By Nate Riggs published October 28, 2010

5 Simple Steps To Using Yammer for Content Marketing Team Collaboration

Content marketing can take a good deal of collaboration and teamwork. And, oftentimes,  getting and keeping everyone on the same page can take some time. One of my favorite tools for this is Yammer. Read on to see what this tool is and how it works.

 

Why I Use Yammer – Intro to CMI Post from Nate Riggs on Vimeo.

What Yammer Is

how-to-yammer-cmiYammer is simply a micro-blogging platform that helps to improve your internal corporate communications. It allows your content marketing team to leverage a private and secure communication platform that is much more efficient than traditional email.

With proper training and implementation, Yammer will enable your team to collaborate and share information without the hassle of combing through and keeping up with long “reply-all” email threads.

Much like how Twitter works for the outside world, Yammer adds value by encouraging brevity in team communications.  Using Yammer wisely can reduce the need for long, drawn-out meetings by keeping the conversation moving via short snippets of content.  In many cases, Yammer can actually create an online environment where meetings can take place.

It’s also a great platform for reducing communication silos across project teams and departments by creating an open communication environment information where documents, links and general conversations are searchable on the content sharing timeline.

Likewise, for more network-oriented companies with team members working from the road or even out of remote offices, Yammer is a must-have business communication tool that is available at no cost (for now).

5 Simple Steps to a Successful Yammer Implementation

1) Set up the technical requirements.

To begin using Yammer, each member of your team will be required to have an email address that comes from the same domain. In the case of my client Incept, we first had to make sure that everyone shared a common email address. The company currently uses three different domains across various corporate-owned websites.  To save yourself hassle in the long term, it’s important to make sure that, if your business has multiple domains, you select the best domain and stick with it.  Choose wisely so you don’t have a mess to clean up down the road.

2) Bring Yammer to where you are.

One of the key advantages with using Yammer is the availability of third-party applications that include everything from desktop tools for both Mac and PC, as well as a variety of mobile applications including iPhone, Android and Blackberry smart phones. During your implementation process, make sure to consider the types of devices your team will be using and provide links and information so that they can download the right applications for their hardware.  Also keep in mind that much like Twitter, you can always use Yammer in the cloud.

3) Train diligently for total team adoption.

Any internal communication technologies are only effective if you have buy-in from your team members. For some, the nature of micro-blogging will be a new experience and may require a little extra hand-holding to help your team through the initial learning curve:

  • Organizing lunch-and-learns or even small group mastermind sessions is a very effective way to guide your team towards 100% adoption by sharing experiences.
  • For teammates who are working remotely, short web conferences where you can share a master desktop to demonstrate the software help to bring any questions or confusion into the open where they can be discussed.

Note that it will also be important for at least one person from your team to become a power user who can field and address more difficult questions.  You can find case study examples and information on Yammer best practices right on the company’s blog.

4) Develop departmental or project groups.

Yammer gives organizations the ability to set up specific groups within the system.  This feature works similarly to Twitter lists in that you can segment conversations to a smaller group of team members and make them viewable as a specific stream.  Remember that by doing this, the total conversation is still viewable under the “Company Feed” tab.  Yammer also gives users the ability to direct message any individual on the team, similar to how some companies are using chat today.

5) Make Yammer an exclusive source for information.

Change can be daunting for some, and we humans have a tendency to revert to older means of communications (like email, for instance) where we are most comfortable.  Aside from adequate training and team discussion on best uses, making the decision to share specific information across your company’s Yammer network will help to pull people towards adoption by creating a necessity to use the new platform.  At the onset, communicate what information will be shared exclusively on Yammer so that your team is aware that they will need to brave the waters in order to stay in the loop. It may be best to use the communication tools that you’re most familiar with to raise awareness.

My company has been able to successfully implement Yammer as an internal communications tool in three different organizations to date.  Across the board, the benefits have been worth the investment of our time and energy.

