San Francisco, home to some of technology’s most innovative leaders, is pioneering the way governments use technology to connect with citizens. According to Ron Vinson, the city’s CMO, Department of Technology, “Government tends to be behind the ball with new developments. Salesforce.com—which was founded in an apartment in our city—helps us take advantage of everything the connected era has to offer so we can do a better job serving residents.”
For decades the city’s web site has helped residents find emergency or social services, register businesses, pay fees and taxes, or get information about recreational activities. “Although many of our services were online, they were static—like paying a parking ticket—and didn’t engage citizens,” explains Vinson. San Francisco launched its Facebook page in 2008 to give city hall a platform to connect with residents and get their feedback on everything from transportation schedules to graffiti in the park. “Our goal is to give people an opportunity to vent—especially those that can’t come to city hall in person—so everyone in the city can be heard,” says Vinson. “And, knowing public opinion about various issues helps drive policy.”
San Francisco also uses social media to get the word out on events or service disruptions—and to share or comment on breaking news. Marketing Cloud helps city agencies—including the mayor’s office, board of supervisors, transit authority, public utilities commission, and department of energy—listen and engage with citizens, while measuring sentiment to ensure that staff have the opportunity to participate in every conversation about city-related issues.
And, with more than a billion people now on Facebook each month, Marketing Cloud also helps the city break through the noise and reach the specific people it wants to talk to. “Salesforce helps us find influencers for a particular topic—like the environment—so when we have an event or need to reach out about an issue, we can reach the right people at the right time.”
In addition to social, the city is moving many more of its services onto mobile devices so it can be even more connected to citizens. “San Francisco has a tradition of being open and forward-thinking,” Vinson continues. “Salesforce is helping us continue that tradition in the connected world.”