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Is SalesForce Communities’ Auto-Tagging Right for You? Or Should You Use a Controlled Vocabulary Instead?

This article explores whether or not SalesForce Communities’ automatic tagging is right for your forum or not by looking at what your goals are, user behaviour towards tagging and the algorithm’s intelligence.

What is SalesForce Communities’ auto-tagging

When a user posts on a forum (known as ‘discussions’ in SalesForce communities), they have the option to manually add tags. In case they don’t, SalesForce automatically inserts tags (known as ‘topics’ in SalesForce communities) based upon the content they posted.

These topics act can be clicked upon to view other discussions that have the same tags and aid users in a big goal on forums- finding relevant answers to their questions.

This is when you should use SalesForce Communities’ auto-tagging:

  1. Users don’t like to tag. Period. Have a look at any forum that offers users the ability to optionally tag their content and go through its recent posts and you will get your answer.
    Automatic tagging mitigates this issue and does a great job of it. Users don’t need to notice it or learn how to use it. In fact, my usability testing data shows that many users learn of tagging over time and not immediately, they don’t notice much of anything besides the title, description fields and post button. Auto-tagging makes it easier for them to discover this feature because sooner or later, they notice these topics listed under their posts and others.
  2. You don’t want to force your organization’s language over your users, especially when they use a different one in reality.
  3. If you are trying to develop an effective user-friendly controlled vocabulary, then auto-tagging will be the the perfect tool to help you create one. Leave it on till sufficient discussions take place, and then analyse the tags and create your controlled vocabulary out of it.

And here’s when you should probably use a controlled vocabulary instead of SalesForce’s auto-tagging:

  1. If you have to enforce a controlled vocabulary for tagging content for whatever reason, and there are many valid reasons to, then you simply can’t use the automatic tagging feature because you can’t enforce the .
  2. Shpelling mishtakes! SalesForce simply picks words out of what the user posts and does not have any intelligence built in at the moment to automatically correct them. In a way, this feature is a great MVP, but it needs to mature into an effective thing, which it can if they work more on it.
  3. Relevance… this is a biggie. SalesForce doesn’t do a good job of creating topics that best describe the posted content. It’s more of hit and miss. Try copying and pasting real content from a forum and put it in a test SalesForce community and see how well it does over 10-15 posts. You will have your answer again.

That’s what I think. What are your thoughts on it? I’d like to hear them.