1) Social media stakeholders: CoE staff and internal customers
The early days of establishing a center of excellence tends to be politically fraught, with concerns about over-centralization and prized social media functions at a local level getting moved to a larger bureaucracy in another area within the company. But the first step is clearly understanding who is engaging in important social media activity within the company today. The pattern tends to be the same: There are one or two major initiatives, 5-10 departmental initiatives, and a lot of smaller informal or shadow activities.
2) Key social processes and activities
While a large part of the CoE’s function is to respond to requests for assistance from across the organization, a lot takes place on a regular basis that was formerly managed locally, informally, and in a fragmented fashion. Proactive activities include centralized listening, dispatch of key events to internal stakeholder, reporting, measurement, community management, education and training, risk management, governance, and the coordination of crises in social media. Plus evaluation of tools, new social media channels, and enterprise-wide social media strategy development and planning.
3) Portfolio of social tools, platforms, identities, and standards
Social media is greatly enabled by the right social technology, maintained in an effective architecture. The specific details vary by industry, organization, and even by the part of the organization. The CoE has the unenviable job of sorting out the confluence of social silos and activities and bringing some semblance of order and consistency. Most CoEs quickly realize there is no one tool or silver bullet when it comes to social technology. All of CoEs manage large and growing portfolio of social tools, platforms, and standards, with a focus on careful introduction of new tools and rationalization of existing ones so that fragmentation, risk, excess effort, and duplication are managed to an acceptable level.
5) Knowledge base: Lessons learned and best practices
One of the most vital outputs of the work of the CoE is a body of knowledge about how best to apply social media in the organization. Most of the processes and activities in the CoE generate valuable information that other stakeholders can learn from.
CoEs that have the greatest impact actively capture and share this knowledge, often in a social tool/repository, and ensure everyone can access it and learn from it.