Everyone can create a group on Yammer and you can also add all your colleagues as members. The thing is though, you don’t want to randomly add colleagues when it’s just a community around a “theme”. That would be similar to adding them to some mailing list, the only difference is that they know you did it. So it’s not a bad idea to look for other options.
1. Add your group as a suggested group to an existing one
You can do this on a group page. Your group will be shown as a suggested group on the page of the group you linked it to and the one for your group. This is a great way to reach new colleagues and increase the amount of members.
You should be aware that adding your group as a related group will trigger a notification for everyone within that group and it also mentions your name. Linking it to a group with 3000 members means you are creating 3000 notifications.
Everyone in Yammer can remove your group as a related group, so make sure that there is a relevant connection between the two groups or they will remove it from the list.
2. Promote your group online & offline
Yes, you need marketing to get things going. Talk about your group at work. When people react positively, tell them you can add them if they want or simply ask them to join. Look for opportunities to talk about it in front of a group of colleagues. You can add a slide in your presentation or just mention it, as long they get what you’re trying to achieve and they feel that you need them to achieve a shared goal.
3. Go for perfection
Add some content to your Yammer group to trigger conversations. Questions or polls will give you more activity. Add a description to the group (click on info) and let them know why you created it.
Yammer communities which have grown organically are about sharing Interesting links, documents, video’s etc. You can probably think of at least 10 interesting links you would like to share with the community. Don’t just hold on to them , create a Yammer note and add them. You can also upload files directly to the group without creating a post and then create links to the files within a Yammer note.
4. Find key community members
These are the people you feel comfortable sharing your admin privileges with. More about this in point 5. Your key community members are the people talking about your group or adding colleagues as members. Share the success and ask them to manage the community together with you. My advise would be to send a private message via Yammer and ask if they’re interested. Don’t forget to mention that you appreciate how they engage the other members and discuss the goal of the group and the amount of announcement you want to create.
5. Post announcements
These are the posts only admin’s of a group can create. The announcement will end up in members’ inbox and is shown prominently onuntil they clicks on it. Chances are that your colleagues have e-mail notifications on “changes in inbox”, so you’re triggering an e-mail with a direct link to your announcement. Announcements are a great way to get the attention of members, but too many of them will result in colleagues leaving the group.
Take notice of the likes, but don’t overreact. Some announcements are not very “like-friendly”, such as a message covering an outage of a service. Try to push conversations forward. Don’t wait hours or days, engage as soon as you see the messages coming in. You can enable email alerts for the messages just to make sure you don’t miss anything. The faster you respond, the bigger the chance it becomes a chat (i.e. long conversation).