Getting Social with Sitecore

  • Dan Solovay
  • October 18, 2012

It’s Sitecore Symposium week, so it doesn’t seem out of place to look back to last year’s Dreamcore. I had three major takeaways from Dreamcore about what Sitecore is and where it is going.

First, a website is only as powerful as the connections it can make. Sure, just having a website is nice, but a website that talks to a CRM system so that web actions can drive customer touches and customer touches can drive website personalization, now that’s something special. Second, website visitors expect personalization.  As Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert put it, “if I’ve bought a washing machine from you, I expect your website to know this.”  Showing the same content to all visitors is off-putting and dull.   Third, when you add enough mutually reinforcing features to a product, there comes a tipping point where you end up with something new.  The iPhone is not really a phone anymore, and Sitecore has ambitions to be something a little different from a CMS.

These ambitions inform Sitecore’s relentless push into the Analytics/Personalization/Engagement space, and the headlong rush of acronyms that have ensued: OMS begetting DMS begetting CEP, with the idea of making Sitecore the focal point of customer engagement across all channels.  These ambitions also explain the attention Sitecore has given to integrating social media into the Sitecore platform, whether through hosting communities with the Telligent connector, or by making connections to outside social media platforms, as Sitecore’s Social Connected module allows.  I explored this module for a recent User Group talk, and was impressed with what it can do and how quickly its feature set is being built out.  Here are some of the key features:

  1. It enables one click registration and sign-in using Facebook, Google, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts.
  2. It allows personalization based on social media profile information, and preferences.   A Facebook profile of even a casual user provides a rich source of demographic information and their likes and interests offer a detailed portrait of the visitor.  A really nifty personalization rule allows checking for an interest across several social media networks and preference categories.
  3. Not only does it push content updates to Facebook and Twitter, it provides a dashboard showing like/share/retweet activity, and metrics of generated visits and engagement value from these sources.   So you can send your message out in a bottle and you can see what comes back.
  4. It allows the website to send content to visitors’ Facebook walls and Twitter timelines, based on completion of DMS goals.  One possible use for this would be allowing visitors to share their participation in an online poll or event.
  5. It allows DMS to attach engagement value to tweets and likes and to track and evaluate the secondary traffic that these visitor actions generate.

In short, the Social Connected module brings Facebook’s knowledge of the visitor into Sitecore and allows the visitor to interact with outside social media while still on the website.   This is nice on its own, but when combined with the rest of Sitecore’s engagement platform, it is something potentially remarkable.

If you’d like a more in-depth discussion of this module, what it can do and how to set it up, please check out my blog post: http://www.dansolovay.com/2012/09/a-look-at-sitecore-social-connected.html