Wells Fargo the latest brand to open social media command center

The banking giant’s stated goals for the center are to track sentiment and help with customer service. If there’s a lending question that comes up, though, that gets kicked to the lawyers.

Wells Fargo is the latest corporation to jump on the social media command center bandwagon.

They’re certainly not the first brand to do it, or even the first financial institution to do it (MasterCard has been there, done that).

Here’s how it works, according to AdAge:

The bank has a dozen people in San Francisco — as well as a team of six in Charlotte, N.C. — to monitor and post to social-media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. (A launch on Pinterest was set for early April.) They sit in front of a bank of TV screens that broadcast mentions of the brand and how social sentiment is trending.

The command center also has a customer service angle, which allows the company to immediately address any customer issues that may arise via social media.

I’ve spoken with several people who have worked in these types of “command center” environments, and the consensus I’ve seen is that it’s a great way to mollify execs who are frantically asking (and please pardon the jargon), “How can we better leverage our social media insights in real time to help us interface with our fans?”

In other words, it’s a great way to make your company look progressive and committed to social media (not to mention get some easy press in the meantime), but unless you have the infrastructure in place to create responsive content in real time, it’s just a bunch of numbers on a really expensive screen.

That’s not to say that Wells Fargo doesn’t have this. They absolutely may. But read between the lines of the AdAge article, and you’ll see why this model will only sort of work: “Anything to do with lending services and offers gets vetted by a lawyer.”

There’s a small time frame window where a piece of real time content marketing can be effective. The moment something is sent to the legal team, you might as well slam shut that window.

In my experience in working with Fortune 500 companies on their social media strategy and execution, very little significant social work happens in real time—there are way to many people who require way too many approvals.

Of the brands that I know to have social media command centers, I can’t say I’ve seen any of them use it to create a memorable piece of real time marketing.

But hey, if the execs are happy, we’re all happy, right?

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