Social Engagement on Microsoft Dynamics 365

Because the name has changed, and the product has evolved, there is some confusion about the details around what is now known as “Social Engagement” and Microsoft Dynamics 365. This article aims to clear up any confusion and to also explain what can be done with this component in the context of Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Background and Setup


Social Engagement (formerly known as Social Listening) provides the ability for users to track and analyze social communications across public networks about specific topics. There is a broad range of social “channels” that can be monitored, such as blogs and social apps. Within these channels are the obvious sources, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, to name a few. This is accomplished with “Social Profiles”, each of which is a little different to set up, depending on the policies of the social provider. For instance, for Facebook, there are “access tokens” that need to be set up and renewed periodically. For other sources, the setup is a bit simpler. Each profile is created as needed in order to establish a source of information.

Once the sources are identified and configured, data acquisition begins. Because Social Engagement has a limit of 10,000 posts collected per month, there sometimes needs to be adjustment made to the topics to narrow or broaden the search. For this reason, it should be understood that Social Engagement is something that needs to be monitored itself. After some data has begun to be collected, the application provides for a rich set of analysis tools. Figure 1 below shows a typical dashboard:

Figure 1 – Typical Dashboard for Microsoft Social Engagement

Integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Social Engagement comes with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1, as well as the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise Sales and Service apps. However, it is essentially a standalone product that is configured in a separate “tile” in the Office 365 admin portal as shown below.

Note that in the Office 365 Admin center, Dynamics 365 and Social Engagement are managed separately, as each has their own “Admin Center.” However, they can be configured to integrate with each other.  What this specifically means is that data that is automatically captured in Social Engagement can be moved into Microsoft Dynamics 365, both automatically and manually. 

The integration starting point is found in the management section of Social Engagement. In Settings  Connections you will find the ability to connect to both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and even Microsoft Azure Event Hubs, which is used to process massive amounts of data.

Once you have connected your Social Engagement to your instance of Microsoft Dynamics 365, you have the ability to bring that data into your CRM system.

 

An example of how this integration can work is shown in the figure below, which is a part of Social Engagement called the “Social Center.”  In this instance, I have selected a post in Social Engagement that could be a lead in CRM.  To bring up this window clicked the link as shown and I can now create the lead from the post itself.  Once I click Create a lead with show up in Dynamics 365 for me to interact with in my defined sales process in Dynamics 365.

 

This is a demonstration of the ability to create a lead from a social post without leaving Social Engagement.
As you can see, by clicking on the small link icon (circled here) it’s also possible to create Cases (service requests) from posts in the same way. It’s also possible to automate this. For instance, it’s possible to configure the integration in a way where certain posts are added automatically as social activities in Dynamics 365, and then create a workflow in Dynamics 365 to convert certain types of social activities to Cases or Leads.  More information as to precisely how to achieve this is found here.

New Features

A few new features have recently introduced as explained below.

Selling Assistant

With this new feature your team can get personalized recommendations to share on their social networks and enable them to increase their social presence, and ultimately generate more leads. As with all parts of Social Engagement, this requires some configuration – particularly “Get Insights” where users will configure groups of topics that will generate insightful recommendations. This is configured in the new “Social Selling” tile in the Social Engagement app.  Once it is configured, the Social Selling Assistant will provide recommendations, such as the one shown below, where it is suggesting that I Share a post.

Social Insights, Relationship Insights and Customer Insights

This is where it might get a little confusing, because “Social Insights” is a borrowed part of what used to be called Inside View and is now called simply Insights.  Same for Relationship Insight sand Customer Insights.  Previously, Inside View provided information streamed into Microsoft Dynamics CRM about a given Company or topic.  This ability has now been applied to Social Engagement and the Selling Assistant, where there is now an “Assistant” section of the activity pane.  The Relationship Assistant will present a “card” which appears as a sort of reminder as shown below, which is reminding me front and center on the first dashboard I see when I log in about an important task. The same is true for the Selling Assistant. For Customer Insights, an Azure subscription is required and additional configuration as well. Shown below are some “cards” presented in Microsoft Dynamics 365 from the Relationship Insight assistant.

The same card appears under the Assistant section in my Activity Pane:

Summary

Social Engagement as a standalone product provides a one-stop shop for the collection and intelligent analysis of selected parts of the massive social universe that is available to us.  It is a way to focus and present to you and your staff what you may consider the most important part of the “noise” – the part that matters to your business.
Beyond the use of the standalone product, it becomes especially powerful when the data collected from Social Engagement makes its way into the platform you use for sales and service, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise for Sales and/or Service.
The product continues to evolve, especially with the merging of Insights and Social Engagement, and with the release of various “Assistants” to feed actionable information to the Dynamics 365 user. Properly configured, these improvements can have a real impact on the productivity of your teams.
The fact that Microsoft now offers this as an integral part of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise at no additional cost provides a compelling reason to take the time to configure this powerful solution and integration. If you have questions beyond what they article provides, or if you need help in configuring this solution,  please feel free to reach out to us for more information.

 

 

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