We often ask our senior leaders to “post more” on Yammer without demonstrating what a good post looks like and why. For writers it can be quite daunting to face the blinking insertion point within the blank Update box with little to no inspiration to draw upon (and this can be additionally challenging for networks which are still growing).
Leaders know they should engage with employees, especially via digital and social channels. But they don’t, and they offer a string of common excuses such as “I don’t have enough time” or “Nobody cares what I had for lunch.” More than anything else, they fear that engaging will close the power distance between them and their employees, thereby lessening their ability to command and control.
So what does an engaging post on Yammer look like?
1. Ask for Engagement
Call to action. A successful Yammer post has a clear call to action. It asks people to follow through in a specific way using words such as, “share your ideas” or “tell us what you think.”
Will has asked for suggestions prompting others to reply
Ask questions and tell stories to encouraging commenting and interaction with your post.
Ask for personal experiences, or opinions on specific situations. The primary goal of engagement is to build a community and create an interactive outlet of trust and sharing.
This personal story from our managing partner sparked an outpouring of appreciation and stories about mothers
Fill in the blank statement. Post a statement asking for a specific response such as “The one thing I can’t live without at work is….”
Yammer Poll. Post a question or photo asking people which option they agree with.
Include a Photo and/or a Link. Images grab attention and have a long shelf-life and high visibility. Photos are typically superior to text-only posts in generating interaction and the perfect image size is 800x600. If you are using multiple links to online articles using Chrome can ensure the preview renders properly.
This family feast photo reply received 40 likes by itself. Yum! Photo caption. Posting a photo and asking for a funny or relevant caption is a great way to get engagement. #captionthis
2. Write more and do it yourself
While it takes more thought and time to craft a longer post, less is not always more with enterprise social networks. According to Swoop Analytics’ analysis of 120,000 posts from several large organizations that use an ESN like Yammer, a post with more than 500 characters is ideal for the “Likes Sweet Spot” as well as the “Reply Sweet Spot”.
Leaders need to be authentic and learn to engage others and be engaging by themselves. Ghost writing (having others create the content and post using their account) should be avoided because people can easily tell when a post doesn’t use their own voice.
And engage in other conversations. You don't only want to be a one way broadcaster. You should also be commenting and replying to others to keep conversations going.
Practice makes perfect
While no one might care what you had for lunch they might be much more interested in hearing what you discussed over lunch. You could share the highlights of an interesting conversation with a client or a news article that reinforces a strategic decision. The more you practice sharing stories, pictures and asking questions over Yammer the easier (and less daunting) it will become over time.
3. Timing is Everything
Make sure you are sharing content when people are actually online. You can find the exact time frame through the Microsoft 365 admin center under Reports.
At Hall & Wilcox, Fridays have the highest level of activity due to our weekly updates but posting at 6pm wouldn’t get as many views as posting at 9am.
Do you have any tips for how to create an engaging post? Post them in the comments below!
@Jason Soo is a Technology Trainer at Hall & Wilcox an independent business law firm. Jason connects people with technology and has taken a leading role engaging their people on Yammer for better performance and collaboration. Jason specialises in E-Learning, Office 365, Enterprise Social Networks and eDiscovery.