to buy.
  2. Make it easy for you to sell to other people.

If at all possible, I’d have not just a robust ecommerce solution (and don’t be fooled into thinking that your product is too complex to sell on the web. I bought a 2010 Camaro on the web), but also an affiliate marketing opportunity. Why? Because I continue to believe that affiliate marketing is the best possible method of extending your salesforce on the web. I think that finding passionate people with applicable communities and audiences and then enabling their ability to profit from selling a product they support into their community is the gold standard of marketing on the web.

Yes, referrals without profit are wonderful. Yes, just pointing to the good things is noble. That’s all great. What I’m saying is that there are lots of people who could stand to make a few extra bucks a month who also have a relationship with an audience that matters. Those people, when selling openly and with true intentions of supporting their community, are the best salespeople. Talk about word of mouth. This is the ultimate value proposition.

So That’s the Basics

When I look over what I’ve written, I could see telling you about this or that plugin, or this or that passing fad of a tool. I don’t see the value in muddying up the descriptions above. You can add and subtract tools as you see fit. You can point out why I’ve not mentioned this groundbreaking thing that you’ve done to get a million leads. I’ll gladly listen. My point is that I’ve given you a simple starting point for a platform.

Let’s talk about it. What else do you need? How else can I help? What can I clarify?

ChrisBrogan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Ibzstrategies

    Fantastic post and just so happens I was looking for exactly this today. You have made my life so much easier…..Twitter community for sharing great info is amazing.

  • http://www.donmartelli.com Don Martelli

    Simple yet sound advice, as always Chris. Nice job.

  • BC

    Goals, wow, thank you. I am constantly amazed at marketing teams that set no performance goals and do no tracking after their campaigns launch. Excellent start to this article.

  • http://www.pixelpointpress.com/blog/ pixelpointpress

    The paragraph on content is suitable for framing. Thanks for reminding people that you need a home base for social content on the web.

  • http://matthewm.org Matt Medeiros

    Yesterday I was thinking to myself, “how could I build a SM command center?”

    Today, you post this article.

    Get out of my head John Malkovich!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It’s crowded in here, and honestly, don’t get me started on the latex and spandex stuff I keep finding in the back. : )

      • http://matthewm.org Matt Medeiros

        haha!

  • http://naturalpapa.com/activism/yep-its-movember-its-about-mens-health/ Derek

    Thanks for always giving away this kind of great info for people new to the social media arena! Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    I love how you present things so simply. It’s the same ideas that others try to confuse, yet your approach reminds us that we’re not doing rocket science. :) The email marketing point is fascinating to me. I’m working with a client who used a web company to create a website with a blog. The web company suggested email marketing is an “old school” tactic that people don’t really use any more. Thankfully, I was able to explain why that wasn’t the case, but it’s nice to see validation from you that I was on point with my recommendation to include email.Heather@prTini

    • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

      Heather,

      I think a lot of people confuse Email Marketing with Email Spamming. I see it a lot of times people supposedly running a Spammy campaign calling it a Email Marketing. I personally did stay away from recommending email marketing for this same reason. But I have seen how doing it the right way will bring long term benefits and healthy relationships.

    • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

      Heather,

      I think a lot of people confuse Email Marketing with Email Spamming. I see it a lot of times people supposedly running a Spammy campaign calling it a Email Marketing. I personally did stay away from recommending email marketing for this same reason. But I have seen how doing it the right way will bring long term benefits and healthy relationships.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Oh, email’s alive and well. People saying otherwise are people destined for a quick flash.

  • http://twitter.com/FossilDesigns Fossil Designs, LLC

    Absolute total serendipitous awesomeness. I was actually wondering about a good way to set this up as a friend of mine and I were talking about it over the weekend. There is definitely a ton of good advice here. Thanks again for everything.

  • http://twitter.com/FossilDesigns Fossil Designs, LLC

    Absolute total serendipitous awesomeness. I was actually wondering about a good way to set this up as a friend of mine and I were talking about it over the weekend. There is definitely a ton of good advice here. Thanks again for everything.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Happy to help. : )

  • http://twitter.com/FossilDesigns Fossil Designs, LLC

    Absolute total serendipitous awesomeness. I was actually wondering about a good way to set this up as a friend of mine and I were talking about it over the weekend. There is definitely a ton of good advice here. Thanks again for everything.

  • http://damangmedia.com/ Matt Clark

    Thanks Chris, these are some great tips. I have been using Social media for awhile, however the success for my business has been hit or miss.

    Now that I look at these tips my approach has also been hit or miss. Interesting how you get what you give :-). Time to put a stronger more focused strategy. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Glad to be helpful, Matt. Let me know if this helps out.

  • http://damangmedia.com/ Matt Clark

    Thanks Chris, these are some great tips. I have been using Social media for awhile, however the success for my business has been hit or miss.

    Now that I look at these tips my approach has also been hit or miss. Interesting how you get what you give :-). Time to put a stronger more focused strategy. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://damangmedia.com/ Matt Clark

    Thanks Chris, these are some great tips. I have been using Social media for awhile, however the success for my business has been hit or miss.

    Now that I look at these tips my approach has also been hit or miss. Interesting how you get what you give :-). Time to put a stronger more focused strategy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    If I saw an office setup like the photo at the top of the blog post I think I would turn and run (if I had to work there). It looks chaotic.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I just picked a random photo of a busy-ish office. : )

  • http://www.affiliatesea.com affiliatesea

    Thanks for the post.

  • http://michaelnus.com Michael Nus

    Nice post about setting up a Social Media presence by Chris Brogan

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    I agree with mostly everyone who commented before. It is a great post with a lot of overview of what we need. It would be great if you could create a seminar similar to the one a few weeks ago with more detail. I would be the first one to sign-up.

