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Salesforce.com adds social enterprise software tools

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New modules apply social media principles to encourage certain employee behavior, made it easier to publish social content to multiple places simultaneously.

Cloud software darling Salesforce.com shook up the social business software space this week with the introduction of two new applications: one for helping companies build better employee communities internally and another for helping them get more consistent with marketing strategies across social networks.

Salesforce Rypple is described as a social performance management tool. The idea is that companies will be able to use Rypple internally to help motivate certain behaviors among their employees. So, for example, if a salesperson becomes aware that a customer service agent has made an important client happy, they can publicly thank that person. If someone has closed a deal especially quickly, they might get some public kudos? These sorts of messages would appear in a Salesforce Chatter feed. (Chatter is an internal instant messaging and broadcasting tool Twitter, that alerts people about various activities.) Rypple costs $5 per user, per month.

Salesforce Site.com is a content management system for creating content that can be published simultaneously to a company's Web sites, intranet portals and social media vehicles. The application supports rich media, including images, video, and social widgets. The idea is that content will be more consistent. Plus the publishing process should be simpler. Site.com costs $1,500 per month; plus $125 per month for extra publisher licenses and $20 per month for additional contributor accounts. Salesforce.com is running a promotion on the software through April 30, 2012.

The move underscores accelerating interest in technologies that help companies apply the principles of engagement associated with social media and social networks for corporate purposes.

"Salesforce.com is seeing unstoppable demand for the social enterprise as companies see their customers and employees become more social and mobile by the day," said Salesforce.com chairman and CEO Marc Benioff in a statement. "With Salesforce Rypple and Salesforce Site.com, we're excited that companies will now be able to extend their social enterprise to reach every employee and every customer."

Salesforce already offers a number of other tools that could be branded as part of the social enterprise. They include:

  • Chatter, the messaging tool that I already mentioned
  • Radian 6, for social media monitoring and engagement
  • Heroku, a tool for building social and mobile apps

Salesforce is not alone in its quest to offer tools for companies interested in apply the principles of social media and networking to business processes. Indeed, other companies see the Salesforce.com customer engagement platform as an ideal hub for some of their social media activities. You will hear more and more about the integration of external community tools and internal community tools throughout 2012.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure