Using Chatter Like a Pro: Working It Into Your Workflow

The Spring '11 release of Salesforce.com brought some new Chatter features that can bring your productivity and collaboration to new heights.
Using Chatter Like a Pro: Working It Into Your Workflow

Three Chatter Spring '11 Tips

While Salesforce.com's new Chatter product has been hitting the news and airwaves the question a lot of our clients ask is "How can I actually use it in my everyday existence, process and workflow?" Here are some ideas, concepts and best practices to help get you and your company using Chatter like a pro.
 

@ Me, No @ You!

 
The single best new feature in Chatter is the ability to mention or tag people people inside of an update. Include the @ and the first few letters of a name and they can be selected inside the update. This makes the name clickable and also sends the mentioned user an email notifying them they were mentioned (if they select to receive an email for this action in their personal preferences). 
 
The power trick here is to use this to garner attention about something. Just mention the person in the status on the record you want them to review and include a note about what you are looking for. This is great for opportunity or project reviews or just reviewing the completeness of some data. It can also be used to help notify people they should be following something. I used it the other day to help a colleague find a contact. In the past I would have copied and pasted a link but using the @ mention made it much easier. 
 

Email Conversations

 
Another new feature that is worthy of its own hip hop hooray is the ability to reply to Chatter emails and have them automatically added to the conversation. This is great for staying in the loop and updating people without having to login to Salesforce.com or the mobile applications. Sometimes email is still the best choice. 
 
The power tip here is to add people using the mentions feature so they get the notice and start the conversation. Try using it on Events as an additive to inviting people to the event. This way you can get their responses via email and make sure everyone is on board with times, dates and agendas. 
 

Breaking The Board of Dash

 
The last feature I want highlight is the ability to break down dashboards by posting snapshots of a dashboard in your Chatter feed. This allows you to highlight analytics and get updates from others on their thoughts. Combine this with a mention and a topic tag and bring the conversation to a whole new level.
 
Working any new methodology into your work habits and process can be challenging but these new Chatter features have really helped us streamline our process and maximize our productivity.
 
If you have other ways of working Chatter into your workflow, tweet them over to me at twitter.com/JasonMAtwood
 
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