Social Media Monitoring and Engagement in the Corporation/Enterprise: Centralized or De-Centralized?
I want to revisit a topic that my colleague Mike Manuel brought up in August of last year: Social Media Monitoring and Engagement Strategy. As Mike pointed out, for many firms the strategy is rather shallow, that is, ‘We listen and respond’…but as he asked, how? why? and the ever important question, how are you measuring the effectiveness of that engagement?
As more organizations pay attention to the social web and begin to engage what is the best structure for this?
What is the best model for online engagement? Centralized or De-Centralized?
Right now I see a mix of two models for companies doing a good job of social media monitoring and engagement:
1. De-centralized: A number of folks all have their own feedreaders and custom RSS searches. What they monitor and respond too is limited to what interests them, or the work they do. This may be aligned by business units or product groups. There is little or no oversight, coordination or measurement.
There are pros/cons to this structure. Obviously it’s good that those who are passionate are getting engaged, but there are risks with this. Also, without any type of metrics there is no coordinated tracking of issues for trends or determination that the time being spent is justified.
I think this is what is happening in many large organizations. As internal social media teams develop to form strategy and support internal folks this may change.
2. Centralized: A person or department such as PR monitors conversations and then responds as needed. In some cases an internal team assists with responding, or best-case scenario the issues are flagged and sent to the appropriate person for response, i.e. customer service, product development, etc.
For large organizations the sheer conversational volume can be overwhelming for one person, or even a department. As we all know, not every conversation is important. How do you determine which issue require responses?
Tools have recently emerged that allow for proper tracking of ‘issues’ online and can assist with the internal assignment and follow-up. Radian6 has added this functionality, and we’ve developed our own tool for clients.
A centralized source can look at the whole picture and hopefully see trends and issue emerging, but that still doesn’t stop employees or other business units from doing their own thing.
That leads to perhaps a third model, which is mixed. Some business units have a centralized approach, but that’s only for their fiefdom.
If you work at an organization what is your strategy? Centralized or De-Centralized? Do you see yourself shifting in the future?
I have a few more thoughts on engagement…..more on that tomorrow though.