09 Feb
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Getting Started with Yammer: The Basics and Beyond

By in Tips & Guides on February 9, 2012

Whether invited by a coworker, heeded a friend’s recommendation, or serendipitously discovered Yammer on your own  – you’re here! Now what?

Yammer is about connections – connections between people, teams, offices, information and ideas. Just by logging in and sharing “what are you working on” you’re growing your company’s Yammer network and building a knowledge base of information that will benefit your coworkers. Yammer is as useful as you make it, and it’s up to everyone in your company to do this — including you! Yammer is like a bank — the more you contribute and deposit, the more you can withdraw.

Before you hop into your growing Yammer network to start connecting with other users, we want to make sure you’re set up for success. Getting started with Yammer is easy, just check out these simple steps:

Let’s start with the basics:

Complete your profile: A completed Yammer profile lets your colleagues know who you are, what your expertise is, explains your role in the company, and how they can contact you. Don’t forget a profile picture!

Introduce yourself: Once you complete your profile, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your coworkers. Make it easy for others to discover you and to want to connect with you. Need an example? Here is my introduction on my first day at Yammer:

Join groups, follow topics: Groups and topics ensure that the right information is delivered to you in real time. Join groups relevant to your job – department, projects, teams — as well as groups relevant to your life – interests, activities, location, etc. Make sure to set your notifications properly to deliver messages to you with the right priority. Topics are a great way to organize information and posts on Yammer. You can follow a topic to ensure that all conversations tagged with that topic are delivered to your feed. (See more on adding topics below):

Adjust your notifications: Yammer notifies you of each interaction you are a part of on your Yammer network via an email, SMS or IM. If you are wildly popular on Yammer (you Yammer superstar!) you may end up getting notifications, so take charge and tweak them to deliver maximum utility. You can set up your global notifications for an entire network (such as for each public @ mention, direct message, etc), as well as for each group you are a member of.

To change your notifications click your name in the upper right corner of Yammer. In the drop down menu, select “Edit Account”. From there, select “Notifications”, and follow the dialog to determine for what Yammer activities and groups you want to receive notifications.

 

Follow your coworkers and team: Follow members of your team and coworkers to get their updates delivered right to your feed in real time. To follow a user, go to their profile and click “follow.” There may be some members whom you will want to follow; however, we advise to rely on groups instead of individuals for delivery of topical content. People change jobs and positions, and depending on any one person for discovery of business-critical content may be risky. That being said, you should probably go ahead and follow your boss… And your boss’s boss…

You’ve followed the right content, changed your settings and updated your information. Now, let’s get to the good part –what you can do with Yammer. Using a new tool like Yammer may be daunting at first, but you will soon realize that there is no wrong way to use Yammer — it’s up to your business and your team to determine what you want out of it and how you will get there. That being said, here are the top 10 things that everyone should do:

The good stuff:

  1. Post a message: — a question, an update on your current project, an interesting article that others will benefit from. Don’t be afraid to share content from anywhere. If you see an interesting article on your company or a competitor – you can bet your colleagues will want to know. Post to a group if the content is specific; post to the wider network if you want others to serendipitously discover it. You can also @mention (public mention) colleagues to draw them into the conversation.
  2. Read what your colleagues post: Skimming your feed will give you a pulse of what’s happening in your organization. It will help you discover what your teammates are working on, as well as serendipitously discover what’s happening across the organization — for some of that cross-functional magic.
  3. Like something: If you like a message on Yammer, let your coworkers know! If you “like” a message, the colleague who posted it will get a notification — it’s a great way to let someone know you agree or acknowledge receipt of the message.
  4. Reply to messages: Take a step beyond a ‘like’ and share your thoughts on your colleague’s post. This helps individual thoughts become conversations, connects individuals and content and answers questions. Besides, interacting with a new joiner’s first post has been linked to engagement and consequent logins — especially when it comes from executives.
  5. View profiles: Get to know your coworkers by viewing their profiles and maybe you’ll learn something new about them. If everyone fills out a profile, it helps people connect. Fill out yours, check out others to start connecting with people throughout your organization.
  6. Create a group: Start a public or private group for your team, department, a project or a common interest. Don’t be afraid to get creative to rally coworkers behind a cause and stimulate discussions. Are you working on a project? Start a group — it’s all about ad-hoc collaboration! Are you part of a team? Start a group – structured collaboration is great too. Have interests outside of work or want to explore your city (or the world) together? You know what to do!
  7. Use topics: Topics can be used to track messages around a certain topic (go figure!) If a colleague is following a certain topic, but isn’t necessarily following you, adding a relevant topic allows for others to discover your post. To add a topic to a post, click “add topic” while composing the message or simply use a hashtag. You can also add topics to a published message by clicking “more”.
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  9. Send a private message: Some messages are best kept private Collaborate privately with one or more colleagues using Yammer private messages.
  10. Search for information: Find what you’re looking for using search. Scan results for people, previous conversations, pages and files. Before you post your question on Yammer or dive into a new project- do a search! The information you need may be on Yammer.
  11. Install the desktop and mobile apps: Access Yammer right from your desktop all in real-time. Download the mobile and desktop apps to stay connected wherever you are.

