Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Cheap Way to Integrate Twitter and CRM

As you may know there is a Social Networking Accelerator for CRM which integrates Twitter and Dynamics CRM 4.0:

However, since Twitter changed their authentication method to OAuth a few months ago, the accelerator has been broken. This is a shame because it is quite a powerful little beast.

Wanting to bring tweets into CRM, for various reasons, I’ve devised this workaround.


TwInbox is a great add-on to Outlook. When my Twitter rss feeds in Outlook died (because of the shift to OAuth) I needed to find an alternative way of getting my tweets into Outlook. While there are twitter clients out there, if it isn’t in my pst file, I don’t get a chance to read it. This is where TwInbox came in.

You can download TwInbox here:

Once installed, you can basically add as many Twitter accounts as you like to it and they will come into folders in a location you specify:


You can then use Outlook to manage them as you wish.

Leveraging Outlook

What would be ideal would be to use CRM Outlook tracking to bring the tweets into Dynamics CRM. Unfortunately the tweets are of a type ‘Post’ and tracking won’t work with Posts.

However, we can forward a Post, which turns it into an email. Armed with this knowledge, there are a few options:

  1. Forward the tweet to a queue in CRM for processing
  2. Forward the tweet to a dummy account/contact record so that it tracks into the history of that account/contact

Going down the second path, I set up an account in CRM called ‘Twitters’. I also gave it a bogus email address. Now when I forward the tweet, marking the resulting email as tracked, it appears in the history of the Account. I’ll get a bounce but I can manage this through outlook rules, for example.


From here, I can open the email and, using the convert buttons, turn this into a Lead, Case or Opportunity.

If you went down the first path, the email would end up in the queue where someone could accept it and also convert it into a Lead, Case or Opportunity.

Will this Work in the IE Client?

No, this trick relies on the power of Outlook add-ons to bridge the gap between Twitter and CRM. However, given the deeper hooks CRM has into Outlook in the next version, I can see Outlook add-ons becoming more and more powerful at providing functionality indirectly to Dynamics CRM.


1 comment:

Leon Tribe said...

Comment from Ross Dembecki:
Good post. On the same thought process, the Outlook Social Connectors for Outlook 2010 provide great contextual information about your contacts from Facebook and LinkedIn that can also easily be promoted into CRM 2011 with the new CRM Outlook client. Great way to connect social media with CRM. This way the business user is making the informed decisions on what is worth tracking in CRM and what is not...