Imagine if you could have a private social network that combined the best features of Twitter and Facebook to use as a communication tool at your business.
This tool, called Yammer, does exist and according to their site, is being used by over 100,000 companies and organizations, including over 80 percent of the Fortune 500 to keep their staff connected and collaborating.
Like most tools of its kind, Yammer offers a free and pay version. The free version offers enough options to keep most mid-small businesses hopping. Some of the useful features of the free version of Yammer include:
- Company-Wide Messaging: The days of sending annoying company-wide emails are over. You can send important announcements to your entire staff easily and in a less intrusive way. Users can also send their own announcements or comment on others’.
- Direct Messaging: Individual users are able to send other users DMs in a stream-like format just like AOL Instant Messenger or Facebook Chat.
- Group Messaging: You can also set up your company in groups and send messages only to those groups if you so choose.
- Article Sharing: You may also connect your Yammer network with your Google Reader and send interesting articles to your company feed. This is one of my favorite features, as I love to share new articles and read/comment on others’.
- Apps: Yammer’s API is open and they encourage development, so there will undoubtedly be a number of solid apps in the future for users in addition to the few that they already offer.
Yammer keeps your network private to just users that – with an email address that includes your company’s domain. Multiple domains are possible in the paid version. You also have a great deal more administrative capabilities with the paid version.
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You can keep tabs on your Yammer network from a few different platforms. Of course, you can access your network via the web interface. They also offer a desktop application, Firefox and Chrome extensions and mobile apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry. They make it very easy to stay connected wherever you go.
Why am I such an advocate of Yammer? Simple. It makes company-wide communication easy.
As companies grow, one of the biggest challenges they face is making sure the proper people know what they need to know. When everyone is moving 1000 miles a minute, it is very difficult to stop on communicate everything you should. Yammer facilitates this process. The features highlighted also make it a great professional development tool as it allows you to share and comment on trends and timely articles, which is so important in these ever-changing times.
Check out Yammer and let me know what you think!