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The Social Force.com Community

Salesforce evangelizes the benefits of leveraging the social internet to manage your company’s face and to better engage your customers. It is indeed evident that they practice what they preach. I’ll show you where to look to find Salesforce’s cultivated and flowering social community.

Do you have a Mac and like to use Textmate? A Salesforce dev evangelist is just finishing up a Textmate plugin for interacting locally with the metadata files in your org.

Have you ever been working with Salesforce and couldn’t find that new feature you’ve been hearing about? Well, it’s possible that the Salesforce social community knows why you can’t find it yet. You could also find out if you knew where to ask!

Have you ever been working with Salesforce and wondered if there was a software tool you could use to help manage your Salesforce deployments? Well, it’s possible that the Salesforce social community has also felt the same pain as you and has developed an open source deployment management tool to alleviate the problems. You would know about it if you were better connected!

To help you become better-connected with the Salesforce community, I want to share with you the social sources I use to interact with the Salesforce community and to share my discoveries with my peers. For any Salesforce admins or developers, you are about to read my super-secret tools for success in working with Salesforce!

Twitter

On Twitter, you can find the @salesforce, @forcedotcom, @partnerforce, and @salesforcedocs handles. The @salesforce account usually tweets marketing material and responds to people who tweet questions, complaints, or praise about Salesforce. It’s not uncommon to get faster customer service by tweeting your problems with an “@salesforce” mention than you get by sending an email, so I would recommend you use it.

Developers, on the other hand, can follow the @forcedotcom account, which tweets announcements for upcoming Force.com tech talks, webinars, and documentation updates, as well as responds to questions and comments from other developers’ tweets. This is the stream that is much more relevant to Force.com developers and it comes directly from Salesforce’s developer relations team. As a developer, if you follow nothing else, follow the @forcedotcom account.

For information from the Force.com community, there are some other good sources on Twitter. Follow the @darylshaber account to get a healthy dose of tweets from the Force.com community. This is a bot that listens for certain Salesforce keywords, and then retweets them, so these can range from marketing news and blog announcements to questions, criticisms, and praise. For developers, an occasional gold nugget can be found in this stream.

I am including a list of Twitter handles for a few members of Salesforce’s Twitter community, with links for you to quickly follow them and get your ear pointed in the direction of the community. Check out the end of this post for that list.

A Force.com hashtag that has recently become quite popular is the #askforce hashtag, which is used in conjunction with a Force.com-related question. There are many people in the Salesforce Twitter-verse that watch this hashtag, as well as the #salesforce and #forcedotcom hashtags, so the chance of receiving a Force.com-related answer to your #askforce tweeted question is relatively high. You can’t directly follow this hashtag, but if you use a desktop or mobile application for interfacing with Twitter like Tweetdeck, you can add this hashtag as a persistent search term, and it will deliver new tweets with this hashtag to your application.

Facebook

Salesforce also makes attempts to reach its Facebook audience through its Salesforce Facebook page. I, myself, don’t use Facebook to get my tech information, but I must share their Facebook destinations with you for completeness. The content on this page is very similar to the content posted to its @salesforce Twitter stream, except there is a richer experience for sharing things like photos. They take advantage of the facilities that Facebook offers, like using photo albums to demo updates that will be included with the next seasonal update to the site. Their Force.com Facebook page has content similar to that of their @forcedotcom Twitter account. If you’d like to get your fill of Force.com and Salesforce updates and news in your Facebook stream, they have Facebook pages waiting for you to ‘Like’ and add to your stream.

IRC

If you use IRC, a public chatroom platform, you can find the love of the Salesforce community by joining the #salesforce channel on the Freenode network.

Try using irccloud.com for an easy-to-use, web-based IRC client. Here are some quick instructions for connecting to the #salesforce IRC channel using IRCCloud:

1) Create an IRCCloud account with an email and password.

2) Click the “Add a network” link in the right-hand column. Hostname: “irc.freenode.net”, Port:“6667”(keep the default port), click “Save”.

3) Click the green plus icon next to the “freenode” in the right-hand column, enter “#salesforce”, click “OK”.

4) You should be connected! Type “Hello!” in the box at the bottom, and expect a warm welcome.

A Few Members of the Force.com Twitter-sphere

In addition to following the above-mentioned handles, I want to list a few Twitter handles of active members of the Force.com community to get you started.

@shobyabdi
@hammnick
@NortonMD
@CRMFYI
@jmhemsley
@AlwaysThinkin
@aognenoff
@bob_buzzard
@michaelforce
@sherod
@TehNrd
@joshbirk
@apexsutherland
@metadaddy

There are many more great members, but this list is a good start. Some of these people work at Salesforce, some at ISVs, others at large consulting agencies, and others as IT Salesforce admins. Dig into the community by looking at these user profile pages to see who they mention in their tweets. Join the conversation!

Google+ recently announced their intentions to support brand pages on their platform, so keep your eyes open for Salesforce’s entrance onto that social network as well.

Posted in: Salesforce, Social Media, Targeted Marketing Programs