A great series of posts are really detailing what Yammer is, and what it isn’t—including what it isn’t supposed to be in the first place!
At work, we emphatically stress that Yammer is NOT Facebook, both internally with coworkers and externally with our customers.
We also don’t call it social media. “Social networking” is dicey enough! I blame the “social” part and the stigma attached to that multifaceted word, but I’ll get to the “networking” part in a bit.
Instead, we term Yammer a “professional learning network.”
Why? Because learning—about ideas, processes, goals, and projects—is what really happens once your company or your customers start using Yammer.
And in the process, you learn more about what makes your company succeed.
From the softer side of a Photography group to a robust project group that will impact both your corporate goals and your customers’ continuing satisfaction, what you’re seeing is collaboration. You’re seeing input. You’re seeing people sharing their ideas where they wouldn’t have over email or in person, often simply because they weren’t asked.
We’re all used to emailing or calling meetings with our core groups. We all have that circle we think of first. When’s the last time you thought of asking an Accounting person to come to a Marketing design brainstorm for a Facebook meme?
And yet. Post that design brainstorm project on Yammer and watch the insight pour in from all over the company. Maybe next time you hold that offline meeting, you’ll ask a few more people than just your go-to circle.
And sure, networking happens. Chatter happens. You get more than one person in a room with a common cause, you’re going to get people talking about off-topic things. But on Yammer, it happens naturally and seamlessly, and not at the expense of the work you need to do.
One thing you do need:
A strong community manager or community management team to help guide and shape your approach. Yammer is made up of groups. Corral any topic you want in a group, and you’ll keep the perceived “noise” level manageable.