How to setup Yammer to connect members of small groups

How to setup Yammer to connect members of small groups

Are you leading or part of a small group, team or  organization that could benefit from sharing updates, files, links, events and the like on a private network? If you’re intrigued, but are not interested in hassling with layered, expensive or complicated apps or sites, there is a simple solution. The cure for what ails you is yammer.

Yammer is a business oriented private social network. It’s a freemium app, which means it’s free for basic usage and a little extra for the full feature set. Once you have your group, team or organization connected, you can privately share share and collaborate with one simple app. It couldn’t be much easier to setup, use and stay connected since you can access it via the web, your desktop or a mobile app.

Setting up the missing piece:

  1. Yammer groups are based on domain names (the stuff after @ in your email address). You need a private domain to signup, which means @gmail or @yahoo will not work. If I’m telling you stuff you know, skip to step 3. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
  2. If your group, team or organization does not have a domain or you need a specific one just for yammer, signup for one at a domain registrar like namecheap, which includes email addresses for less than $10/yr. Once you register the domain, setup email forwarding aliases for each person you intend to invite to yammer. Set the forwarding address for each alias to an email address the corresponding person prefers to receive email at whether at work or home. (E.g. if you registered justforyammer.com and setup bob as an alias, his forwarding address might be bobloveskittens@gmail.com)
  3. With your existing or new domain in tow, signup for yammer.
  4. Invite other group, team or organization members to join. When you’re signed in, the invite link is on the right-hand side of the page.
  5. Click on the apps link at the bottom of the site to add events and polls to your network. There you will also find links to the windows or mac desktop apps as well as the mobile apps for iphone, blackberry, android and windows mobile.
  6. If desired, you can create groups for subsets of users or communities for collaboration with individuals outside the group, team or organization.

You now have a private social network. If you need more administration features, custom branding or better support, the paid version is only $5/user/month. Enjoy.

Note: As an alternative to yammer, you can also take advantage of Salesforce’s new free version of chatter. Setup and functionality are very similar.

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  • Eric Lin

    great post. When you invite others for which you created aliases, I take it the email goes to the alias, then forwards to the email (gmail) address of preference? From that users point of view, do they need to do anything different to sign up on participate on the yammer site? I’d be concerned if they have to remember their domain identity and use that to contstantly login or post or something like that. If for all intents and purposes, they are using their gmail address, then it stands a chance for adoptions. Thoughts?

    • Good question Eric. The only thing users would need to remember, assuming you setup the new domain addresses to forward to personal email addresses, is their logon credentials for yammer. The limitation with this configuration though is that you cannot send or reply to yammer messages through email. If everyone is happy to use the site or mobile app, this isn’t a problem, but is something users need to be aware of.

    • Eric Lin

      Thanks for the quick response! if you are using this for, say , collaborating on a parent association organization with parents that don’t want to jump through a lot of hoops, can you get around this by (1) creating a domain, adding yourself as one peson, the (2) inviting them using their home email addresses through an external network you create?

    • Since email addresses are accounts on yammer, I think this approach wouldn’t work. If you create the domain, create email aliases for all the users you want to add and setup forwarding (namecheap is a great registrar that allows this with ease). When you invite all those users in yammer, recipients will receive their invitation at the forwarding address you setup. The only prep they need is a message from you saying that a yammer invite will be coming, it will show a new email address which is for yammer logon purposes and to be aware of the inability to send/reply to yammer email messages.

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