From Community Managers to Community Management
In the recent few months I have seen a noteworthy progression of social media command centers in Latin America in industries like CPG, telecommunications and banks. The Latin American market is changing from having just a community manager to monitor Facebook to forming command centers with monitoring tools and community platforms. Some of these companies are early adopters eager to take the risk of failing and to quickly overcome any social media hurdles.
Some are just using social media tools, others are incorporating forums and knowledge bases and others have a CRM system somehow integrated to the command center and social media channels. The good thing is that these companies are learning to listen and to validate social media metrics to then start a Social CRM strategy in phases. Based on what I have seen in countries like Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, I have come up with 4 different levels to manage a social media command center.
1) Facilitate the Conversation. Using social media tools like Buzzient, Next Principles, CoTweet or Radian6, we can monitor and have an engagement where agents of the command center and/or the community managers are able to understand the conversations and be the advocates of the consumers. The problems are not solved but they facilitate the conversation to understand the problem.
2) Community Collaboration. Once they understand the problem, they seek ways to engage the community to solve the problem. With a knowledge management system and/or communities such as Open-source forums, blogs, UserVoice, GetSatisfaction, Fuze Digital, Yahoo Answers and/or Lithium they can re-direct the consumer to the appropriate content to resolve the problem.
3) Solve the Problem. But if the community cannot solve the problem, or your company has no content in the knowledge base, they can then manage the problem in the CRM system with interfaces and processes that create contacts and cases from the social media-monitoring tool and/or from the community platform. This implies that not all conversations on Facebook or Twitter should reach the CRM system. The command center should have business rules and workflows that will filter these conversations to the appropriate areas in your organization and/or community platform. Some tools used are ZenDesk, Desk.com and CRM software integrated to social media channels.
4) Learn from Metrics. But the most important thing is the power in real time to analyze the conversations in the different social media channels and communities to learn from trends and metrics. The command center metrics should also be part of your customer analytics and BI strategy.
As you can see this involves a "community management" approach and it is more than just having ONE community manager. The command center must have Social Media Director, supervisors or community managers, agents, analysts, a knowledge management administrator, and a community platform administrator, among other roles (internal or external) such as the members of your communities
These 4 levels of community engagement have different management flavors: a) marketing departments, b) customer service, c) call center outsourcer, d) marketing agency, and, c) a combination of the agency with the marketing department. It is still an evolving process and these companies are still learning as the move from one phase of the implementation to another. The interesting fact is that they now understand that it takes a community to manage a command center.
Note: Many of these companies are still under a stealth mode with their Social CRM strategies, some are just doing customer service, others are gathering ideas and feedback and others are just building communities outside Facebook and Twitter. They are still learning and are not yet using their social media success or failures for any public relation goals.