This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Yammer Blog articles.
The old adage “if you build it, they will come” does not apply in Yammer. This isn’t Field of Dreams! Creating a successful Yammer group takes a bit of planning and some initial care and feeding until it gains traction and becomes a self-sustaining group.
We have several groups on our Yammer network that have a very active and engaged community of members. But we also have our fair share of groups with low membership and little engagement. While not every Yammer group has to be a hive of activity, having a lot of inactive groups isn’t a good thing. For one, it makes it more difficult for employees to find useful groups to join. Additionally, if new users to Yammer join these groups and there is no activity, they will quickly feel there is no value to Yammer and abandon using it. By the same token, the group administrator may also feel there is no value to Yammer when no one is participating in their new group.
Since I play a role in employee technology adoption, setting group administrators up for success is important to me. A colleague and I host an internal monthly podcast series where we talk about our workplace technology tools, like Yammer, and how employees can work with and benefit from them. So we decided to record one entitled “How to Create a Successful Yammer Group”. We reached out on our Yammer network to connect with group administrators who had successful Yammer groups and invited a few of them to join our podcast and share how they cultivated successful groups. Here’s a summary of their top tips.
- Have a clear purpose and goal for the community – All the participants we interviewed said this was key. Having a clear goal and purpose will guide both the group creator and members what the group is about and help draw in the right participants.
Recommended Resource: Group Owner Best Practices Guide
- Brand your group – Once you have a clear idea of the purpose and goal for the community, brand it by selecting an appropriate image and giving your group a clear, meaningful name. I’ve seen many groups created with acronyms that few people would know. Having an obscure group name will not help drive interest in the group. Also, be sure to write up a clear description for the group that aligns with the group’s purpose.
Recommended Resource: Group Owner Best Practices Guide
- Have a plan – A lot of the successful Yammer groups had a plan for what they would post to the group within the first 30 days after the group’s inception along with the cadence with which they would post. This ensured that even if no members posted, there was always fresh content to keep members coming back. This is important to do in the early days of the group.
Recommended Resource: 25 Types of Yammer Posts
- Find ways to engage your community – This is where things get fun. In order for a Yammer group to be successful, you need to engage your members. Some of our successful Yammer groups kept members engaged through activities such as having the members vote on the image for the group, holding Yammer scavenger hunts, and other competitions. Additionally, it was mentioned to try to have posts end with a question rather than just a statement. A question invites members to comment and share their views to start a dialogue, which is ultimately what you want.
Recommended Resource: Yammer Guide to Community Management
- Promote it – Just because your group shows up in All Company doesn’t mean anyone actually noticed it. So promote it! Do your own post in All Company explaining what the group is about and why people would want to join. Invite members to the group that you know would be great contributors and gain value from the group. Talk about the Yammer group at team meetings and cross post about the group in other Yammer groups, where appropriate.
Recommended Resources: Communication Plans, Templates, Emails, Flyers
- Don’t go at it alone – “It takes a village” to build a successful group. So recruit some colleagues to be champions in your group and commit to actively posting and replying for a short period of time until the group gains some traction. Touch base with your champions to collectively share ideas on topics to discuss that would be meaningful to the group and to support one another.
Recommended Resource: Community Manager Checklist
- Leadership Engagement – Last but not least is leadership engagement. Generally if the leader is onboard and actively participating in the group, so will the members. Some leaders have made it part of their strategy that they will only broadcast department wide communications in Yammer versus email and a distribution list. This strategy works well because employees will not want to miss out on important work information – FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is powerful!
Recommended Resources: Use Case: Leadership Connection; YamJam Playbook
Share these tips in your organization with colleagues who are launching their Yammer groups, or to help those just getting started.
There are additional resources on the Yammer Adoption Resource Center, ready for your group owners or community managers to repurpose for your organization regardless of the stage of your group, including measurement, sentiment analysis and additional community manager best practices.
If you have any other suggestions that have worked for you and your groups, I'd to hear them too.
Hi everyone, my name is Tanya and I have an awesome role working in the Employee Technology Experience and Communications team at Bank of Montreal (BMO), where I actively lead the adoption of our Office 365 collaboration tools. I've played a key role in the implementation of Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive and Exchange Online in or organization. I've had the pleasure of connecting with our employees and sharing the value of these modern workplace tools as a featured speaker at a number of our internal employee digital transformation events and as a host of TechTalk a monthly BMO tech podcast series. I'm passionate about making technology fun and easy to use, so employees can make the most of the tools available to them. I'm thrilled to be a part of this Yammer blog community.