As Salesforce seems posed to buy Buddy Media (and Oracle has already acquired Vitrue), we may be on the verge of seeing some true social customer relationship management happen. The value of social media for businesses has always been hard to quantify, but the more closely that social activity can be linked to sales transactions, the easier it becomes to understand the impact of social. Buddy and Salesforce are well poised to make that happen.
What are some good ways that Buddy and Salesforce could promote their partnership (assuming it happens)? Salesforce has made incredible use of events in the past, establishing the Cloudforce and Dreamforce event platforms to promote its cloud-based offerings. Will Buddyforce be next–or at least be the launch event for the partnerships? Here are 3 creative features at “Buddyforce” that could help executives understand the power of social CRM in real time.
1. Real Live Social: Making “Likes” Visible
With all the talk about social media and technologies to track and support it, it’s easy to forget that social is about one thing: people. Likes and clickthrough rates and engagement metrics boil down to whether or not someone is truly interested in your product. Every attendee could be be given five “like” cards to use at the event. People can give them out to exhibitors who interest them or hold them up to show an interest in a speaker’s topic. This provides real-time feedback to speakers and signals them to expand on topics that many people respond to. It also creates visibility and accountability for what you like. I’d be interested in whether people give out their “like” cards freely or hoard them until they see something that truly captures their interest.
2. Tracking Walkbys
If clickthroughs and time on pages can show user engagement online, time spent walking by booths in real life might, too. Exhibitors can track how many times people walk by their booth and even post real-time “walkby” statistics to show who their “most engaged” users are. I suspect the exhibitors with the most candy will net the most “engagement” using this metric.
3. User Circles or Lists
Facebook and Google+ have them. Why not conferences and events? Creating “lists” of likeminded users who work in the same industry niche or have multiple connections in common is a great way to help people have focused conversations that will make an event truly productive. Even better, try adding an “unconference” track of sorts where these lists have a “hangout” (Google+ style!) and come up with one amazing idea to improve their industry. This would certainly spark plenty of follow-up exchanges and even a deal or two–or a whole new company?
Some of these ideas are a little silly, but they aim to provide real-world counterparts to some of our favorite social metrics. And think about it: if you don’t expect something to matter in the real world, would you expect it to matter online? Best of luck to Buddy and Salesforce if they work out a deal.