By now, you should have (at least) ten items on your Yammer to-do list, but of course, there are always more to add. What tips would you add to help a new user getting started with Yammer?

52 Responses to Getting Started with Yammer: The Basics and Beyond

  1. I love the concept, and… I am trying to like your functionality – First, please consider changing “blog” to “blog/resources” or “blog/support”- it wasn’t intuitive to me so I felt frustated after a little time – Is there an obvious place to make feature requests (I just got here so I apologize but I dont see it yet at this level :( )? I would like to see the ability (as the admin of the network) to delete “pending” members (who someone entered a year ago before I took over network – and sadly who I just managed to accidentlaly reinvite as I cruised through the list and clicked too fast when I though I was clicking “show more” at the end of the list, uugh!) – I can’t access them in any way that I can see (other to block their potential future membership – which I just did) – Two, and more important, I want to be able to set “share an update with ‘my colleagues’ ” to share with “____” group instead (as a “default” that sticks until a user changes it – kind of like how you allow the types of conversations ones sees in the feed to be set and stick until a user changes it – I assume thats by design) – I am trying to gather a group of high level leadership and I dont want them to have to see the posts of the rank and file yet – as the “default” in their feed each time (as it may easily turn off the leadership to participate – sounds snobby, but gaining key members needs to be strategic with site support). Your SF neighbor. Dr. John 238-2904 Thanks for listening

  2. oops – thats 3 issues combined, not two, I cant edit it (another new suggestion! hah, hah :) ) – sorry if I confused the last two items as I smashed them together.

  3. Molly says:

    Hello Dr. John,

    Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you have a couple of feature requests, we welcome and encourage submissions on this site:
    http://feedback.yammer.com/forums/145382-how-can-we-make-yammer-more-useful-for-you-

    Post editing and a default group setting are both top voted feature requests, and are under review by our team, but are not currently available features.

    It seems like you’re looking to remove a pending invite; that is currently not possible.

    We are happy to have someone reach out to you to talk about your Yammer network and answer any additional questions you may have. Hope this helps!

    Molly

    • Laura says:

      OMGrrrrrr _please_please_please add Post/Update Edit capabilities to yammer.

      As yammer patient 0 (yes I brought yammer to our company) I am a BIG advocate. However, I can only delete and re-post so many times before I want to throw in the towel on yammer altogether. No I’m not a terrible writer. Rather, I’m human and I sometimes accidentally post before finished, and often see mistakes only as I’m hitting the ‘Update’ button.

      I am pushing for yammer to be used on a specific group IT project. The lack of editing capabilities makes yammer a non-option. This is a major bummer – because conceptually, yammer is our best choice.

      • Molly says:

        Hi Laura,

        Sorry to hear you are frustrated. Post editing is something that is discussed frequently, but we do not have plans to add this functionality in the near future. The reason here, is that often sensitive or important information is posted on Yammer, and we want this content to remain in its original, unchanged form. Say I posted an opinion about something, and 10 people completely disagreed with. Say I then went back and edited my original post to change my opinion. This would decay the thread in 2 ways: 1. The existing replies to that thread would no longer make sense, and those who stumble upon the message later, would not be able to understand the conversation 2. This would potentially upset those who took the time to respond to my original post, as it would appear that I was going back on my word. For conversations involving policies, or company announcements – not allowing editing is important, as we don’t want people to be able to “change their mind” about something later on. We understand that editing would be helpful for typos and spelling mistakes, but we think solving for static and unchanging content is higher priority. Hope this helps to explain!

