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Chatter Best Practices: Keys To Writing a Chattetiquette Guide


Some of our clients have expressed concerns in implementing Chatter—not with the technology per se, but rather the processes and communication change it creates.  Some concerns are legitimate, some are just a result of change. Clients were concerned that implementing Chatter would create noise, unprofessional comments, and more. I am sure that when email first appeared, similar concerns were voiced.

When Twitter appeared and companies started allowing employees to Tweet on their behalf, there was a major outcry of concern. How were those fears assuaged and issues dealt with? By education and by setting policies, my friends.

As I recommended in my blog “Chatter top 10 best practices,” all companies should have a Chatter etiquette (aka Chattiquette) guide. It is of key importance to set guidelines (or ground rules) for employees when implementing Chatter so employees understand what kind of content the company would like to see, and so they feel encouraged to provide that content. You want your employees to be excited about using this as a collaboration tool, as a way to get answers to tough questions and to share pertinent industry news, tips and tricks, and any other information that would benefit your employees.

So what kind information should your Chattiquette guide contain?

  1. How To set up your profileAs a best practice, encourage users to fill out their profiles completely and to upload a photo of themselves to Chatter. Define what an appropriate photo is at your company: do you want a professional head shot of your employee or can someone post a cartoon representation of themselves, or a photo of themselves with their child or family?
  1. Give examples of what to postContent examples should include what you would like to see and what you would like not to see based upon the role of the user. Examples for your sales team and your support team will be very different. I like to include examples that demonstrate the following areas that Chatter really excels at: crowd-sourcing knowledge, sharing files/industry news, and collaborating on records in Salesforce.
  1. Give examples of what not to postIdentify the kind of behavior that your company does not want to see.  This will vary from company to company based upon your corporate culture, industry, and other factors.  Remind your employees that everything they post will be visible to everyone else in the company, including their boss and company management.   the CEO, etc. In old technology terms, don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t want forwarded to others or that could cast you in an unfavorable light. . In Chatter terms, don’t chat anything that you don’t want your boss or others to see.
  1. Provide posting best practices:
    1.  Your employees who are accustomed to posting on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn realize that shorter is better.  The same thing applies to Chatter. Stay short, sweet, and to the point.
    2. If you want to get a specific individual’s attention, remember to use the @Name to get their attention. This helps ensure they are notified.

Finally, post your Chatter etiquette guide to Chatter so people can reference it in the future if they ever have a question about what is and is not acceptable to post.

Thoughts on “Chatter Best Practices: Keys To Writing a Chattetiquette Guide”

  1. I’d also recommend that as Chatter becomes more of a primary communication channel over time (replacing email), that individuals update their profiles to state that they are on PTO or out of the office.

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