If you are curious and considering giving Yammer a try, I’ll be manning the comments so that I can make efforts to help you along. If you do get stuck or have questions, please feel free to drop me a comment here and I’ll do my best to reply as quickly as possible.

Sound fair?

Author: Nate Riggs

Nate Riggs is the Founder and CEO of NR Media Group, a Columbus, Ohio-based marketing agency that works to change the way businesses use digital media to connect with customers, earn their trust and win their business for life. Nate will be releasing the Video Engineering Playbook early in 2015, and you can download sample chapters for free.

Other posts by Nate Riggs

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  • http://twitter.com/hbbconnect Home Business Brains

    Yammer seems like a very, very watered down project management tool… take a step or two up and Basecamp takes care of what’s needed for a project – if Yammer is like Twitter in a sense… I don’t see the value when other PMS’ provide more usability and collaboration.

    • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

      Not sure if I agree with that statement. Yammer is simply designed to create an open online environment where fast and efficient day to day communication can happen. It’s not really intended for project management at all. What Yammer works replace are technologies like chat clients and inter-office email that are being used by tons of businesses today.

      Have you tried out Yammer? What were some of the specific features you were comparing to Basecamp?

      • http://twitter.com/hbbconnect Home Business Brains

        I wasn’t so much making a comparison between Yammer and Basecamp… only commenting, and maybe got stuck on the Twitter comparison… and saying; in a project that has many moving parts and players – a Twitter like environment is not optimal – when time allows for it… I will definitely take a closer look to be sure of the apple and orange difference – assuming there is one.

        • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

          That’s fair. Thanks for chiming in. 🙂

    • moerby

      No, No, No… PM tool is it not, but it will definetly assist you with project communications and getting people in a project team , and outside, to collaborate and share.

      • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

        I agree. Yammer is really only meant to be a more efficient way for groups to collaborate on day to day communication. It does do a nice job with that…

  • http://twitter.com/mjtwit Mike Jensen

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Great to hear different ways that micro-blogging is helping teams to be more effective and collaborative. I work with a company called MangoSpring that is rooted in real-time communication using micro-blogging and instant messaging along with other “areas of purpose” – such as Docs, Ideas, Projects and Tasks.

    Check it out! http://www.mangospring.com

    • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

      That looks interesting, Mike. I’ll spend some time looking at what you guys are doing!

  • Jessica Manna

    Firstly, great post, Nate! While I love the concept of Yammer, we have tried (unsuccessfull) to implement it three times over the course of the past two years. It’s great to hear your ideas and how others have been successful with it. Our challenges have been different at different points. Initially, the biggest hurtle was buy-in as many managers feared it would be a distraction and non-productive. That hurtle was eventually overcome but the intitative still died in implementation for a few reasons – 1) the client has buggy and has a lot of latency – often, it seemed easier to email / call / walk / shout than to use the application, 2) what people seem to need is a way to resolve issues / communicate person-to-person versus in a status-update format. For that reason, we have elected to go with an IM product instead. I loved the idea and championed it heavily — but just couldn’t get it to stick. Jessica Manna (jessica.manna@myrfc.com)

    • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

      Yammer can work a lot like chat (and Twitter) in that you can @NAME messages to specific individuals which makes sure that those messages are seen in the @ column. The direct messages also work much like chat, but to your point, aren’t always as quick.

      There’s no replacement for face to face conversation (or phones, yelling, walking, etc). Where I think Yammer does work really well is when small groups inside your need to communicate on a specific issue. Using email, those Reply All threads can be extremely cumbersome. Yammer has reduced those in other companies I’ve seen use it. At the end of the day though, if you’re company gravitates towards chat, then go with what works. It just depends on what people are comfortable with…

  • http://nateriggs.com nateriggs

    I would advocate for educating your internal audience on how to use the settings. Each individual will want to have their emails delivered differently. There may be some they want right away and there may be some that are less critical for them. I would give them the education and ability to choose…