HootSuite and the Rise of the Social Media Command Center

By Devon Glenn 

HootSuite today announced the launch of its Social Media Command Center: a new system for gathering and organizing data from social media sites.

But we’re not talking about a simple dashboard — this command center comes with multiple screens. It’s basically an air traffic control room for your Twitter account.

Communications sent via Twitter, Facebook, and other networks have become so unwieldy that some corporations (and the agencies that serve them) need to see the results on wall-mounted screens to be able to centralize, monitor, and manage them.

“It’s a reflection of a bunch of different trends,” said Matt Switzer, VP of partnerships at HootSuite, via phone. Mainly, “Brands are moving from campaign-based to ongoing social strategies.”

As brands trade in their freebie Facebook accounts for enterprise solutions, HootSuite has optimized the flow of real-time metrics and data to large-screen displays and mobile devices as well as desktops.

Although HootSuite couldn’t reveal its own client list at the time of the launch, the evidence is growing that social media command centers are gaining momentum.

Earlier this year, the Host Committee for the Super Bowl XLVI set up a command center in Indianapolis to broadcast highlights from the game, to respond to emergencies, and to help visitors find parking.

For large companies and agencies, said Switzer, the core activities involved in social media monitoring include brand management, crisis communications, marketing campaigns, and event promotion.

Command centers are usually run by a dedicated social media team, but they also help other departments that deal with the public, like customer service, sales, and tech support.

“For a lot of execs, social media doesn’t come natively,” Switzer said. “But when it’s on the screen in real time, it’s harder to ignore.”