How to get your head around using Yammer


I came across Yammer a few years back and the first time I used it was for the SharePoint community’s Yammer site, SPYam set up by Joel Oleson. I had read about it making inroads into corporate business and its inevitable description as ‘Facebook for business’.

What is Yammer?

I’ll let them describe it: “Yammer is a Private Social Network that brings together people, conversations, content, and business data in a single location. With Yammer, you can easily stay connected to co-workers and information, collaborate with team members and make an impact at work. And because Yammer can be easily accessed through a web browser or mobile device, you can connect and collaborate with co-workers anytime, anywhere.”


I used a phrase recently with a client. It was like ‘thinking out loud’.

But you can control the platform. It is for your own employees or you can set it for partners, suppliers or customers. But it can be hard for people to get their head around how to use it in business.


Yammer has two main parts to it. An internal network for people who have the same email address or domain, that is your company. The second part is external networks for people inside and outside of your company that you can invite in to use your network.

Yammer internal


Yammer external networks and groups

So Yammer is a network that you set up and decide who gets into it. But what can it be used for?

Here is a quote from Julia White, General Manager of the Microsoft Office Division. She was asked how to integrate Yammer successfully into an employee's typical and daily work life. “We find the most natural way employees are using Yammer in day-to-day work is communicating all team-level information there by default. Most people continue to use email for 1:1 and 1:few communications, but for broader communications and discussions Yammer is super effective to both better disseminate information and enable faster decision making by connecting dots across the team quickly. In essence, the moment you have a fluid group of people trying to coordinate their work, Yammer's a great option. There is also integration between Yammer and email, such that a hard-and-fast email user can keep up on Yammer discussions via email notifications.”

Here are some examples where you could use Yammer (there are many more)


  • Building an intranet for employees and supporting internal communications. Ideal for SME's and with people on the road or scattered away from a central office
  • Extranet for customers, partners, resellers, suppliers, distributors. A great way to work closely with these important groups on a secure network. You can have multiple gorups for different uses.
  • Line manager communications. Use Yammer to manage and control internal communications with managers.
  • HR portals, onboarding/induction. Again Yammer can be used for HR in introducing new people to an organisation, for providing HR and employee information. It allows for two way communications and a great way of getting people involved in the HR process.
  • Sales force communications. Another great way of using Yammer to keep the hard working sales teams in the loop as they are away from the office a lot of the time. Feedback on competitors, leads, the market, products and services can all be dealt with..
  • Helpdesk/Customer support. Queries, issues and questions come into helpdesks all the time and they might not have the answers. Setting up a dedicated group in Yammer would allow helpdesk people to ask questions internally and get responses instead of trying to find someone for an answer. There is always someone somewhere who should have a solution..

Is Yammer the ‘Next Big Thing’?

Nope. It is not a magic solution for every organisation. It can work for you but it has to be managed, promoted and looked after. Like any platform in an organisation. Have a look at The Yammer Page as a starting place for learning more about Yammer.


And you can download the free Yammer Starter Kit from here.

Go on, tell your world...thanks.