One of the other major differentiators between Salesforce and other technology platforms out there is the active community that is there to help you out along the way. Depending on your personal preference, there are a variety of mediums out there to help you get involved, and the best part is, almost all of them are free!
If you get stuck in any of your learning, have a question, or just want to learn something new, I would start with the Success Community. As its name indicates, its purpose is to help you find success! It is 100% free and primarily maintained by people who don’t work for Salesforce but are active in its ecosystem and enjoy answering people’s questions. There are several people with thousands of responses and some of the more active users, such as community legend SteveMo, have tens of thousands of responses!
As you progress along your journey, think about giving back and answering a few questions yourself! You’ll be surprised how much you can learn looking up new things and trying to build things yourself. You can also join groups to chat with like minded individuals and ask targeted questions to specific groups or regarding specific products. The Success Community is primarily geared toward the Salesforce admins, which is where I recommend everyone start, but if you’re more code focused, consider checking out either the Developer Forums or the Salesforce StackExchange. Feel free to ask a question if you get stuck anywhere along the way!
If you’re into social media, there is also a very vibrant Salesforce community active on Twitter, among other mediums, including yours truly :). Anyone is more than welcome to start participating in conversations there as well. If you have a question, simply use the tag #askforce and someone will be right on it. Don’t forget to give back and try responding to a few as well. I also try to participate in the Salesforce community on LinkedIn by making posts and joining groups but I know people who also like to share content on Facebook, Pinterest, Medium, and probably a bunch of others that I don’t even know about. As always, you can choose how much or little involvement as you’d like. Despite being just over a year into my own Salesforce career, I am still shocked how easy it is to blend right into the community and be accepted by others over my love of Salesforce.
If you’re reading this, you’re already aware of at least 1 Salesforce blog out there! SalesforceBen is one of my favorites and I frequently reference it but there are dozens of others out there as well (insert shameless plug here for my own new blog AdamToArchitect). The most comprehensive list I’ve found is here that covers pretty much everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Salesforce and more! There are blogs from several Salesforce MVPs, Salesforce.com themselves, and other people such as myself who are part of the community and want to share our knowledge as well as tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.
One of the other great mediums for people to release Salesforce content are podcasts. I just started subscribing to a bunch myself but if you need something to do on your morning or evening commute and want to pick up a few tips and/or learn more about the amazing people in the community, I’d definitely recommend checking out the ones that appeal to you. I’ve found lists here and here but I’m sure there are others out there as well if you look around. As with a blog, if you see a knowledge gap somewhere, feel free to start your own and share what you’ve learned!
While any or all of these are great options for consuming content and knowledge, sometimes it also helps to have some in-person communications as well. Once again, the Salesforce community comes through in the form of user groups. These community run groups are present all over the world and allow people to come together periodically to talk and learn about Salesforce. While Salesforce doesn’t play any part in running them, they do provide support and encouragement as well as resources as necessary to keep them going.
If you don’t see one where you live, feel free to start one! If you do, join their group in the Success Community by searching from here to start getting involved. You’ll also notice in addition to groups broken down by geography, there are also groups based on Industry, the Non-Profit sector, and Women in Tech.
While Salesforce puts on their 4-day Dreamforce conference in San Francisco that attracts 100K+ people every year, the Community puts on smaller 1-2 day events throughout the year as well. Most of them, to my knowledge, take place in the United States but there’s at least one in Europe and may be some elsewhere as well that I’m unaware of (as always though, feel free to start one!). The ones I’m aware of include the following with primary contacts in parentheses in case you want to get more info or learn how to start your own:
- Tahoe Dreamin’ in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA (Bill Greenhaw)
- London’s Calling in London, England, UK (Francis Pindar, Kerry Townsend, Jodi Wagner, and Simon Goodyear)
- Snowforce in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (Daniel Hoechst)
- Southeast Dreamin’ in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Amber Boaz)
- Midwest Dreamin’ in Chicago, Illinois, USA (Eric Dreshfield)
- Forcelandia in Portland, Oregon, USA (Angela Mahoney and Larry Latimer)
Similar to the User Groups, these are 100% community run, but Salesforce frequently sends multiple representatives (including executives) from the company to speak at them.
Hopefully you’ve started thinking about one or two ways you might be interested in getting more involved in the community. There are a ton of options out there and new ones popping up each day as technology continues to evolve. Feel free to share you own experiences as well and hope to “see” you out there!