For the general public, social media seems to have exhausted much of its potential (for now, at least). Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and other sites have allowed users and businesses to connect, communicate and share content and links, and for the most part, that is primarily all that they’re used for. (Well, that and advertising, of course.)
Likely, the next major wave of social innovation will come from private social networks designed to enhance communication among smaller groups. Services like Yammer cut directly to the chase, allowing users to engage and share with one another on the pressing topics of the day within their private network, without being bogged down by unnecessary content or advertising.
Hot off the heels of its Buddy Media acquisition, Salesforce has announced Salesforce Communities, a new social media platform for “enterprise and social communication” that allows users to connect with partners, coworkers and customers by creating private branded social communities that utilize traditional social media features. This includes user profiles, real-time news feeds, a trending topics section, recommendations and influence measurement scores.
This new service is meant to help Salesforce customers collaborate better with one another, but also to monitor how well a brand or marketing campaign is resonating with consumers.
Combining “knowledge-driven, peer-assisted and agent-assisted customer service” into a single experience allows Salesforce Communities users to provide their customers with quicker, more efficient service and support, as well as immediately create various marketing communities around events, campaigns or focus groups as needed.
Companies can also use the platform to connect with their partners, suppliers and distributors to establish customized communities for increasing sales through seamless deal registration, access to proven sales tools and collaborations with industry experts.
And, of course, Salesforce Communities comes with the trusted service of the Salesforce brand and its cloud-based business processes and database services, which will allow customers to build and deploy branded communities in minutes, move seamlessly across multiple communities under a single identity and instantly scale their communities to support anywhere from just a few users to millions of members.
The limited pilot version of Salesforce Communities will launch this fall, and the product is expected to see general availability in the second half of 2013.