August 07, 2012, 8:53 PM — Social media professionals have no doubt heard about Yammer, the corporate-friendly social media darling that Microsoft snapped up in June for a cool $1.2 billion in cash. But do you really know what Yammer does, or more importantly, what Yammer promises it can do for your business?
The phrase "Facebook for business" was tossed around when the company was acquired; but in reality, Yammer does much more than Mark Zuckerberg's baby. Here's an overview of what everyone is Yammer-ing about.
A Social Network for Your Business
Yammer is essentially a social network that's entirely focused on your business. In order to join your business's Yammer network, an applicant must have a working email address from your company's domain. You can also create external networks to allow non-employees, such as suppliers and customers, to communicate with your company.
Like Facebook, Yammer's primary screen--the Ticker--consists of a news feed, complete with Likes and icons indicating private messages and notifications appear in the upper left-hand corner. You can also create groups, which is helpful for segregating talk that's relevant only to specific internal teams. If a group conversation takes a turn that requires assistance from other employees, you can share it with a specific person via instant message or with another group entirely. Sharing a post with specific groups is a breeze thanks to handy-dandy drop-down menus below the Update box (which is similar to Facebook's Status box).
The overuse of hashtags on Twitter can make your eyes bleed, but they're very useful on Yammer. Yammer's robust search function digs up hashtagged posts lickity-split, so be sure to slap a #2013projections or #KeyCorporateAccount hashtag on the end of your posts for future search posterity. @mentions are also supported.
The People Directory automatically creates a searchable database of every person enrolled in your Yammer, making it especially easy to find contact information for the people in your company. Even better, profiles have Skills listings that are also searchable in the People Directory. You'll never have to scramble to find the right person for the job again.