I know that social media is sort of a soft topic for some companies – especially if you are not dealing with the general public. But with the rise of mobile devices and expectations that information should be available with as much immediacy as possible, I would guess that social media will increase in use, even if the “social” aspect is not relevant.
Yesterday I attended the local Raleigh Salesforce User Group meeting and got a taste of how the service (or support) arm of a company can deal with the influx of customer feedback from social media as a communications channel and the growth of brand perception in general through social media. So just as telephones and emails need to be monitored and responded to, so chat sessions, Google searches, blog posts, and Twitter feeds need to be analyzed and responded to, albeit in a different and appropriate way. Lee Pisacano, from Salesforce, gave us a good introduction to all this and explained that Salesforce is expanding their offerings to give us the tools to handle this.
Robin Callendar, also of Salesforce, spoke about responding to social media input (from customers and the public) as part of service and support with some pretty sophisticated tools that are now available since Salesforce bought out Radian6. He showed how their latest module gives you the ability to analyze social media in ways that I did not realize were possible. I learned that in an online chat session, the support person can see what you are typing as you are typing it – almost spooky because it’s not clear from the UI that it is presenting it to the listener at the other end. And I learned that you can do some pretty cool analytics on what’s out there in Twitter and blogs, rating the priority of the feedback on how many people online are being influenced by that feedback.
Bryan White of RegEd shared Pfizer’s Social Media Response Flowchart (originally developed by the U.S. Air Force). There was a lot of interest in that; I guess we’re all trying to figure out how to deal with social media.
Tricia (I think it was) shared how cool it was to be at Dreamforce – they had so many attendees that they had to close off some city blocks in San Francisco. I also chatted with Peter Stocks who works for Fairsail, a company that makes a human resource and recruitment software package, about these trends in software – how stuff is moving to the cloud and Salesforce seems to be doing things correctly. Salesforce does cool software deployment and adds modules of functionality as needed. Their screens seem to have a lot going on, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s cluttered. Busy, yes. I wonder if they’ll work on keeping the interface clean and simple and hide more stuff as the user base grows and functionality grows.
There were just shy of 40 people attending. Thanks to Lenovo for hosting the meeting. The catering of Mediterranean food for our lunch was excellent – I’m going to have to get the name of that caterer. (Sorry, no photos this time. The room was a bit dark and I’m not the best with a camera.)