Welcome to the new Back to Basics series! This series comprises the topics that help get you started in your Salesforce journey but also, will serve as a reminder for seasoned users who want to revisit Salesforce core functionality.
The series starts with Chatter and some of the wonderful things it can be used for. To start off lets look at the Salesforce definition of Chatter..
“Salesforce Chatter is an enterprise social network & collaboration software solution that connects every employee with the files, data & expertise they need.”
Chatter essentially adds a layer of social networking and collaboration over your existing Salesforce data. This gives you the ability to interact with any one of your colleagues (Or customers and partners) over any part of data inside of Salesforce. Let’s have a look at 6 of the main features of Chatter..
First and foremost, the purpose of Chatter is collaboration. This tool allows you to connect and communicate with colleagues all within your Salesforce Org. From the Chatter tab in your Org, you can create Posts which will be shared with everyone who “Follows” you (a user can choose to receive notification when you create Posts, Comments and Likes on your Chatter Feed). These Posts can be updates to tasks or projects you’re working on.
Once you share your Post, your colleagues can then Comment, Like or Share it – bringing the collaboration element to life!
Not only can you Post and Comment within Chatter, you can also share files, send private messages, share links and notes, give thanks to a colleague and create a quick opinion poll. All of these options are called Quick Actions and are enabled and customised in the Setup menu.
Depending on the setup of your Org, you will have various Chatter Actions available to you on your Chatter tab. The standard Quick Actions are Post, File, Link, Thanks, Question and Poll. You can customize these Quick Actions using the Global Actions Publisher Layouts [Setup / Create / Global Actions / Publisher Layouts].
As these Quick Actions are customized at a global level, they are also available on your Home Page and your custom objects.
To customize Quick Actions on standard objects such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads and Cases, you can do this using Page Layouts [Setup / Customize / object name / Page Layouts]. Click Edit next to the relevant page layout then choose Quick Actions from the palette. From here, you can add or remove the Quick Actions available.
With Quick Actions being so easy to use, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to directly thank colleagues in a similar way to show appreciation for them being a team player, a top performer or for knowledge sharing? With Chatter Thanks, this is something you can do in seconds.
Once you have enabled Chatter Thanks [Setup / Customize / Work.com / Work.com Settings / check the “Turn on Thanks” enable box] from the Quick Actions bar, select Thanks (note: you may need to click the down arrow to see the additional Quick Actions note shown on the bar due to insufficient space). Type the name of the person you want to thank (note: you do not need to prefix the name with @) then click Change Badge to select the Badge required. There is space for you to type a message to your colleague to allow you to specifically mention what you are thanking them for. Remember to select your audience (your Followers or a Group) then click Share.
If the twelve pre-defined Badges don’t suit your requirements, you have the ability to create your own custom Badges [Badges tab / New].
So far we have focused on using Chatter with your own Chatter Feed. Wouldn’t it be nice to further extend the collaboration element by bringing groups of users together in once place? You can do this by creating Chatter Groups.
You can create a Chatter Group for your direct team, the entire business or a specific project team [Groups tab / New]. There are many uses for Chatter Groups with the key benefit being collaboration between a group of users with common interests on a particular topic.
If you create a Chatter Group, you are automatically the Group Owner. You can assign a Group Manager and they have similar permissions to you with the only restrictions being they cannot change the Group Owner or delete the Group [from the Group page, click Change Roles then select Manager next to the relevant user].
So now you know the collaboration options within Chatter, how can you control the “Chatter noise” and the number of email notifications you get? By editing your Email Digests.
When you join a Chatter Group or decide to Follow a colleague, you will get email notifications on Chatter activity. You may find these notifications clutter up your email inbox and distract you! To control the notifications from a Chatter Group, click the link below Group Engagement  and select the frequency of the notification you’d like to receive – every Post, a daily update a weekly update or turn off notifications altogether [note: if you turn off notifications altogether, you are still a member of the Group and can access the Group Feed].
If you want to edit the frequency of all notifications (not just on a specific Chatter Group), click Email Settings  and from here, you can amend the notifications you receive when someone Follows you, Comments on a Post on your Profile, shares a Post you made and many other options. You can also amend the frequency of the Group Digests you receive. By making these amendments from the Email Settings link, you can make all the changes you need from one page.
So with all this knowledge sharing and collaboration, how do you save specific Posts that are of interest to you and that you know you’ll want to refer back to? You can bookmark them.
Bookmarking Posts is a fantastic way to enable you to quickly refer back to the Post from one location. To Bookmark a Post, click the arrow to the right of the Post and select Bookmark .
To access all your Bookmarks, go to your Chatter tab and within the Feed menu, click Bookmarked . Here you will see all the Post you have opted to save.
To remove a Bookmark, simply click the arrow to the right of the Post and click Remove Bookmark.
So, there you have it, the wonderful ways to use Chatter!
Look out for the next Blog of this series titled “Page Layouts – creating, editing and assigning”.