Today I’m going to tell you about a tool we here at Adapt use called Slack.
What is Slack?
Slack is basically an instant messaging chat room for your company, it was designed to replace email as the primary method of communication and sharing, although email is still well used at Adapt as well. In Slack, conversations happen in channels which can be organised by topic, project, client, team or whatever makes sense for you. Having channels ensures the right people are kept up to date and information doesn’t get lost.
It integrates with a whole host of other apps as well which can be really useful.
Below are some of the key features of Slack:
Slack allows businesses to create a private, dedicated workspace complete with its own custom URL.
After an easy signup process, you will be able to invite your team/clients to join.
For small to medium-sized companies, you’ll likely need just one workspace organized by public and private channels to meet all your needs, but Slack also has features to help enterprises manage multiple workspaces if that makes more sense (more on that below).
Company-Wide and Private Messaging
Slack messaging is grouped into channels and direct messages to organise conversations and replace communications that might otherwise be scattered across emails, text messages, or meetings.
Public channels are open to your entire team and can cover everything from Sales and Marketing strategy to ad-hoc discussions and streams of gifs (If you like Gifs as much as we do, you’ll be pleased to know there is a good selection available on Slack). All messages within a public channel are automatically archived and searchable by everyone. You can identify public channels by the “#” hashtag icon next to their names.
Private channels are not open to everyone in your workspace; team members have to be invited to join a private channel to view, search, and participate in that channel’s discussion. You can create Private channels in Slack to help break down large teams into their relevant working groups or restrict sensitive conversations or transfer of information to relevant team members. Private channels have a lock icon next to their names.
Direct messages are best for ad-hoc, confidential or quick discussions with particular team members. These conversations are only visible and searchable by you and other members of a direct message thread (you can create a direct message thread with up to 8 other people).
One of the things I love about Slack is you can continue conversations in threads. This allows people to reply to your message and Slack keeps them linked so you can keep a full history of responses.
In addition to basic text messages, sharing files and documents is one of the basics of modern collaboration.
Slack enables you to share all types of files in your workspace, including (but not limited to):
- Microsoft Docs
- Google Docs
- Zip files
And depending on the file type and integration you use, Slack will even “unfurl” certain types of content – so you can access the content right inside the app.
The search feature in Slack is brilliant; whether it’s people, messages, or files, all are searchable.
When you begin typing in the search box, Slack will make suggestions and show you related channels, team members, and search history to help you find relevant results.
You can toggle between message and files, sort by most recent or relevant, and exclude channels from your search.
You can even use a number of special words and commands to find exactly what you’re looking for – fast and easy.
From any chat window – whether you’re in a channel or direct message group – there are a few different commands you can use to modify messages, notify a certain group, or perform a few admin functions.
Edit or delete messages
Emphasise words or phrases by using the bold, italic or strikethrough features. You can also insert bullet point lists, code blocks and of course emojis .
@username – sends a notification to the person you’ve mentioned specifically
@here – sends a notification to everyone currently active in the channel
@channel – sends a notification to every member of a channel, active or not
@everyone – sends a notification to every member of your Slack workspace (must be posted in the General channel)
/open – create a new channel
/leave – leave a channel
/archive – archive the current channel
/collapse – hide all images and videos in the current channel
/expand – show all images and videos in the current channel
/who – list all members of the current channel
/remind – Creates a reminder for you or another person/channel
Here is a full list of Slack slash commands available.
You can even make your own custom slash commands using Slack integrations.
Notifications let you know about messages and shared resources that need your attention. You can choose to receive notifications in a number of ways: on your desktop, mobile device, or email.
You can even customise notifications by channel so you can prioritise your attention.
Slack’s app directory features over 1,000 integrations you can use to enhance your Slack workspace.
This is what makes Slack more than just an online messaging system. It’s a complete communication and productivity solution.
With Slack’s integrations, you’ll be able to do things like:
- Centralise all your notifications – from sales to tech support to social media
- Quickly find and share data and documents from your other business applications
- Manage your workflows from one platform
Best Slack Apps and Integrations
Simple Poll enables you to poll your team right within Slack, so you can quickly create a poll, gather responses, and share the results.
Intro lets you create a private professional network for your Slack team members. When you install this integration, it automatically creates a full member directory with detailed profiles of every member so you can get to know each other better. Everyone on your team can then add their personal contacts so you can find new talent or potential clients and ask for an introduction.
Trello’s integration makes working with everyone’s favourite project collaboration tool fast and simple (if you’re not sure what Trello is, see my last blog).
With Trello for Slack, you’ll be able to seamlessly:
- Add new cards
- Join cards and boards
- Change due dates
- Attach conversations to cards
- Get card and board previews in Slack
Well, that’s enough about Slack. I hope you found this informative and decide to give it a whirl.