Combining Clouds: Appirio's ReferMyFriends App Deftly Links Facebook To Salesforce

When we talk about cloud computing, we often talk about a monolithic cloud in the sky. But in fact there are many clouds. There is the Salesforce cloud, the Google cloud, the Amazon cloud, the Microsoft cloud, the Facebook cloud, and so on. For the most part, businesses still need to pick a cloud and stick with it. But that is changing as new applications are developed to combine clouds together.

A new Facebook app from Appirio called ReferMyFriends does just that. (Yes, Salesforce and Facebook can be combined). ReferMyFriends essentially uses Facebook as a front-end for Salesforce. It allows a company’s employees, associates, or even customers to refer their friends on Facebook for open job positions or marketing campaigns.

The way that Appirio does this is by mapping the company’s contact database on Salesforce to each employee’s contact list of friends on Facebook. As marketing campaigns are created in Salesforce, there is an option to make them visible in Facebook. (Being selective is the key here). Then it will use the keywords associated with the marketing campaign to see if there are any matches with your friends. When you go to the ReferMyFriends app page in Facebook, you are presented with a list of campaigns and friends that might be good leads.

So if your company is presenting a seminar on cloud computing, for example, all your friends that have expressed interest in cloud computing would show up. Then you can choose to send them a personal note with a link with more information. Nothing is sent to them unless you explicitly refer them. This also works for job referrals, which I think is the killer app here.

Since all of this is managed by Salesforce on the back-end, if any of your friends follow up and become a customer or go for a job interview, you are notified through Facebook. So when someone in your social sphere interacts with your company, you are alerted and can intervene or make yourself available if appropriate.

ReferMyFriends is actually an update to Appirio’s existing MyFriends@Work app, which will switch over on Monday. It is not cheap either. Appirio, which makes some of the top apps on the Salesforce App Exchange, is selling two different extensions from $10,000 to $25,000 a year. That is the cost to the company to hook the app into Salesforce. The Facebook part is free.

Appirio is backed by both Salesforce and Sequoia Capital, which have invested a total of $6.7 million into the startup.