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How to Use Social Network Monitoring in Dynamics CRM 2011

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When it comes to social media, people fall into one of two camps: either you believe in the value and potential of social networks in running business, or you need to be convinced of such. If you're in the first group, I'll be preaching to the choir for a bit here. If you're in the second, the value of social networking can be shown in an example. Imagine you're the owner of a clothes store. Obviously, there are certain trends of information you'd like to track. For instance, are there any updates to the brands you stock? What are the growing trends with clothes? Is there an impending shift in fashion or pop culture that you'll need to move with to maximize your sales? Following conversations in social media can provide you with that information – and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 can make your life much easier in that regard.

So exactly how will Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 allow you to track social media? As with most expanded functionality in Dynamics CRM, the answer is widgets. Dynamics CRM will have a social media dashboard, to which you can add and customize various social media monitors. These widgets come from a variety of social media websites – all freely available and easy to use. You just have to copy and paste the HTML or JavaScript into Dynamics CRM to add the corresponding monitor.

Since Twitter is the current social media tearing up the scene, we'll take that as an example. If you use the service, you probably already understand how much of a headache it could be to try and track trends in Twitter by yourself. You'd have to search various tweets, read them all (no matter how inane), and try to get some sense of the vibe of their messages. Dynamics CRM, on the other hand, can display widgets that will provide you that snapshot at a glance.

So let's get down into the nitty gritty of building a social media dashboard. The first available widgets are the most obvious: profile and search. Twitter itself provides these widgets, and they allow you to follow a Twitter profile and search all tweets respectively. This would allow you to enter in multiple profiles to your dashboard and view them all simultaneously, or quickly search something that piques your interest.

The more complicated widgets come from Microsoft Fuse Labs.  Tag cloud does what you might expect from the title – generate a tag cloud. For the unfamiliar, tag clouds show a weighted graphical map of an array of terms, with more common terms appearing larger than less used terms. You provide it a keyword, and it will show you a graph of terms that are commonly associated with it. With a tag cloud, if a hot-button topic explodes overnight, you can bet you'll notice. Another widget that rounds out the Twitter functionality is the comparison graph (also from Microsoft Fuse Labs). With this widget, you can put in several terms and see the relative popularity of them in Twitter.

Imagine all of this information, available on a single screen, easily viewable, and updated every day. That's one of the guiding principles behind Dynamics CRM; providing you the information you need without eating up too much of your day to get it.

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By CRM Software Blog Editors, Directory of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Experts

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