Getting Started with Yammer: The Basics and Beyond

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”.
  8.  

     

  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?