- Hub & Spoke (and Multiple Hub & Spoke)
Each model has its pros and cons, and some are more applicable to certain types of companies. For example, a company like Zappos has a culture that is conducive to a Holistic model, in which each employee is empowered. The Holistic model probably wouldn’t work out so well with a company like Microsoft, so a Multiple Hub & Spoke model makes more sense (one hub/brand sets rules & procedures and business units undertake their own efforts). Altimeter shares that most companies organize into Hub & Spoke or Centralized models. I favor the Hub & Spoke model for a few reasons. It gets more people involved. People pick up & notice things that others may not. And by empowering the business units to manage their own social media activities they are more invested in the success of those activities and stay more closely tied to the company.
I think it would be interesting to look more closely at how companies’ organizational social model changes over time. When a company goes from 3 people to 30 people to 300 people to 3000 people, how does social media management grow with the company?
Altimeter discovered that as companies mature their total budget, team size, and organizational social model matures as well. The evolution they found was from Centralized (with about 3 team members) to Hub & Spoke (with 8 team members), to Hub & Spoke or Multiple Hub & Spoke (with a larger budget and 20 team members).
- Hire folks with a track record of early tech adoption in their careers (and train for scale)
- Integrate social media on the website, aggregate, & curate
- Invest in advertising to leverage social graph & focus on clear metrics
- Build an unpaid army of advocates (let your customers do the work for you)
- Invest in scalable systems like social CRM and management tools
- Learn to measure ROI (Altimeter put together an ROI Pyramid to illustrate ways to measure ROI)
With early stage companies, just like setting a company culture is important, figuring out how social will be integrated early on will save time and headaches down the road when an unorganized, not thought out plan, creates chaos. You could experiment with different models, and remember that the model may need to change as the company grows, since some models are more scalable than others.