Salesforce Community Cloud gets recommendation tool to boost engagement

The update also lets companies create their own communities complete with custom apps

Salesforce's newly updated Community Cloud

Salesforce's newly updated Community Cloud

After launching its Community Cloud last August for companies trying to engage their customers online, Salesforce has now given the platform a major update.

Community Cloud, designed to let companies create their own "LinkedIn-style" communities for customers, partners and employees, has a new Targeted Recommendations feature aimed at promoting user engagement in these sites.

Powered by algorithms that analyze both structured and unstructured data, the new feature is designed to bring community members the most relevant content, including posts, resources, files and groups. Community managers can suggest content with specific information or post an announcement into the feed and direct it at a specific group, member type or individual. Within a fitness-related community, for example, one could offer a coupon for running shoes.

The second new feature now available in Community Cloud is called Lightning Community Builder and Templates, and it lets any business user deploy a customized, branded and mobile-optimized community without the need for IT help, Salesforce said.

Companies can use Lightning Builder to create their own custom communities complete with custom apps. A nonprofit, for instance, could build an app to organize volunteer events and embed it into the homepage of its community. New drag-and-drop Templates, meanwhile, allow customized design, usability and data integration.

Finally, Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive is a new feature that enables community members to share any file created or stored in Google Drive. So, a marketing team could share a Google file into a campaign planning group, for instance, for easy access and collaboration. Files in Google Drive can also be attached to a record, such as a sales opportunity or service case.

Unilever, Sky and eWay are now among the companies using Community Cloud.

Targeted Recommendations and the Lightning Community Builder and Templates are now generally available. Salesforce Files Connect for Google Drive is generally available today for Chatter and Employee Community licenses; it will arrive for Partner Community and Customer Community licenses in the second half of 2015.

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