Organizations launch Yammer networks with big dreams, high hopes and lofty expectations. Yammer will put constituents within easy reach. An audience will be created. Connections will be made in ways that will make messages easy to share. Economies of scale will be achieved. Our mission will move forward, and our organization will become stronger.
However, once the Yammer network has been launched, organizations too often make posts on Yammer only as an afterthought. Yammer is not seen as a way to engage an audience as much as a way to push information out. We have become so accustomed to sharing information “at” people, we routinely ignore the opportunity Yammer provides to have conversations “with” people. Content for email and websites is usually carefully planned. And then, only as time and opportunity allows, posts that echo that content are also made on Yammer.
But don’t sell Yammer short, and don’t minimize its potential impact. When Yammer is used as a way to engage, organizations can have conversations with their audience that deepen and strengthen its mission and message. When Yammer is used as a way to share resources, it becomes the beginning of a conversation, rather than the end of a creation cycle.
With just a little planning and preparation, Yammer can easily become an incredibly effective part of your overall communications efforts when you remember to post with strategy, intent and empathy.
- Post with STRATEGY: How is Yammer part of the overall communications strategy? How is the information you have to share crafted for your website, as opposed to email, as opposed to your Yammer network? While email is a suitable platform to make people aware of information, it is not a suitable platform to engage people with that information. Bring them to Yammer because you want to hear from people, you want surface reactions to what is being shared, and you want people to discuss your information amongst themselves.
- Post with INTENT: If information is shared on Yammer as only a means to mark off a procedural checkbox so we can say that yes…information has been shared on all available platforms, a valuable opportunity will be missed. We carefully craft messages for our websites. That message is then changed for our email. Make one more change, and craft the message for Yammer in a way that will encourage replies, questions and further sharing. The nature of each of these platforms is different and powerful, as is the way information is best shared on those platforms.
- Post with EMPATHY: When creating messages and sharing information on Yammer, do so with empathy. Imagine you are a member of your community. You are a leader. You are busy. You want to connect with the information being shared, but you don’t have time to click, search and find. You just want to find the information you need, you need to make immediate sense of the information, and then you need to move on. How can you post that information in such a way that your post will be easy to find, easy to understand and easy to share? Empathy is the key.
The success of any information being shared, on any platform, will be directly reflective of the level of strategy, intent and empathy invested in that effort. Don’t make use Yammer as an afterthought. Use the unique nature of the platform to engage your audience, to inspire them to action, and to provide opportunities for meaningful engagement.