Brandwatch’s Chief Marketing Officer Will McInnes encourages readers to look upon visualizations and social data as a business’s “Social Command Center.”  Given our work to help companies extend their conversations with clients throughout the social media ecosystem, the resulting management complexity at times can be enormous.  Read on to hear Will’s take on the growing importance of visuals in modern life and business.  ~ LSi Media

The dominance of visuals in modern life

We’re stuck in a world of seemingly endless information overload – cat photos, work emails, personal health data from wearables, Tweets, the list is infinite.

Every day Americans consume an average of over 100,000 words and 34 gigabytes of content, according to the most recent study on “Measuring Consumer Information” from the University of California. Regardless of the source, that’s a lot of data.

Luckily, humans are visually wired. Visuals helps us make sense of the data by showing patterns and connections that matter. It’s the ideal way to consume large amounts of information.

Visuals play a massive role in our personal and professional lives, and visualizations are the leading solution for efficiently sharing and understanding social information-whether it is live or historical.

The power of visual data in business

Infographics, charts, maps, and dynamic visualizations are the most direct way to communicate stats and numbers to a brand or agency about their audience and business.

For community managers, marketing professionals, customer service employees and others throughout the enterprise, social data is becoming a vital part of everyday work.

Enter social media command centers.

Whatever you want to call them – social media command centers, war rooms, control centers – they are the hub for brands’ online engagement activities, customer service centers, and crisis and security management. Probably the most powerful way a social command center influences businesses is that it enables the type of decision-making and behavioral changes that can have incredibly positive effects.

They show live social data such as sentiment, complaints, and images, as well as trends like campaign success, emerging topics, and consumer journeys. The power of a social command center is its ability to bring the true, unadulterated and real-time voice of the customer straight into the organization in a visual way that can quickly and powerfully allow staff to do something different.

All of this activity is driven by visuals. With the ability to see social data in real-time, it’s easier to consume timely and vital information. It’s a method which can make the difference between identifying and managing a PR issue when it emerges, and being late to the conversation.. Delayed or absent information can have drastic negative implications. Conversely, with real-time data, community managers can find emerging influencers and topics, create conversations and promote positive messaging.

Social data + visualizations = social command centers

Many global brands are embracing the power of visual data and implementing social command centers. The mainstream consumer and technology media isn’t discussing social command centers in depth, despite the fact that multinational companies are embedding them into their organizations as they focus on becoming socially-driven enterprises.

As more and more businesses understand the importance of real time social data, and embrace visualizations which allow employees to consume complex data, the more deeply social command centers will penetrate the market.

How exactly does a social command center benefit businesses?

The information flowing through a social command center can be leveraged to inform a brand’s social activities, but that’s just one use case. Social data visualizations can help inform more than a brand’s Twitter, Facebook, or blog posts and responses.

From the marketing department to product development, almost every role across an organization benefits from seeing what’s being said online through the data visualizations in social command centers.

In what scenarios do the visual features of a social command center become more valuable than strictly analyzing raw data?

  • Campaign tracking: Brands can watch media coverage and social media mentions as they happen in real-time for their own and competitors’ campaign launches. They have the ability to modify messaging and investment across platforms accordingly.
  • Centrally-located teams: Social command centers provide a central hub for open and fast communication between social media team members or customer service representatives to respond quickly and efficiently to customers, brand fans, journalists and more.
  • Real-time crisis management: From finding out when ATMs are down, when weather affects store openings, and when a celebrity bashes your brand, social command centers can be used for every type of real-time crisis management scenario that comes up.
  • Product development: The product team can visually track specific product mentions and consumer feedback that can be integrated into product updates.

Campaign tracking is a highly cited use case for social command centers. Usually located smack dab in the middle of the marketing team and/or social media team, a social command center provided a heads-up display for community managers, marketers, and PR professionals.

But a different reason is emerging and driving businesses decide to implement command centers: to spark the process of embedding social media throughout an enterprise.

A social media-first strategy for any organization can include displaying social data in lobbies and company headquarters, executive and C-suite offices, marketing and social media departments and elsewhere to show the brand’s digital mentions in real-time.

The power of social data in a command center is the visualizations. Seeing graphs, charts, Tweets, and competitive comparisons beautifully displayed helps us as human beings and business people process information lightning quick. Visuals provide the ability to quickly convert social data points into insights that allow us to inform better and more strategic decision-making.

Smarter businesses know that social media is a powerful medium to learn from and to communicate with their consumers. Through the power of visualizations in social media command centers, organizations can disseminate valuable social data across every department.

Businesses should dive in headfirst when it comes to social data. Immerse the whole enterprise, every single employee. By directly tapping into the consumer conversations on social about brands, competitors, products and the general industry, you’re empowering your people to absorb and share important information. Visuals just make it easy.

Source:  SocialMediaToday