What's your one Community Management & Adoption tip for someone starting out?


What one tip have you learned in your experience of Community Management & Adoption that you wish you had known when you started? What advice do you always give to others starting out in community management and adoption of Yammer


(To get the exercise started of building some community management content in this forum.)

19 Replies
It's ok to be unsure before posting. Not knowing this kept me quiet for a very long time. If you think you might have something worth contributing to a paused conversation, go ahead and offer your thoughts and questions. There's a good chance you're not the only person who thought it, even if you're the first person to write it.

Just one? Wow. OK...Remember to start with WHY. Purpose matters in community management. Building a community takes time, people and work to develop so you need to be patient, understanding and dedicated to success. You have to be willing to engage with people as humans, accept that they aren't going to want to change unless you explain to them WHY it matters, not just HOW to do it. 

Help users to understand the community matures over time as their use matures.  They start connecting people in the organisation and into groups is a key first step to a healthy community.  Then work with them to encourage all users to share their work while it is happening. Working Out Loud is a great way to create value through sharing.  Exotic and new ways of working like crowdsourcing, innovation jams and other activities are built on the connection, trust and responsiveness that is developed through the basics of connection and sharing. It goes Connect>Share>Solve>Innovate.

It's not about you. Get other people to contribute things you think would be helpful and avoid building a hub and spoke model. Communities and content marketing platforms are two different things.

What I Wish I Had Known: That your community is going to shape itself beyond your initial scope, and that's okay!


For example, one of my external networks for customers is being used almost entirely for Q&A--and that's great, because it's helping out everybody in it, and helping out us back at HQ learn more about what our customers really need from us.


Just Starting Out Piece of Advice: Watch for those early adopters, the people (or person!) who fills out their entire profile, posts things, starts a group, etc. Those are the people you will groom to be community managers to help you out. Try to get those helpful people from different departments around your company, so they can help diversify and spread the good word among their peers.

While I have read to the contrary, something (in Yammer) I now do is follow everyone who starts to follow me.


Some advice I have read says only follow those who are influential, eg: manager, senior manager.


I suggest that following those who reach out to you gives a strong message of encouragement, especially important in a growing network.

Very important piece of advice! It reinforces how everyone in a company is important.
Go back to the future!

The ESN has alerted you and many others that someone is seeking help.
For one of any number of reasons you decide in this case to phone them rather than reply by posting.

By the end of that interaction you have gained an ally, they are further convinced of the benefits of the ESN and may even mention you in subsequent post to ESN.

A small detour from the online conversation can really add value for individuals and the network.

I wish I'd have realised at the time of starting that people will have very different reasons for getting involved (or not getting involved). For example, I may envision Yammer being used in one particular way such as to connect people in a dispersed project team, but this doesn't work for teams that aren't dispersed. They will need a different reason to join. They may already have their reason, or they may need help finding that reason, in which case you, as a community manager, will need to think outside of your own needs and vision to consider other options that will get people on board.

Read every other excellent response to this thread, and realize the meta:


When starting out... don't do it alone. You're not the first nor the only one to face this challenge. There's no reason to start with a blank piece of paper, unless that's your killer brainstorming technique.


Find your power users and your group owners. Connect with your fellow network and community managers. Work out loud in all directions. You never know everyone who can help or needs help, period. Trust the network you're building to start delivering benefits for you and others. 


Make a habit of sharing it all. Every challenge that needs ideas, every milestone you pass (and oh my, be creative on this), every am-I-an-idiot question and all the explain-it-like-I'm-five confusion and yes yes, the difficult days and setbacks.


It's the smart thing to do, the right thing, and a hard thing.


Transparency doesn't come easy, no joke. I still suck at it and I just keep trying.


But I'm OK with that, and why? Because I'm not the only one.

Chloe, your post took me back to the numerous promoting or explaining conversations I have had about Yammer, SharePoint discussion boards, etc.


I've talked about connecting the dispersed, breaking down silos, but not as much what the tools could bring for those we share physical space with.


I have certainly tried and continue to encourage neighbours to get on board, and will now inject the nearby into the higher level benefits conversations.

To pick up on @Deleted's meta theme and to add a plug, I have found working out loud a really important way to learn and grow my practice. Sharing my work on community management and adoption with peers is a really big help and a way to learn from their practice.  Now for the plug, International Working Out Loud week is coming from 7-13 November (and if you missed that there will be another next June too).  #wolweek is a great time to start that practice of sharing your work in community management and adoption and to learn from so many great experts around the world.

Further to my "I will" statements above today I chased down (in the hallway) our Site Leader (exec role) to tell him about #wolweek and pitch a few ideas around it.


One of those was the fairly obvious get all of the senior staff in our site registered in Yammer (if not already) and to post about their current work.


For people in this thread......


What #wol ideas have you run or are thinking of running? :)

Thanks Simon, we're fortunate to have one of the #wolweek founders in our midst and living the methodology by virtue of your readiness to share!

No fair. Only one tip? I guess my one adoption tip would be "Have patience". It seems simple, but a steady and thoughtful change management approach can lead to huge payoffs in the long run. (ie. A simple idea shared on Yammer leads to a new product or service. A leader sees a conversation about a certain process and quickly implements an improvement.) Embracing and showcasing the realization of a single benefit can do wonders for your network. But, don't expect all/most of Yammer's benefits to manifest right away just because you have finally launched to the entire org.

Listen. Intentionally and genuinely listen. Then celebrate! Celebrate connection and value creation.

Simon, when is the next #wolweek?


The formal answer is June 2017. However, you can have a wolweek anytime. Just gather enough people and you can have a wolweek in your team, your business or your networks.  The WOLWeek site has some tips: https://wolweek.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/start-your-own-working-out-loud-week/