In May, cloud-based enterprise company Salesforce.com acquired  Radian6, the social media monitoring startup, for $326 million. Salesforce, which is best known for CRM or customer relationship management products, said at the time that the "hundreds of millions of conversations [Radian6 captures] every day across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and online communities" will help provide its businesses with "actionable insights in real-time.”
Today, the company unveiled just what that partnership would look like, launching a new social insights platform that integrates Radian6 into Salesforce's core CRM software. The product enables businesses to keep real-time tabs on their customers, to monitor the positive and negative aspects of online dialogue about their brand, and to respond in kind. "The more successful you get on social media as a marketer and as a brand, the more conversation that creates," says a Salesforce rep. "If you're a large brand, that can be tough to scale--tens of thousands of conversations happening every day--a problem lots of brands are having a hard time keeping up with."
Salesforce's answer to this issue is SocialHub, a system launched today that automates workflow around social listening. Before, most social media analytics firms provided mainly quantitative metrics--how many people mentioned a brand, what's trending, who retweeted what and to how many followers--surface data that could be both overwhelming and unhelpfully anecdotal. SocialHub is designed to break down that information and get it to the right people within an organization. Product complaints, customer service issues, chatter about competitors--all this data that consumers are tweeting or blogging about provides valuable insight for brands.
"By taking the Radian6 SocialHub, they'd be able to create rules for the firehose of data coming in," says a Salesforce rep. "So send all posts that have negative sentiment that mention our products X, Y, or Z, and send it over to these people." In other words, send the data to the product development team or customer service group or marketing campaign managers--automate the workflow.
"Rather than have specialized teams or social media experts, you now just have experts on your customers," the Salesforce rep says. "Anybody could be socially engaging with customers, whether you're in marketing, PR, sales, what have you. That's where brands want to go."
Take the PR nightmare Netflix had months ago when it changed its pricing structure and announced Qwikster. A storm of complaints came through on online and on social media: tens of thousands of comments on Twitter, Facebook, and Netflix's blogs. "They could've used Radian6 to find what conversations really matter," says the Salesforce rep. "If you look at social media conversations, lots and lots of them are conversations that started from just a few key influencers. Really getting at where the fire or trend started helps you with consumer outreach, to focus the PR and communications."
"I find people talk about buzz anecdotally," Salesforce's rep adds. "What's the scale and scope here? Of all those millions of conversations that may have happened on something like that, really what were the two or three key issues?"
That, Salesforce hopes, will provide both a ROI for its customers and for its acquisition of Radian6, which will start at $600 per month, with SocialHub starting at $1,200 per month.
[Image: Flickr user practicalowl ]