It’s that time of year again — the holidays are over, but we have something even better to look forward to: the Spring ’18 Release! I’m going to try to temper my exclamation points, bolds and all caps, but let me tell you, this release is beyond exciting! Let’s break down the Top 4 Areas of Excitement in the Salesforce Communities Spring ’18 release!
New & Updated Components for Salesforce
This release should bring some very highly sought-after components to Lightning Communities, as well as (wait for it, this is huge…) the ability to show individual components to particular audiences. This streamlines page creation for admins so that an entire page variation isn’t needed when only one component needs to be adjusted.
Here’s a quick summary of the new and updated components coming in Spring ’18:
- Community Calendars: Whereas previously you’d need a 3rd party AppExchange product to solve for this, Communities now gives users the ability to view theirs and others’ Salesforce Calendars from within the community and depending on the license, you can even create events from the calendar.
- Surveys: Brings in the ability for admins to create surveys to embed into the community. Creating one is as easy as enabling Surveys, creating a Survey record, and calling that survey in the community component property panel.
- Expiring Content: While currently there is the Recommendations feature found in Workspaces which is more for content like training, signing up for events and the like, Expiring Content focuses on surfacing content on a strict timeline or on the number of dismissals. You can create the content in the form of a rich text editor, HTML editor, or by using your CMS Connect, then set up the criteria for removing the content from the user’s view.
- Contact Support & Deflect Cases: These two new components are replacing the existing Create Case form, which was a combination of these components. By separating them, admins can now offer greater control of properties of both sides of the form, including a really great new feature for the deflection: the ability to prompt for input on how well the content answered their question.
Builder & Workspaces Updates
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HUGE improvements in the Builder and Workspaces this release! Lots of quality of life improvements, and additional features and functionality added. One of my favorites and another much-asked-for features is the ability to create audiences based on CRM object record field values. Winter ’18 brought us the ability to use certain fields on the User object, but Spring ’18 now offers the ability to connect to related objects through the User. Want to segment your audience based on the Account level? You can do it! Want to segment based on a Contact’s department? You can do that, too!
Beyond that, Workspaces has a few other noteworthy enhancements:
- Workspaces is now permanent! While many of us have already updated to Workspaces and are intimately familiar with it, Community management is now officially a thing of the past.
- Builder Settings
- Language management is no longer found in Site.com. Instead, it is now found in the Builder under Settings > Languages.
- Page-specific meta tags are now possible to better improve SEO for your community. This helps individualize each page in your community.
- You can now see how many and which pages are assigned a particular Theme Layout Type. This will be helpful for when you need a quick view of what pages have a certain theme layout type, rather than looking through the entirety of each individual page to take inventory.
- The Branding Editor, now Theme, is much more organized, segmented into sections for Colors, Images, Fonts, and Theme Settings. The latter was previously housed on the Theme Layout Type area in Builder Settings, but is now brought to a more visible area.
- Last, but definitely not least, Communities has added more navigational levels! You can now have up to eight levels of topics, whereas currently, you can only have three. The same number of topics for the levels is basically the same (25 for the parent, 10 for each child/child of child/etc. Worth noting that this is only available through the API.
Marketing Cloud + Community Cloud
Released from beta and generally available now, Community Cloud is now officially integrated with Marketing Cloud! For those with the Marketing Cloud licenses, it’s now possible to create cross-media journeys that include your community users to increase engagement and drive actions. Journeys can be triggered by events occurring in your community or audience segments. For example, if you wanted all community members with the highest reputation points to be sent on a path to maintain their engagement, or reward them for their activity, you can now do that in the Marketing Cloud.
One of the more anticipated new features is Einstein Answers. While it will only be available through pilot, for now, Einstein Answers utilizes AI to analyze discussions and articles in your community to give users asking a question more accurate suggestions on related existing content. This will also work with the Top 5 Questions component, surfacing questions with high activity to a qualified person to answer them.
Other noteworthy enhancements and new features of Chatter include:
- Users who are members of groups now get an instant notification when they’ve been @mentioned.
- There is now a “copy link” ability on posts. Users can copy a URL and share with those who have access to the thread. Also when you post the link in Chatter, it will show you a preview of your post!
- Upvotes were introduced recently as an alternative to Likes, and now, with the Spring ’18 release, if you decide to make the change from likes to upvotes, likes are now converted to upvotes on existing posts so you don’t lose the likes. There’s always the option NOT to do this as well, just contact Salesforce support.
- A huge pain point for standard new user or password reset emails was that the dynamic link inside them didn’t point to the user’s community — now it does! Horray!
Phew! That was a lot, I know, and there’s EVEN MORE. What are you most excited about seeing this release?
Be sure to read the Spring ’18 Communities release notes in their entirety.