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Launching Chatter in Salesforce Communities – Best Practices

One of the key differences between the original Salesforce portals and the new Salesforce Communities is that your customers and partners have the ability to Chatter with your company, introducing great rewards if properly managed. Here are some tips to get the most out of Chatter in your Salesforce Community:

Don’t just turn it on. Before launching Chatter, you need to determine what your end goals are for your Community members and how to measure success. You have fewer chances in a community to engage your chatterlogocustomers or partners than you do in an internal community. For example, do you want your customers or partners to provide feedback on your product, giving your product managers more insight into what people are asking for? If so, think about not only how you will setup Chatter & Ideas in the Community, but also how your marketing team will drive people into the Community to post ideas and how you will define this has been successful. Is it when 100 or 1,000 people post a month?

Assign a Moderator. You have far less control over the conversations had in an external community than you do in your internal community. Internal employees have an incentive to behave properly while an angry customer logging a case in a customer community has far less at stake. This is where moderators come in; not only do they moderate content, ensuring that customer posts are appropriate and removing all inappropriate posts, but they also help to promote the kind of behavior that you want to see, monitor sentiments and help evolve the community’s Chatter strategy. A BI tool like GoodData can help measure Chatter’s success and evolve your strategy.

Consider which internal users should have access to your external Community and train them accordingly. Employees used to monitoring Chatter from their home page will need to learn to toggle to the external community to see Chatter posts from the external community since they do not end up on the internal communities activity feed. Employees also will need to be trained on the kind of interactions that you want them to have with your customers and/or partners, and the ideal frequency of those conversations to ensure that the right kind of conversations are happening in the Community. Chatter with external customers and partners should add value, not noise, to your business.

Not ready? While a system administrator cannot turn off Chatter inside a Community, a web developer can hide Chatter by overriding the user interface. Several of our customers opted to do this as a short-term measure when first implementing communities to buy them more time to prepare their Chatter strategy without delaying their launch.

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