This is a post written for one of my mastermind groups, to explain what Slack really is and why there’s a hidden power in integrations.
What separates Slack?
- Phenomenal search
- Channels (public and private) and private messages
- Integrations (for tools and bots)
What is Slack?
Their own explanation is: “Slack is a messaging app for teams” and they claim you will be “less busy” because of it. What that really means, is that you can use it to substitute email for team communications. They’ve seen that using Slack can reduce internal email by 48,6%.
Sidenote: Slack is also KING on branding and personality creation. Everything matches rock solid, has a great tone of voice and adds guaranteed delight! Be sure to check out their corporate website and shop for the ultimate example on how to delight users.
Why not use Skype of Google Hangouts in stead?
For straight-up chat, there’s not a lot that’s different. Skype and Google Hangouts have opportunities to talk, either with or without video andSlack doesn’t, there it is all written communications. But that is not why you’ll love using Slack.
First things first…
When you start using Slack for your own team, you start with creating a “team”. This is the location where all of your team communications takes place and is a unique URL. You can grant access to everyone working on your time, invite and whitelist certain email-addresses (your company email for instance). It’s available on any device and it’s always synced perfectly and you can set your own preferred notifications.
One important thing to realize is that, in Slack all teams are separated, because each team has their unique url. If you are a part of different teams, you have to switch from team to team – because all communication is separate. So for instance, I have a Slack team to communicate with students and teachers at an online course, a separate team for my client and another for my mastermind group.
The upside is that team conversations are in one place, pretty organized and contained. I like that, because in Skype and Google Hangouts things can be scattered over chats and I sometimes forget where I saw something and then it’s gone. It’s not meant for archiving, it’s for the communication in the moment. Slacks phenomenal search separates it from others.
You can search for messages and files, sort by relevance or date and different filters. When you start typing in search, Slack will suggest related channels, team members and your search history. Some searches you can try:
- from:username or from:me
Using channels to channel communication
Search is a huge advantage of Slack, but another one is the ability to create public and private channels. Public channels are conversations every one can join, and these are usually centered around a specific topic, company departments or locations.
Private channels are invite only and are hidden for all other team members, you can imagine a “surprise party” private channel.
In the case of the online course with 8 chapters over a period of 12 weeks, we had a channel for each chapter of the course and started discussion groups about individual subjects from the course in other channels. Study groups had their own channels and private channels for student/teacher conversations.
So are you ready for Slack, the next level? Let’s talk about integrations.
Many of us use different tools to work on teams. For project management, administration, publication, marketing, social media etc the list could go on an on. Slack’s true power hides in the possibility to integrate with many of these tools.
Slack offers a range apps that help you with integrations between these tools (slack.com/apps). I also use Zapier.com for this. Zapier connects online tools for you, it uses input from one tool to use as input for another tool. Here is a list with possible Zapier solutions for Slack.
What can these integrations do for you? How about:
- the all new awesome Trello integration! To add or join cards, change due dates, attach conversations etc.
- post a message in Slack whenever a new blogpost is published,
- create a Asana, Jira, Todoist or Trello items from ’starred’ Slack messages
- set daily reminders in Slack (think accountability, standups etc)
- post zendesk tickets (support tool) to a specific Slack channel
- send notification of new mail-list subscribers to a specific Slack channel
How awesome is this? You can use the channels to keep the results of these integrations organized and focused around specific team members like bug reports in a special developers channel.
You can use all these excellent tools to grow your online business, but in Slack it all comes together and allows your team to work and communicate effectively, without a single email being send.
Thanks for reading, you are awesome. I hope you know that!