Are Salesforce and Social Media, Well, Social?

Are Salesforce and Social Media Social

Nonprofits often ask us at Idealist Consulting: Can I integrate my Salesforce database with [insert social media platform here]? The first question we ask after hearing this question is: Do you have a social media strategy? Without a strategy, it’s difficult to direct organizations to the right tools, and even more difficult to make Salesforce and social media work together properly.

With that in mind, let’s establish what social media is, exactly, and then I’ll address applications that connect social media with Salesforce. Social media refers to mobile and web-based technologies that create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.

Social Media Types

There are 6 types of social media:

    1. Collaborative projects — Ex: Wikipedia
    2. Blogs and microblogs — Ex: Twitter
    3. Content communities — Ex: YouTube and SlideShare
    4. Social networking sites — Ex: Facebook
    5. Virtual game worlds — Ex: World of Warcraft
    6. Virtual social worlds — Ex: Second Life

Integrated solutions on the Salesforce platform are most robust in two of the types above: 2 and 4. Some examples:

    • Blogs and microblogs: Twitter, WordPress, and other blog platforms
    • Social networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+

It’s important to ask yourself what you want to do with social media because Salesforce caters to each of these social media types in a different fashion. The apps that integrate with Salesforce can be divided into two categories, “Observing” and “Engaging”:

    • Observing is a passive approach to your social media effort. It basically means you are watching the media environment to evaluate an impact you may have had with a press release, a campaign of some sort, a soft ask.
    • Engaging is a direct approach that allows constituents to actively participate in your campaign effort. Examples include: making a donation, event sign up, membership sign up, newsletter sign on, etc.

Following are some applications that integrate with Salesforce and that fall into these categories. Some are well reviewed, some are not so well reviewed, but this will give you a sense of what’s out there now:


  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud (previously Radian6) — Listens to conversations on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, forums, blogs, mainstream news, LinkedIn, and image sites. New sources are being added all of the time. You won’t find this on the AppExchange because it’s one of the modules, not an app.
  • Fliptop — Listed on the Salesforce AppExchange, this application allows you to view Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles alongside your leads and contacts.
  • LinkedIn for Salesforce — Listed on the Salesforce AppExchange, view LinkedIn profiles alongside opportunity and account information directly within Salesforce.


  • Action Sprout — Designed to help organizations run Social Action Campaigns on Facebook in order to unlock their Facebook Fans with actions that move beyond Like, Share and Comment.
  • Salesforce for Twitter and Facebook — Gives you a simple way to join real-time customer conversations happening on Twitter and Facebook.
  • HootSuite — Just launched a Salesforce integration app, it provides HootSuite users the ability to streamline social lead generation and expand communication channels to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Remember, without a strategy of some sort, it’s going to be tough to identify which of these applications will actually help your organization. However, looking through these applications should give you a sense of what’s possible, which will help the strategy process. Happy researching!


The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.


  1. Hello,
    This is very useful insight indeed.
    Is there any integration existing with Salesforce, that would add Viadeo and Xing as well as Linkedin? (like Fliptop that you are mentioning)
    Xing is more common in German speaking countries than Linkedin, and Viadeo is more popular in French and Spanish speaking countries + they have acquiered Chinese social networks as well.

    Thank you,

  2. This is really helpful. Thanks.

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