I’m often asked about the differences between the Lightning Tools Social Squared product and Yammer. Although when you read a list of features, they appear to offer very similar functionality, there are however different enough that you would use them both for entirely different reasons. Take for example comparing Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. In either application you can type, format text, insert charts and tables… However, you wouldn’t use Microsoft Excel to type a letter, or Microsoft Word to report financial data. Another more direct comparison could be Facebook and Twitter. It really is comparing Apples and Pears.
With Yammer, you can create Groups, post stuff which can include attachments, reply to posts, follow other users, like posts and so on. With Social Squared you can do all of those things as well. Yammer has additional features to Social Squared and Social Squared has additional features to Yammer. The difference is really in the layout and navigation that separates Social Squared and Yammer. In fact, all forum products and Yammer.
I would also like to make clear that I am a great fan of Yammer and use it internally within Lightning Tools alongside Social Squared.
Yammer is very time centric. A user creates a post, and that post will usually have the lifetime of a day or two. You could if you wanted to keep scrolling or use the search facility, but you are likely to read a lot of other content on the way to finding what you are looking for. If you know what you are looking for that is! It is very similar to that of your Facebook newsfeed. You can scroll down through a number of posts that were created that day or within the last few days. You often have to read a lot of irrelevant content before getting to something you might want to read.
With Social Squared, you usually know exactly what you are looking for and can navigate to the correct Forum in order to see if someone in the organization has answered a question that may be of relevance to other users as well. In Social Squared, content is not organized based upon time, but organized based on the type of post. Let’s forget Social Squared for a moment. Let’s assume that you have experienced a technical problem with your car, laptop or phone. Many of us would turn to our favourite search engine and see if other people have experience the same issue. The answer you are looking for is very likely to turn up in a forum somewhere. How can you trust that the answer is correct? Well usually there are a bunch of other people commenting and confirming the answer was correct, and the reply may also have been marked as answered or the best answer.
Take for example the below BMW car forum. I can navigate straight to the post I am looking for and it doesn’t matter when that post was created:
Social Squared provides exactly the same. You can create forum groups that are relevant to your organization. Perhaps create some fun forum groups to attract users to SharePoint but to also keep content about your employees cats and dogs away from the main business related content. Users can then navigate to the type of content that they wish to read. If someone posts about their cat in the business topics forum group, i’m sure the Social Squared Forum Group Moderator will pick up on it, and move it to the more relevant forum.