Automating Some Social Media Interactions (e.g. Twitter) using the Advanced E-mail Manager

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Technical Hints Tips and Tricks that cover customization and development using Sage CRM. API usage and coding are covered.

Automating Some Social Media Interactions (e.g. Twitter) using the Advanced E-mail Manager

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I hope that you have by now seen how well Sage CRM integrates with Social Media.  This is whether we use the free Twitter component or the out-of-the-box LinkedIn features that are brought right into the users main workspace on the Interactive Dashboard.  

There are now many articles on the community site that discuss how we can use the Sage CRM APIs to further extend and customise these Social Media touchpoints.  The in-built capabilities and Sage CRM's flexible APIs mean that Sage CRM can be a powerful and easy to use hub for a business's Social Media Interactions.

One of the challenges that a business might face when dealing with Social Media is that communications over Twitter, or Facebook or even LinkedIn are characterised by 24/7 & 365 operations.  There is no down time or office hours for Social Media and there is a cultural expectation that reactions should be swift and ideally immediate.  After-all if the contact is awake and tweeting then surely you should be awake and able to respond?

But it would be a shocking use of resources for a business to allocate a staff members to continually monitor social media channels just in case someone posts something in which the business was interested.

Thankfully most Social Networks offer some form of alert system, either by SMS or by email.  For example in the image below you can see that Twitter can be configured to email you when someone has decided to follow you, or has sent a private message or has mentioned you in a Tweet.

You can see in the image below the type of email that can be sent out.

These default alerts can be supplemented by using other notification tools like Tweetbeep (http://tweetbeep.com) which allow you to monitor keywords or hashtags used in a Tweets.  You can use services like this to receive an email when some mentions your brand or company name within a social network.

But getting an email when an event within a Social Network happens is only part of the challenge.  The message would still need to be reacted to and handled.  We can mitigate a complaint if we respond quickly;  even if this is only an acknowledgement of the message.

Lets assume that we work for a company in New Zealand called 'Nights in White Satin' that exports designer bedroom linen and our Twittername is "NightsinWhiteNZ".  If someone e.g. 'WoollyKiwi' posts on Twitter "@nightsinwhitenz linen sucks", we will get an email alert but we need to respond very quickly.

If the email arrives out of business hours then the question arises "how can we make sure that the person tweeting gets a prompt reply?"

Because the alert is an email we can use the Advanced Email Manager to handle the inbound emails.  The email can be processed and parsed by the script in the template associated with the inbound email address.  If you are not familiar with the Sage CRM Advanced E-mail Manager then article "About the Advanced E-mail Manager (Mail Manager)" may provide some useful background information.  

If the person sending the Tweet is unknown in Sage CRM, a Lead and associated Communication could be created.  If the person sending the Tweet is known in Sage CRM, then a communication could be created against the existing lead, company or person record.

And the records created in Sage CRM can have workflow associated with them, and escalation behaviour means that if a communication containing the detail of the Twitter message is assigned to a user then that user will be alerted when they next logon to Sage CRM.

But there is more that the Advanced E-mail Manager can do.  We can use the fact that there are tools which allow you to convert email messages into Tweets.  These are services that act as e-mail to Twitter gateways.  An example of such a service is Twittermail which is part of the TwitterCounter.com site. (http://twittercounter.com/pages/twittermail).  A service like Twittermail will allocate you an email address as in the image below:

When an email is sent to that allocated address, the plain text body of the email is converted into a Twitter message and added to your 'stream'.

Of course you could use the Twitter API yourself as the scripting environment of the Advanced E-mail Manager would allow you to issue web service calls.  But I found that when I was trying things out while researching this article it was quick and easy to have the Advanced E-mail Manager just send an email response.

This means that immediately after the Advanced E-mail Manager reads the email sent by Twitter or by the monitoring service, the Advanced E-mail Manager can send an email in reply to the E-mail to Twitter gateway and have a Twitter message quickly added in response to the original post.

We can see this happening in the image below:

So, if 'WoollyKiwi' posts on Twitter "@nightsinwhitenz linen sucks" out of office hours, then the Advanced E-mail Manager will pick up the Twitter alert email.  It will identify that 'WoollyKiwi' is not a known Twittername and it will then create a Lead and a communication and assign both to a member of 'Nights in White Satin' staff for them to review when they arrive in the office.  The Advanced E-mail Manager will also send an automatic response to the E-mail to Twitter gateway service containing '@woollykiwi is everything OK? Can I help?' which will appear in the Twitter stream.  And WoollyKiwi will get an alert from Twitter that their message has had an immediate response.

Comments
  • Very interesting article but does this article also apply to SageCRM.com as I can't see the settings but it is tagged above as such? I suspect Advanced E-Mail Manager isn't on SageCRM as this is hosted by Sage.

  • I didn't think I did tag the article with sagecrm.com.  But its a good question.  I've just confirmed that this won't apply to sagecrm.com in the currently released versions as the service it uses is excluded.  It may apply for the Extended edition but I don't have a release date for that yet.  You can use this for Sage CRM on the Amazon EC2 cloud and on premise.

    I can see how I would go about creating a web service based tool that could replicate some of the behaviour but that would be another blog article.

  • To create a post and able to post in FB, Twitter and LinkedIn at the same time? Any advise on this

  • Can't you connect your Twitter account to Facebook and LinkedIn?  So that when you post to Twitter it is echoed to those networks?

    See

    support.twitter.com/.../31113-using-twitter-with-facebook

    and

    help.linkedin.com/.../eng