    I think it does not get better than focusing on

    Make it easy to buy.
    Make it easy for you to sell to other people.

    Most people including myself have an issue with getting these done. I guess making it easy to buy is easier than having other people sell it. Once you have other people selling it you are in a win win situation. Thanks again for sharing great content.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    I agree with mostly everyone who commented before. It is a great post with a lot of overview of what we need. It would be great if you could create a seminar similar to the one a few weeks ago with more detail. I would be the first one to sign-up.

    I think it does not get better than focusing on

    Make it easy to buy.
    Make it easy for you to sell to other people.

    Most people including myself have an issue with getting these done. I guess making it easy to buy is easier than having other people sell it. Once you have other people selling it you are in a win win situation. Thanks again for sharing great content.

  • http://www.blueclover.com/ Tim Hayden

    Nice illustration of what a COC (Community Operations Center) may look like, Chris. I’ve often thought about building a nerve center for clients wishing to leverage the social web for online sales, customer service and awareness…where collaboration between those disciples is seamless and real-time.

    While listening/monitoring, communication and distribution tools may look very much like what you’ve outlined here, I don’t believe you’d disagree in the need for integrating this with existing business operations. Before we can consider social CRM, the “sexy” database(s) that make such possible will need to communicate with other platforms already in use. Think: merchandising, supply chain, procurement…more.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I quite agree that we have to have integration. In this case, I didn’t really sketch out the larger story as much as I talked about the social media components, but you’re right that we have to plumb it all into the main systems.

      • http://twitter.com/mati4real L. Mati Arya

        Nice post.As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and although I’m fairly deep into the process there is always room for improvement. Tweaking what exists takes a little more effort, as I’m learning first hand but ulitmately worth it. Any posts yours or others you can direct me to about “plubming it all into the main systems”? I’ve got some tools but integrating them to create a comprehensive result and/or overview is definitely a challenge. I’m loooking forward to sharing this post with the masses. .

      • http://twitter.com/mati4real L. Mati Arya

        Missed this one, good advice. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 and although I’m fairly deep into Social Media there is always room for improvement. Tweaking what exists takes a little more effort, as I’m learning first hand but ulitmately worth it. Any posts, yours or others you’d recommend about “plubming it all into the main systems”? I’ve got tools, but integrating them to create a search enabled database of resources is definitely a challenge. I’m loooking forward to sharing this post with the masses. Thanks

  • Erica

    What are the tools to setup/offer affiliate programs on a small business’ offerings?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      shareasale.com , linkshare.com , cj.com , e-junkie.com , to name a few.

  • http://www.facebook.com/georgia.lella Georgia Lella

    kalhspera

  • AnnieSmidt

    I’m really curious to know why you (and other social media folks) recommend adding video to your blog so adamantly.

    As a reader of blogs, nothing bugs me more than having to watch a video rather than being able to read a post. It feels almost egotistical to subject your readers to something immutably time-based rather than allow them to read your words at their own pace and to their own degree of thoroughness.

    So, yes, video is bad UX for me. But do you have stats or anecdotal evidence that I’m in the minority?

  • Anonymous

    Oh wow, I never really thought about it that way before. It does make sense.

    http://www.web-privacy.edu.tc

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZUSY54ECZDBPOZB5473KYDBVI4 Brown Willson

    The aim of art is to build relationships with people and grow a little sense of community. The elements you need for this is a way for people to identify themselves as part of this community in a common goal to meet.

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  • http://www.myefox.com/ Myefox

    Good writing, bookmarked your website!

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  • http://www.moldremoval.net/ Mold Testing Service New York

    it’s a nice site .thanks for giving such kind of information.

  • http://twitter.com/garious1 Garious

    Social media is so broad that without any concrete goal, you might as well as be another item for the fail blog. I like the last advice here – to make it easy for your readers/visitors/prospects. I think many new businesses miss to make a hit simply because their message is like a WWII enigma that don’t make any sense.

  • http://gregcryns.blogspot.com/ greg_cryns

    a busy-ish office – HA! I think it has more square footage than the Twitter office (have they moved yet?)

    How do you find the time to put out articles like this? Good stuff.

  • http://Www.blistmarketing.com Brandon Yanofsky

    I’d like to find out a bit more on the actual management of the social media team.

  • Anonymous

    Chris, I don’t understand what you mean by “listening”. Sounds like of CIA?

    Also, on some future post, could you give an example of each of the above. Affiliate marketing has been talked to death, but many I’ve never heard of.

  • Anonymous

    Chris, I don’t understand what you mean by “listening”. Sounds like of CIA?

    Also, on some future post, could you give an example of each of the above. Affiliate marketing has been talked to death, but many I’ve never heard of.

  • http://twitter.com/bongi_ben Ben Scott

    i dont get this a lot of these products you say are great are done better with a lot of open source solutions e.g. wordpress, project pier, sugar CRM, alfresco

    also the case for a listening grid and proper use of google analytics can often achieve a lot of what is needed for most people

    for larger enterprise customers some of these products you mention seem ok but often the requirements of custom integration make me think why for some of the products e.g. what happens when these services are no longer around and the data cant be accessed

  • http://illwatchanything.com Jared Parmenter

    What a clear, concise, valuable post. Sharing this with a few dozen people. Thanks!

  • http://illwatchanything.com Jared Parmenter

    What a clear, concise, valuable post. Sharing this with a few dozen people. Thanks!

  • http://illwatchanything.com Jared Parmenter

    What a clear, concise, valuable post. Sharing this with a few dozen people. Thanks!

  • http://www.slice-works.com krabil57

    Chris, you are my favorite go-to guy for all things social media. This post lives up to all the others. Thanks.

    Have you ever done a post about Twitter and how to engage? I’d love to see that explained.

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