5 top tips for setting up and running a Salesforce.com user group

5 tips for setting up a user group

 Why not set up your own Salesforce.com user group?

Salesforce user groups are a great place to make valuable connections and learn more from people using and developing the platform in their own businesses. Business is social, and getting a key question answered, or making the right connection can make a lot of difference.

If you don’t have a local group, why not start your own? Desynit founded Forcewest a couple of years ago, and is now a hub for Salesforce professionals in the South West. We have learned a few lessons along the way, which we are happy to share.

5 top tips for setting up your own group and making it a huge success

1 “Always friendly, always social”

Pick a venue which people find welcoming, at a time that’s convenient for them. It doesn’t have to be a meeting room, it could be somewhere a little less ‘corporate’. A pub can work quite well, ideally with a private room or area if you are going to run a presentation. Its worth choosing a smaller venue to start off, until your numbers grow. As for when to hold your event, we find that straight after work is a good slot if you are serving a local audience. When your guests arrive, point them towards the bar and give them an idea of the running order of the evening.

2 It’s quality, not quantity

You may start out with just a few guests. If you can encourage your own team to go along, that’s a good crowd already.  Numbers will grow over time, but aim for a good mixture of guests, from developers, to marketing professionals, business owners, and consultants. A good range of market sectors and expertise makes for a great mixture of knowledge and insight to share.

3 Promote far and wide on your networks

Once you have your venue and date set up for your first meet up, you need to get the word out. Reach your audience through Twitter, Eventbrite, Linkedin and Facebook. Email your contacts. Ask your colleagues to do the same. In June 2013, Salesforce are going to launch a new ‘home’ for user groups, but in the meantime, you can post on to Salesforce Customer Community. A nice little piece of collateral helps – have a look at the film we put together for Forcewest

4 It’s all about community, and content

This is not a sales exercise for your business or for Salesforce. It’s about sharing useful information. You may well deliver the first presentation yourself to kick off your user group. When you are thinking about the type of content to present at the event, it’s worth asking your guests what they are interested in hearing about. Case studies are great, particularly if your presenter invites along end users of their solution to talk about what adopting Salesforce has really meant for their business. You can then circulate the content to your growing guestlist on social media and a specifically set up Linkedin group, and encourage a online community to support the group.

5 Engage with Salesforce

Invite your Salesforce Account Executive along. They might well be able to help you out with inviting guests, and it’s good to have someone from Salesforce there on the evening to answer questions. It’s also a great way to get to know your Salesforce account team a little better. You can also register your group with the official Salesforce User Group program. This team is going through some exciting changes right now and its a lot easier to get up and running with your own user group. Matt Brown heads up the programme in the States for Salesforce so follow Matt on Twitter (@mattybme) to keep up to date with the latest user group news.

Finally, running a user group is a lot of fun. Not only have we learned a lot from the community at large, we have met some great people. Give it a try. Good luck!

We recently set up a page, which is our Forcewest community hub and there are various options for staying in touch with our news.

By Amy Grenham
22 April 2013
SalesforceThe Good Systems Blog

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