Salesforce’s Chatter optimizes the concept of a Social Enterprise. Chatter will make your business social by connecting employees and providing the ability to easily disseminate information about sales opportunities, customers, and other aspects of your business.
Chatter provides feeds, mentions, direct messages, Likes, and so much more. Chatter provides access through the Salesforce UI, your desktop with Chatter Desktop, and on your mobile phone with Chatter Mobile.
Oddly enough, despite all of its features, sometimes Chatter has a difficult time getting adopted through new organizations. Many of those problems can be resolved through some education, champions of the platform, and some initial investment by the Administrator team. Before we get started, here is a short video by Salesforce detailing out Chatter.
#1. Take Pictures
I wholeheartedly agree with Mike Gerholdt’s idea of taking pictures for your Chatter profile, one way or another, is a vital part of getting the user base involved in Chatter. Every post and every message has your picture next to it. This is the biggest thing you can do to give your user base a personalized feel of their Chatter profile.
#2. Find your Chatter champions
Before you launch Chatter, find the key employees who will get everyone else involved. Salesforce typically identifies these users as “champions”. These users will be key to promoting the tool as they will be your main way of showing the value of using Chatter. It will also give you a strong base set of users to grow on. Building a strong social network isn’t easy without a base set of users. This solves that problem.
#3. Communicate and Educate
When you are ready to release, you have to be sure to actually get the message out to all of your users. Email is important, but sometimes it isn’t enough. Make posters, send instant messages, ask your champions to spread the news word of mouth. However, simply announcing Chatter isn’t good enough. It is vital to educate your user base as well.
Release documentation on how your company can utilize:
- Sharing Links
- Sharing Files
- Direct Messages
- Email Digest
This is an incredibly important part of your launch. You must inform your users on how they can use Chatter.
#4. Move Beyond The Browser
Introduce your team to the concepts of Chatter Desktop and Chatter Mobile. This step will allow your users to take their social interactions to their desktop and more importantly their mobile devices where they are used to operating in a social environment (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
#5. Go to the AppExchange
The AppExchange is a Salesforce’s application market that makes it easy to customize your Salesforce organization. Chatter has a plethora of applications in the AppExchange that an administrator can use to make the Chatter experience even better. Some applications to consider:
- Chatter Usage Dashboards
- The Chatter Adoption Dashboard includes 20 dashboard components and reports for a broad view into your org’s usage of Chatter. Extend it with your own new reports by using the 7 included Chatter custom report types!
- Eliminate ‘noise’, manage Chatter limits and follow important conversations by automatically following and un-following records, users or groups. Works with all Chatter environments: browser, Chatter Desktop, Mobile or Customer Communities.
- Great article by Matt Lacey detailing out more functionality
- 30 day free trial available as of Sept. 28, 2013
- Chatter Blacklist
- Chatter Blacklist provides the ability to create a ‘blacklist’ of words, phrases, or custom expressions (eg: SSN) which are prohibited on Chatter posts & comments. Words may prevent a post, be substituted, and even recorded for audit purposes.
- Chatter Unfollow Rules
- Avoid the 500 following limit! Set up automated rules that determine when users should stop following records. Each night, Rules remove everyone following the records that meet your criteria.
Note: It is important to research each application yourself. For full disclosure, I have not personally used these applications.
Finally, it is crucial to continue expanding your Chatter usage. You may never get to 100% usage, but the only way to get more users involved is to continue to expand the use of Chatter. Thankfully, Salesforce recently launched Publisher Actions.
The publisher actions feature lets you create actions and add them to the Chatter publisher on the home page, the Chatter tab, and record detail pages. It also allows you to customize the order in which the standard Chatter actions appear, including Post, File, Link, and Poll. Actions let users do more in Chatter, like create records directly in the feed.
This feature will allow administrators and developers to continue to expand the usage of Chatter throughout an organization making it easier to perform a slew of different actions.