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Social Media Hubs for Brands – Best Practices & 9 Examples

Posted on Jun 4th, 2013
Written by Lee Odden
In this article

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    Social HubSocial content curation and social content creation are often the core to many brands’ social networking efforts. Curating and sharing useful content associates the topics with the brand and creates an affinity for the brand as what I like to call, “the best answer” for their areas of focus.

    Growing social participation is motivating many companies to aggregate content produced and curated by the brand’s own employees. This is a compelling opportunity to harvest the brand’s own collective wisdom. A single destination for curated social content fuels a brand publisher model that supports brand storytelling, content marketing, PR and even SEO objectives.

    Additionally, curated and aggregated customer interactions with the brand on the social web can surface advocates and provide customers with a view of how the company is referenced on social networks. Third party endorsements, observations and interactions are the most powerful, so why not curate them into a social hub?

    In 2009 I wrote about the now defunct Best Buy Connect social hub. Maybe the idea was ahead of its time, because today many companies are curating brand and customer social content as social media hubs. The growth of social media and the impact of Pinterest design has clearly influenced how many brands employ social hubs.  Here are some examples worth studying:

    Titleist Social Hub

    Team Titleist – More than aggregated brand social content, this is a community powered by the Telligent platform. However, it does include social hub features by aggregating the brand’s social content from Titleist blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. The default sort is by what’s trending. Users can make comments on blog posts and perform normal Twitter functions, and Facebook and Instagram offer offsite links.  If you want to see all of Titleist social content aggregated in one place, this is it.

    Owens-Illinois Social hub

    O-I Glass is Life  –  The Owens Illinois social hub is very robust and powered by the Postano Hub platform, which is incredibly fast. Aggregated social networks include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo. Curation is focused on brand published social content on each of these platforms and users can interact and share on any of the aggregated social content, which is a social media optimization best practice.

    Intel IQ Social Hub

    Intel IQ – Curated by Intel employees, IQ is powered by Intel’s own IQ social content curation platform with the purpose of showcasing the impact of technology on media, life and the planet. The site is broken down into 3 sections: Featured stories created or curated by Intel IQ staff, Top trending stories, each with an “IQ score” and Tweets that use the #IQ hashtag. All stories are “share enabled”. Social Hub

    White House –  Social Hubs are no limited to the private sector and in fact, many government organizations use social hubs either as a static aggregation of all the various social media accounts for the institution or as more of a dynamic hub like you’d find in the other examples on this page. The White House social hub offers column formatted streams of social content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Scribd, Flickr, Slideshare, Google+ and LinkedIn. Users can share Tweets and all other curated White House social content links to their respective platforms.

    IBM Voices Social Hub

    IBM Voices – Based on an internal social content aggregation platform called Voices, IBM’s social hub aggregates blog posts, Tweets, videos, and photos from an IBM Tumblr blog. There’s a word cloud representing trending topics and the normal sharing options for the Twitter feed items. All others either link offsite or open a pop-up window. There’s also an “embed” feature which is unique from most other social hubs.

    USA Rugby Social Hub

    USA Rugby Social Hub – This sports team social hub offers another Pinterest style layout with never ending scrolling down and a featured story at the top – front and center. Social content is aggregated from USA Rugby’s Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as from fans that use the #usarugby hashtag. Each story can be shared to Twitter. Otherwise, they link to their respective social platforms.

    Dell IT Social Hub

    Dell IT Social Hub– Dell actually includes an explanation of what their social hub is for, which I found useful to understand intent: “A central place to find, share, and comment on all our most current social tidbits and current events from Dell’s public sector and large enterprise segments”.

    Social content is aggregated from Dell social accounts at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, StumbleUpon, Delicious (old school!), Digg, Dell Blogs and Community. Users can view content from all or just specific social channels. Content is further segmented by category (Enterprise, Healthcare, Education, etc) and each item can be shared to other social networks via the ShareThis widget.

    Nine West Social Hub

    Nine West Social 9 – Powered by Postano Hub, this social hub with a never ending scroll, aggregates brand social content from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Each item is sharable to other social networks.

    Cisco Social Hub

    Social@Cisco – Tech companies were early to the social hub space and this hub from Cisco shows the column format used by many of those early adopters. Cisco content from blogs, communities, YouTube, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are curated here. Sharing at the story level is not enabled but each does link back to the platform where it originated or in the case of videos, opens a pop-up window.

    Some of the social media hub tools used be these brands and others include:

    For companies using blog or CMS platforms like WordPress, there are plugins that can be used to create similar effects as illustrated by the brand social hubs above. The social hub for our new TopRank Online Marketing website is a good example of this:

    TopRank Online Marketing Social Hub

    If your company has either:
    1. An active social presence on multiple social networks and media sites
    2. An active consumer or buyer fan base on the social web that frequently mentions your company

    Then it makes sense to create a social hub.  Start small with just a few sources, such as blog, Twitter and Facebook. Then add as your community grows.

    Which brand social media hubs would you add to this list? What social hub curation and publishing platforms would you add?