Yammer for the Power User–Q&A

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Last week while on the road in Washington DC, I gave a webinar for the European SharePoint Conference community on tips and tricks for the Yammer power user (click here to watch it on demand) as part of their Training Week, and I thought it would be useful to outline some of what I covered, and cbuck certified2answer some of the outstanding questions that came from the audience. Aside from using Yammer for the past couple years, and working with and building similar technologies since the late 1990’s, I’m also a certified Yammer power user and admin – and most of these items will help you with your own certification, if that’s of interest.

While I talked through a few items, the bulk of the time was spent giving demos of critical functionality:

  1. Clean up email-based replies using a double-dash
  2. Track important conversations using Bookmarks
  3. Coordinate activities using Notes
  4. Pull people into conversation 3 different ways
  5. Redirect conversations using Share
  6. Enable shortcuts key using Shift /
  7. Recognize someone
  8. Create Polls
  9. Use the YamJam model
  10. Create external networks to collaborate with partners and customers
  11. Create a usage policy
  12. Never leave a post/conversation unanswered
  13. Share best practices with your team
  14. Review App metrics on usage
  15. Use the Announcements
  16. Use document editing
  17. Utilize Private Groups
  18. Clean up content and comments
  19. Remove yourself from conversations
  20. Add relevant content and links to your front page

There were a few questions about permissions, and also around SharePoint integration, but as we ran out of time at the top of the hour, there were a few unanswered questions that I’ll answer here:

Q: Can you give some suggestions on how to practically do a records management activity on Yammer, could you give any real life example on how organizations do this, as even Yammer needs to come under purview of Records Management in any organization?

A: The RM functionality in Yammer is fairly rudimentary, as it is more of an ad hoc collaboration platform rather than a content management system. While an administrator has the ability to manually backup all conversations and content, there is no real way to classify, store, secure, and track these records in an automated fashion. One best practice is to keep SharePoint as your system of record, sharing links rather than documents in Yammer. 

Q: When you uploaded the document the way you have done in Yammer, does it go and sit within SharePoint?

A: Not the way I showed, but with the Yammer integrations to Office365, you can push content from SharePoint Online into Yammer and start a conversation. In that case, the edits you make to the Yammer document are reflected in the SharePoint Online artifacts. It’s not as clean as with the native Yammer editing capability, but at least it’s a more closely aligned solution. The Office blog provides an example.

Q: Does MS have some sort of open account on Yammer where you can network with partners etc? You mentioned YCN, what was that?

A: There are a few open Yammer networks where you can learn more about Yammer, SharePoint, and other Microsoft technologies. Just follow the link, request access, and you should be added fairly quickly. I recommend joining these:

Q: Do you know by when Microsoft foresees full Yammer – O365 integration?

A: I do not. Hopefully we’ll learn more from the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas next week. I’ll be attending the social roadmap session Monday afternoon, and will most definitely be blogging about whatever news I hear.

Q: Christian, is it possible to get a guide/help to implement the yammer tips?

A: I’m working on an ebook as we speak! Hope to have it live in late March. I’m also working with Ruven Gotz and Michelle Caldwell on a Yammer book through APress which we hope to have out late spring / early summer.

Q: Is there a way to edit a post on Yammer like on Facebook? If not, will it be possible in the future?

A: No, and it’s a common complaint within the community. Your only recourse is to delete the comment and re-submit. And remember, there are three levels of control over who can delete: the user can delete their own messages, the group admin can delete messages in their group, and the admin can delete any conversation.

If you have additional questions I can answer, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at cbuck@metalogix.com, where I’ll do my best to get back to you quickly. Of course, you can also check out my three previous blog posts on the items listed above:

And for those who are struggling
to make the case for using Yammer within your organization because of management concerns around the platform, I also write this article for the ESPC community that you may find helpful: Answering Your CIO’s concerns About Yammer

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.