// what do you think?


Social Media Center of Excellence Or Cool Kid Clubhouse?

Stormtroopers With Attitude I truly believe that social media can solve a lot of real business problems, but one problem it can’t solve is human nature.

Running social media inside a company is tough because large organizations support their large structure by creating silos. Being able to work across silos is a very valuable skill set for those running social media.

This is why more and more companies are setting up Social Media Centers of Excellence.

As businesses mature in their use and sophistication in implementing and managing social media most large enterprise companies are setting up Social Media Center’s of Excellence (SM COE).

In most cases this is an extremely positive move. The usual activity inside large enterprises has been a social media land grab with various marketing, PR, customer support and other groups vying for *ownership* of social media. This is human nature. We can be greedy and we don’t always play well with others. We like power and we naturally seek it out and are reluctant to give it up.

By building out a SM COE  companies are able to leverage skills, capabilities, best practices and institutional knowledge - *if it’s done right!*

SM COE’s Are Not Clubhouses

SM COE’s are extremely powerful to helping manage cross silo processes and achieve scale. But they don’t always work. Sometimes SM COE’s just become another information silo. A few groups decide they want to collectively manage social media but they don’t bother bringing everyone to the table. This is just another form of the social media land grab. If you fail to include the people who know how to find the answers, no matter what their job title is or where in the org they sit, your efforts will fail.

Social media is inclusive not exclusive, this goes for all your stakeholders; customers, employees and partners. You can’t just include the ones who think like you do or agree with your world view of social media. When building a SM COE be sure to include representatives from all across the company.

The camel is a horse that was designed by committee.

I know some of you are worried that too many people being involved will derail the process from ever happening. I understand and I’ve seen this before. I know the advantages of starting with a small core group but sooner than later you need to expand that structure.

I won’t go into all of that at this phase but for now I’ll just point out that Jeremiah Owyang at the Altimeter Group has a lot of great research on this. (Don’t get caught up on the budget numbers.)

Photo credit by Joriel “Joz” Jimenez

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tac Anderson, Craig M. Jamieson, Rachel Johnsen, AllThingsM, Medias Sociaux and others. Medias Sociaux said: Social Media Center of Excellence Or Cool Kid Clubhouse? http://bit.ly/hmN0ii /via @NewCommBiz [...]

  • http://twitter.com/julesblake Jules Blake

    Social media as organisational landgrab from @tacanderson and more good resources from @jowyang

  • http://prmktgcamp.com PR+MKTG Camp/Dan Greenfield

    Timely piece as I had just made a mental note to self to blog about this very topic.

    I like the way you phrased it: “Being able to work across silos is a very valuable skill set for those running social media.”
    I think it may be a mistake to automatically eliminate silos even as we attempt to make marketing, sales and customer service more interdependent in executing a company’s engagement strategy. Silos exist for a reason; they help clarify roles and responsibilities.

    Of course, customers see companies not silos. Organizations would be well served by looking past the ownership issue. Departments may have turf wars, but customers don’t care; they just want their needs met and their problems solved – in real time. And that’s where COEs are incredibly valuable.

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    I was once in the “destroy all silos” camp and while I still don’t think they’re necessary, I do think they’re inevitable. So we better find another way to work. SM COE’s are perfect for this. Thanks for the comment Dan.

  • http://twitter.com/EricBurgess Eric Burgess

    Tac, can you site some examples/companies who are adopting this?

    Something else I was going to blog about myself was this sudden surge in big companies - Dell, Microsoft (with Bing), and others - setting up social media “command centers”. Here’s the recent article from Mashable on Dell’s: http://mashable.com/2010/12/08/dell-social-listening-center/

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