        • Marcel says:

          Hi there Molly,
          I understand your reply: integrity of the discussion thread is crucial.
          On the other hand: seeing a typo after posting is a real nag. For instance: today I posted a story with an external link added, and managed to not copy the l of html at the end of the link (I am human after all…). A colleague replied with the correct link, but I want to be able to change this in my original post.
          Reposting is not an option. All the other reactions will be deleted as wel (I presume).

          So, why not implement one of the following:
          - Being able to edit the attachments (links, pictures).
          - Being able to change the post, but adding an extra feature that shows how much of the original post was changed (shown as a %); this is a common feature on forums.

          In my view these are issues that Yammer needs to address to stay/become a success. It’s not uncommon in The Netherlands to refer to Yammer as Jammer, which translates best as ‘Bummer’). That’s mostly due to the above, the below par performance of the desktop app (character delay when typing, and recently the deletion of the feature to post pictures) and accidental posting when entering (people don’t use Yammer as Twitter, they want to post a story in a few paragraphs to enhance readability).

  4. Lori Salamida says:

    Does Yammer offer a media manager similar to hootsuite or tweetdeck?

    Thanks,
    Lori

  5. Alex Allen says:

    Are you able to use hash tagging/topics for groups? For example, if a group within yammer wanted to keep track of what other business users were saying about them, how could they? If I worked with XYZ Group, is it possible for someone to post “I really like what #XYZ Group is doing” or “I really like what @XYZ Group is doing.” So far, I haven’t been able to do this, but wanted to make sure.

    • Maria says:

      Great question, Alex. @ mentioning whole groups is something that we are considering. We’d have to resolve how these types of notifications would appear without overpowering the notification feed. As far as topic, you can use them *inside* of groups, for an extra level of categorization. However, I don’t think this is what you were asking.

  6. George says:

    How can I delete a private message?

  7. Kevin says:

    Deleting a private message
    I know you are looking at adding this, but it would be great to have this implemented soon so that during a company or department wide demo, one could actually show the functionality within a live account and not be worried about any confidential messages.
    Thanks

    • Maria says:

      Kevin, I agree that deleting a private message is important. It’s on our list of things to do, but we don’t have a targeted date yet. Thank you for your patience!

  8. Adam says:

    Hi, I am a first time user of Yammer and am keen to start a group for my team as a central port to upload information which would be useful for their day to day job as well as having the ability to share ideas and wins. Is it best to start a group or new network?

    • Molly says:

      We would recommend a group for this! That way, others in your company can see how your team is sharing ideas and wins. It’s great for other areas of your org to see what your team is accomplishing.

  9. fjsn says:

    Does yammer delete the function to notify via IM?
    I just find EMail and SMS.

  10. Vicky coats says:

    My post icon keeps disappearing on my iPad – I’ve reloaded it any still now luck – can you help

  11. Alison says:

    Hi,
    Is there anyway I can post a message that I don’t want people to be able to respond to?

    Thanks.

  12. Thivan says:

    How can i send a message for 2 persons including me. If this is the case, i will receive e-mail notifiacations also..

    • Molly says:

      Hi Thivan, if you send a private message to another person, you will both be included in that message. If you want to activate e-mail notifications, please go to your Account Settings and select the Notifications you wish to receive. Hope that helps!

  13. Emanuel says:

    Question: whats the difference between using the topic button to add “topic” instead of in the end of an post writing “#topic”? Is it one or the other? Or should you use both?

  14. Sean says:

    What happens to files we upload, like if we want to share documents. Are they indexed by search engines or are they kept private? Something in between?

    • Molly says:

      The files remain private on your network and are not indexed by search engines. Of course, there may be a case in which someone on your network downloads and shares a file externally, that should have remained on the private Yammer network. If that is the case, the issue is with member education. Members should know what is okay to share outside of Yammer.

