Running a photography contest or campaign in Yammer - Basics 101

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Looking to increase engagement in your Yammer network? Consider a photography contest or campaign.


I believe it's a best practice to have a photography group in your company network, period. People all around the world love to take, share and appreciate photos, and offering a space for this activity is a strong community-builder and relationship-starter that can fuel business connections and value.


Plus, your photo contest or campaign can be business-focused. You can ask employees for pictures of company locations, or of brand or culture attributes in the world around them (such as safety, pride, inclusion). My company shipped cardboard cutouts of our company founder out to global locations and then encouraged people to post selfies as part of our anniversary celebrations. More than a year later, that campaign is going strong, and our founder has been pictured with colleagues on every continent except Antarctica, at a wedding celebration, on a mountain climb...


We've also held "photo safaris" in our locations, where a "guide" takes people on a tour and invites photography submissions from the trip on a particular theme, such as "beauty is in the details." For one of these safaris at headquarters, the pictures were posted on Yammer for comments and voting, and many of the top submissions were printed and hung in the central cafe, and circulated to global locations for display on monitors.


Another benefit is that photography campaigns can be a natural driver for usage of the Yammer mobile app. Also, building a culture of photography appreciation in your Yammer network might even help keep some of your company photos from showing up out in public social media like Instagram!


If you're considering one of these campaigns, think ahead about the communications. A one-page strategy can help you socialize the idea with others and be ready for whatever happens.


First, make sure you're clear on where you want people to post their photos. Again, having a Photography group is valuable; you'll want people's submissions to be in one place for administrative purposes and so that submissions are more likely to be viewed all together. Even with your group strategy in place, consider using topics as metadata for your own value.


You can kick off your campaign with a group or network announcement about the "photo assignment" (de-emphasizing competition) or contest. Be clear about the subject matter you want, where to post it and the dates for taking part.


You can still expect people not to follow directions. For every campaign we've run this way, my power users who help run the network "share" over occasional entries posted in All Company, or even just beautiful pictures that should be considered but weren't part of the campaign!


You can let "likes" guide you toward popular favorites. Consider those tallies as something you might assign awards to, without announcing that you'll do so. "People's choices" are great things to celebrate, as are individual "Leader's choice" so that you have more winners... spread the WIN around as much as possible!


Once you have a critical mass of entries and possibly some logical groups of photos, you can consider some head-to-head selection. We didn't find polls helpful for this, so much as simply having an admin post groups of 3-5 photos together and asking people to reply with their first and second choices from the group.

To determine an "overall" winner if you wish, you can then have another and separate round of voting.

Again, consider as many winning categories as you can (e.g., best landscape, best facility shot, best portrait) and engage your leaders by asking them to choose a favorite to award as well.

Consider printing a few top photos and putting them on display; adding pictures to company electronic monitors, newsletters or the company magazine; and investing some time in a nice certificate to be sent to winners. Or, why not make up a company calendar available for ordering?


Here's one last idea. If you have a company mascot or item, can it travel? Can you hand it off or send it between people and locations and track its progress with posts? We've seen pictures of a stuffed elephant (with business meaning, our "elephant in the room") traveling all over the world, in meetings in many company locations. 


I'll post separately about "strategic selfie" campaigns, as this is getting long... But in general, consider a photography campaign in your network. It's a low-investment, high-engagement tactic that can easily reflect business values and engage senior leaders.


Have you run a campaign? Share your own experience!



13 Replies

This is a great idea! We will have to look into this for our company. 

If you're going to ask people for selfies, offer them tips on how to get good shots. Here's our guide as a sample to get started. We posted ours as a Yammer note, hyperlinked in our communications. (Remember that everything in Yammer has a unique URL.)


If you improve on the guide, please post your version back here for others! Cheers!

That's a great guide! We want people to feel comfortable, not anxious, and sometimes even just knowing that you can take 1,000 pictures to find your angles, and no one has to know but you, goes a long way.

Another nice idea for larger companies with multiple sites would be to have a travelling mascot of some sort that can be taken from location to location and photograhed.

For example, my son has a stuffed toy (a penguin called Bert).

Each time he goes on a trip, he takes photos of Travelling Bert along with a description of why the locations are special.

Used in the work arena, if Travelling Bert went from country to country with visitors, it could be used to spread a message of the great work that is going on.

It can even be taking a step further, plotting a digital map of Travelling Bert's travels, along with links to the respective yammer posts/photos.

And don't forget the hashtag - Fly like the wind, #TravellingBert !

@Rhian Howell maybe this is something you might want to consider for our Yammer network?
We have a fantastic photography group - we trawl it to get content for our social channels (with users permission of course) and we've recently instigated profiling an image from the group in our mobile Corp news app

We got a lot of net-new usage in Yammer (lots of first time users) using a photo contest.  It was aligned with an employee engagement program so it reinforced that program to have people share photos.

Terrific post Melanie. I think it could go really well for us:


-Government agency

-18,000 staff dispersed nation-wide

-Currently using freemium version and not supposed to post photos (IT Security decree)

-Moving to Enterprise version in November and will be able to post photos (YAY!!!!!)


I can see it linking to/supporting news that photos will be allowed in enterprise version.

Love this idea! Can you share your strategic one pager or the selfie promotion you mentioned?

I second the request from @James LaCorte.


With thanks!

A belated thanks for the selfie guide Melanie.


Since reading it I realise how mine to date have been very so so. Man Embarassed

Hi, James and Brett! Did you mean this one? I swear, I really can write one-pagers that are one-pagers; this one's also a recap, and offers lift-and-edit messaging if you like.


(I can't tell if my attachments are really attaching here. Giving it a try.)

Hi Melanie,


The attachment certainly worked and contains a wealth of great info.


Thanks for pulling it up, and what a great philanthropic encouragement from your company!


We'll have to be a bit creative with our lure/s. :)