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You walk into a conference room. It's your first time at this particular conference and there's no welcome pack. You can see quite a few people standing around drinking coffee and eating small pastries. But no-one's talking to each other.
You have three options:
- Turn around and walk out.
- Find someone you know and begin a conversation about one of the conference themes.
- Introduce yourself to someone you don't know and look for areas of common interest.
Yammer can sometimes feel like that conference room. For many people it's a strange new environment. There are no clear rules on how to behave or what to do. We know the value of networking, but doing that online can be daunting at times.
So, here are some simple guidelines that may help:
(NB. In Yammer, as in Twitter, when you "follow" someone, they become part of your personal network and anything they post will appear in your message stream)
- Introduce yourself via your profile. This is the way people will find you, or find out more about you. If you don't write a little about who you are and what you do, then it's unlikely that anyone will link to you unless they already know you.
- Find people you already know and follow them
- Add yourself to the organisation chart, and add those people you work with, or for, or those who work for you. It's the quickest way of building the network.
- If someone you follow posts something, consider replying. Networks are about two way conversations. As soon as a network becomes reliant on a few people pushing out ideas then that network becomes very vulnerable. Strong networks have multiple two-way connections.
- Once a week or so, consider starting a conversation. Pose a question. Share a link to something useful. Post a document. Think out loud. It doesn't have to be serious. It could even be controversial. As time goes on, the network will become a searchable repository of organisational knowledge.
- Look out for people from other parts of the organisation with similar interests, and follow them. Some people are very good at linking across different areas. If you follow them, then you're more likely to make your own connections.
- If you invite someone to Yammer, when they join make sure you welcome them and introduce them to the network. That way the people who follow you will become aware of this new person, and may be more inclined to follow them.
- If your organisation has a social media policy, make sure you're aware of it. It will protect you and the organisation. If it doesn't, then follow these simple rules:
- Remember that anything you write down may potentially become public.
- Remember that the other names in the network are real people, with real feelings.
- Text is a great communication medium, but it doesn't convey emotion easily. When you're writing, be aware of how the words may be received. If necessary, use emoticons (like ;-) for example). But don't overdo it.
- If you only want to communicate with a small, defined group of people, then use email. If you're having a general conversation about something, use Yammer.
- If you want to keep your conversation inside Yammer, but private to a particular set of people, then consider creating a private group.
I like your analogy and approach to Yammer. Thanks for the little guide here ... haven't used it yet so would like to hear more about how it works in your organization.
We're still in the early stages of using Yammer. What I'm writing here is stuff to help new users get the best out of it. For many people sharing ideas in public (and online) is such a new concept.
Excellent post with some great tips to jump-start your Yammer network! To add to your list, if possible, try to get leadership in the organization to sign up and commit to posting critical company messages in Yammer. Create a group for your immediate team and integrate a business process into the communication flow on Yammer. Finally, consider hosting informal training sessions to help new users get started. Again, awesome post - thanks for sharing!
Community Manager at Yammer
Well placed advert! I let it through as it adds to the conversation...
I'll take a look at that, when I'm working at home. Our firewall rules block all access to MangoSpring at the moment. :-(
2 Questions: Is there a way to import an Outlook email distribution list into Yammer in order to invite them to join a Yammer group? If not, is the fastest way to simply send an email with the yammer group name in the email?
Is there any way to export information from Yammer posts, for subsequent analysis (e.g., identify new opportunities, consolidate knowledge gleaned through conversations somewhere else...?)
It doesn't look like Yammer provide an import facility, but there is a third-party tool that does it. I've not tested it though.
Reading the Yammer FAQs, it says:
"Once you've upgraded your Yammer network to one of our premium packages, your company's Yammer messages can be exported into a standard format (.eml). This allows you to use your existing data-mining tools for e-discovery. Yammer can also provide you with periodic backups of all your Yammer data so you can keep a local copy. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Yammer cannot be compelled to turn over your content from your Yammer network to any third-party, except for government entities."
I'm trying to enthuse more of the folk I serve in Kenya and Uganda to use Yammer and I'm hoping that your post will provide some of the encouragement they need, to reach out and put a toe in the water.
Also Jessica Halpers comment "... consider hosting informal training sessions to help new users get started." may be the catalyst I need to develop a future online training session via Elluminate.
Online at Facebook/Skype/Twitter/LinkedIn: cjwardle
Does anyone of you know how to add colleagues with different top level domains (.com, .de, .nl, .co.uk) to one company network? I can only invite people from my company who also have the .com email adress. Any ideas how to manage that?
I think you'll need to be using the paid version of Yammer to do that. Best to ask the Yammer people directly, as I'm sure it's something they've dealt with already.