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Social Media Command Centers and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Constant Technologies

Social Media Command Centers, often called “digital monitoring centers” or “listening centers,” are dedicated hubs for online conversations. Brands can use these hubs to monitor and respond to dialogue about the organization, consumer sentiment, and global trends. For the last several years social media has been critical to brand communication and marketing. This year has proven it’s critical for crisis communications as well.

Social media and COVID-19

2020 has brought numerous crises to the forefront, none more than the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel coronavirus was a crisis unlike any seen before in that it affected every brand and organization. Social media is critical for communication in a crisis such as the pandemic because it’s a direct contact point and a database with a staggering amount of data for those who know how to use it. Already a substantial wealth of information, online platforms had significant increases in activity this year. From November 2019 to May 2020, listening centers tracked over one billion mentions of the outbreak globally.

Social media is also significant because in many cases, it’s a primary touchpoint. Most people hear about emerging events on social media before they hear it anywhere else. This combination of data and the opportunity for information distribution means that organizations of all types felt immense responsibility when it came to social media and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Three industries in particular faced particular pressure as the outbreak unfolded: retail, logistics, and pharmaceutical. Here’s how they reacted, and how social media played a role.

Image of a social media command center with large video wall, couch, and employees collaboratingLogistics industry social media response

With the implementation of stay-at-home orders, demand for delivery of all types of goods increased astronomically. The logistics industry experienced unprecedented demand — and strain. Supply chain networks became overwhelmed and that, on top of ever-changing new regulations, produced exceptional challenges for the logistics industry.

In their online knowledge center, UPS shares that despite the challenges of COVID, “meeting customer expectations remains the priority.” While customers might understand shipping delays under the circumstances, transparency and communication are vital to retaining a positive brand image in the face of such challenges.

Social media listening for logistics companies allows them to detect — and mitigate– negative brand perception. Tracking mentions and sentiments allows them to keep up-to-date with the customer experience and deal with any potential customer service issues immediately as they arise. It also allows brands to disseminate information about changes in policies and shipping updates when they are needed most.

Retail social media response

Many stores closed to comply with stay-at-home orders and subsequently turned to social media to continue engaging with their customers as well as provide support for logistics delays.

Those deemed essential, such as grocery stores, not only remained open, but also faced pressures like never before.

As the pandemic hit full-force, brands received more and more inquiries about their responses and preparations. Social media listening centers enabled these brands to listen for mentions of their brand and track sentiment so they could empathetically join in on the conversation. Data gained from a social monitoring hub allows brands to perform the digital equivalent of “reading the room.” The most successful of these brands put forth proactive, sympathetic messaging early on. An example of a supportive yet prepared statement is a Tweet from H-E-B grocery:

Tweet from HEB grocery store

Pharmaceutical social media response

Thanks to COVID-19, health-related conversations on social media are amplified like they have never been before. This means it’s a prime time for medical organizations to listen in and leverage the insights that social media can give.

For COVID, as with any condition, information about how patients identify their symptoms, the treatment they’ve received, and their management of the condition can be gained through social media. With a new virus such as COVID-19 where knowledge was constantly developing, engaging in social media listening helped healthcare organizations gain important insights that informed future actions. The FDA has also encouraged organizations to use social media to learn more about patient perspectives.

As the year has unfolded, social media insights reflect patients’ current needs and problems so that healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies can appropriately respond. Earlier this year when lockdown began, much of the conversation focused purely on COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, and other relevant topics. Now that restrictions have begun to loosen, organizations are offering support for a range of health topics, especially communications surrounding chronic diseases that may be made worse by the coronavirus.

The benefit of social listening centers

Social listening is essential for brands during COVID and beyond. The insights gleaned from social media include campaign impact, trend tracking, brand sentiment, and most importantly this year, crisis management. While not every brand that practices social listening does so from within a social media center, these hubs allow organizations to more effectively take action on the insights they gain.

These centers help brands listen, serve, and connect with the public. Having a physical space dedicated to monitoring technology can make a world of difference in effectively implementing the insights learned. With the immediacy that people have come to expect from the internet, remaining responsive is harder than ever. The speed of online trends and interactions means that a streamlined, focused strategy is necessary to stay on top of the conversation. Social media command allows for rapid response, leading to real-time resolutions.

Displaying real-time social  data on a central video wall allows for rapid collaboration and response. A hub for social data also creates a focal point within the organization where insights and strategies can quickly be shared with all relevant departments.

With over 30 years’ experience creating 24/7 operations centers, Constant Technologies has the expertise to implement social media hubs in a variety of industries. The focal point of any listening center is a large-scale video wall. Additionally, the furniture selected for these spaces can also make a difference. Durable furniture with a focus on ergonomic design features makes long shifts in 24/7 monitoring centers feasible. At Constant Technologies, we provide customizable video wall and operations center furniture solutions as well as design, project management, installation, and service and support.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you create a social media command center, contact us today.

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About Constant:

Constant Technologies, Inc. provides AV integration for 24/7 video walls and custom operation center furniture. With 30+ years of experience, we can work with sensitive environments in the public and private sectors. Constant designs and installs projects of all scopes and sizes around the world. We also offer long-term service and support. We create solutions with the highest levels of security, aesthetics and functionality in mind.