Salesforce.com hones listening skills for Marketing Cloud, Social Studio

Salesforce.com is upgrading its cornerstone ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to continue changing the way brands communicate with their customers via social channels.

Salesforce.com’s Radian6 Buddy Media Social Studio is getting a major refresh since being unveiled this past spring .

Already touted as an enterprise-class social media management system for marketing collaboration, engagement, publishing and analytics, the latest round of upgrades are intended to infuse heavier doses of social listening and analysis.

Service Cloud customers can test Social Studio on a freemium model with the option to experiment with campaigns on either Twitter or Facebook. Beyond these two stalwart social media brands, the Service Cloud’s social network coverage is also being expanded to include Sina Weibo and Google Plus.

Gordon Evans, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com, suggested via telephone on Friday that with these updates, social media marketers can set up a single place to do their jobs versus having to juggle multiple solutions.

But Salesforce insists these CRM tools have much more potential beyond the retail industry and service jobs.

Charlie Treadwell, director of global social media at Symantec, posited how social is vital across all functions for customer experience — in good times and in bad, and everything in between.

Without naming names, Treadwell pointed toward a security breach incurred by a “major retailer” last winter, adding that Symantec utilizes Social Studio for tracking customer sentiment and feedback during buzzed-about attacks.

"We use social to understand what those questions are,” Treadwell explained.

Gregg Johnson, senior vice president of product management at Salesforce, reiterated how these new features encourage listening to what is happening in the market and how to take advantage of those opportunities.

Johnson highlighted the Shellshock that grabbed headlines last month, demonstrating prominent keywords and personalities on Twitter being followed for further information about a given topic.

A pilot program for select features will launch within the next week, followed by general availability during the first quarter of 2015. Edition-based pricing for Social Studio starts at $1,000 per month.