    • Molly says:

      The files you upload to Yammer remain in your network, and are not indexed by search engines. There may be a case that a member of your network downloads and shares a file that should not have been made public. If this is the case, the issues is around member education. Members of your Yammer network should know what is okay to share outside of the network. Hope this helps!

  15. Wen says:

    Help how do I delete a comment on a thread

    • Molly says:

      Hello Wen, you can delete your own comments by selecting “More” next to that particular message. You cannot, however, delete comments or posts from other people. Hope that helps!

  16. Conny Roloff says:

    Hi,

    two questions:
    1. Can I see all my posts?
    2. Can I influence the Editor behavior? It is pretty annoying that it autocorrects a lot in a German way (which is my browser language) but I write most posts in English.

    Conny

    • Molly says:

      Hi Conny,

      If you go to your Profile and click “Message View” (this is located below your profile picture), you will be able to see all of your messages on Yammer. “Conversation view” will bring up all threads on Yammer that you have participated in. Currently there is no setting to change the editing functions in Yammer. We would have to assume this would be a browser setting, not a setting in Yammer.

  17. Adam Shapiro says:

    With the desktop or web version, can Yammer make a sound when anyone posts a new item or comment?

  18. Nisha says:

    Hello,

    I teach at a college and we are looking at implementing Yammer to facilitate open communication and interaction between students and faculty. However, we want to prevent students from creating external networks whose members can have generic email ids such as gmail etc. Is it possible to do this and how?

  19. Mark R says:

    Hi there

    Just like Nisha above, we are looking to use Yammer as part of our online virtual learning platform, where it will facilitate communication between students and instructors. We would like to ensure that each class of students can only interact with each other and no-one else on our Yammer network (which will need to be an external network because our students can be from different client organisations with different domain email addresses), and so to do this I understand that we can create private groups for each class. My questions are – is my understanding correct about use of private groups? Is this the best way to manage learning cohorts within Yammer? And, is it possible to set up a private sub-group within a larger private group, as we would like the students of each class to also have the facility to interact via Yammer with other students who have previously attended the course? Eg if we repeat run a course on leadership skills each month, we would like the students that enrol to become members of the leadership training group, but we would also like the students for a specific class in a specific month to be members of their own private group within the wider leadership student group. I hope that makes sense?

    • Molly says:

      Hi Mark,

      Yes your understanding about Private Groups is correct. Only those in the group will be able to see the content and interact in the group. You cannot, however, create sub-groups. Hope that helps!

  20. MikeH says:

    Hi,

    I can’t seem to find information related to editing a post. Why in the world am I not able to edit my own post? Maybe I can and just haven’t figured it out. maybe I mis-spelled something, entered the wrong link, etc.

    Mike

    • Molly says:

      Hi Mike, we don’t allow post editing. You can select “more” and delete a post, and then re-post it.

      • Laura says:

        aaaagh! that is a problem. What about notes? Perhaps you could use the notes module… but can I create a new note via email? I need both functionalities (edit post *and* new item creation via email) help.

  21. Sherri says:

    How do I create my profile?

  22. Rhys says:

    Hi

    Is there any way to receive notification whenever someone uses a certain hastag? I know you can search for hashtags or scroll through the news feed but I feel this would be too cumbersome or time consuming for what we have in mind.

    For example if someone posts an update saying “I would really like some advice on this #oranges”, could certain people who are experts in the field of oranges get a notification saying someone has posted about it so they would know to check it out?

    Thanks

  23. Hi, I have a yammer embedded feed on a monitor on the wall. How do I disable the button that requires me to press it to see the new messages? The button says “Click here so see 1 new messages”. I want yammer to automatically scroll the conversations on a huge display without having to keep clicking buttons with a mouse. Is there anyway to automatically display the messages in a feed?

  24. Nikki Rice says:

    I am new to yammer and would like to see activity before I decide if I want to post or not. Is there anyway I can hide my ‘online now’ status so others cant see that I am logged in until I feel comfortable enough to participate??

    Thanks

    • Molly says:

      Hi Nikki, great question! At this time, you cannot hide your ‘online now’ status. We want to encourage real-time communication and Online Now helps show which of your coworkers are available to talk to.

      Thanks!
      Molly

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