With an active and engaged Yammer network the key communicators in your organisation will likely be crafting regular communications and information to share as posts and announcements. You’ll also likely be doing training and troubleshooting to support your Yammer users.
A great way to avoid leaving things to chance without spamming your entire network is to maintain one or more 'Test' groups.
1 / Check how your post will display
How a post is displayed within Yammer, within emails and within mobile can affect how a message is received by the audience. For example:
Title: does it become cut off
Intro text: are the key messages delivered before the 'expand' button appears
Images: do they display in the desired order and orientation
Links: are link previews displaying as expected
Video: are video previews displaying as expected
Formatting: are list items, links and other formatting displaying as expected
All of these factors can be important if you or your team are crafting posts as part of communication plan. Privacy is also an advantage, you can test your post without spoiling a sensitive or confidential company announcement.
NEXTDC Yammer Test Group - Link Preview
2/ Get feedback from peers
Sharing the post in the test group is a great way to get feedback from your peers without clogging up email. Yammer is a collaborative tool after all. It also has the advantage of showing exactly how it will look when it is shared in the main network.
In our network we maintain a Test group for a few of us who use Yammer frequently or are responsible for a lot of corporate communication. People from our Digital team, Marketing and People & Culture all use the group to test run important communications and get feedback from each other for improvements.
Depending on how you collaborate with stakeholders, and the size of your organisation you may want to consider sharing one or ore test groups with HR, IT, Communications, Managers… it comes down to your needs. This is a great opportunity to encourage Yammer adoption among key people in your company.
NEXTDC Yammer Test Group - Communication draft
3/ Play with new features
With great new Yammer features dropping frequently I like to be able to try it out before I let everyone else know. With the Test group being isolated from most of the organisation I can:
Try out the feature
Take screenshots or video
Draft your post to tell everyone about it
Rather than letting people know about a new feature with just some text and a link, you can create screenshots, gifs and videos in your own Yammer environment using your own content. This makes it more relatable and engaging.
When training or troubleshooting in Yammer, the best way is to show functions in a live environment (rather than screenshots). You probably also don’t want to be demonstrating features in your public Yammer groups as it could be disruptive, confusing and spammy for your network.
Consider the following scenarios:
Demonstrating Yammer features live in your test group
Adding training participants to a test group so they can get comfortable in a safe environment
Troubleshooting a problem your team is having
Tip: You don’t necessarily have to add people to your group for them to be engaged in it. @mentioning someone in a post will allow them to see that post, without adding them to the group.
Hall and Willcox Yammer Development Group
Setting up your group
Now that you are sold on why a test group is a great idea, here are some things to consider when setting yours up. There’s no right answer, and no pressure (it’s just a test group) but why not get the most out of it where you can.
Naming: Test, training, sandpit, development, playground… consider the name that best suits your purpose
Members: You, IT, HR, Communications, Trainees… you may adjust your audience depending on how you collaborate and what you are using the group for.
Private and/or hidden: Keeping your group private reduces the spam for everyone else. Having it hidden reduces unwanted access requests, but you may not like to encourage people to create hidden groups.
Purpose: You could manage one test group, or have multiple for different purposes or audiences. For example you may want a main test group, another group for training, and a secondary external test group.
Shout out to my fellow Yammer bloggers who, as always, have worked collaboratively to make this post happen. In particular to @Matthew Dodd, @Jason Soo, @Deleted, high-five for sharing screenshots and extra tips.
Hi I'm @Rebecca Jackson, a digital and visual communicator specialising in the digital workplace. I've been working with intranets, online communities and the digital workplace since 2009. I first began using Yammer around 2010 and have been a member and community manager of many Yammer networks since then. I work for NEXTDC as Digital Workplace Coordinator where I am the product owner of multiple Office 365 tools including Yammer and our Intranet (on SharePoint online). I enjoy learning and sharing by blogging, sketching, speaking and participating in industry events. It's an exciting opportunity to be a contributor to the Yammer blog and work collaboratively with other Yammer practitioners.