Dornubari Vizor - Mar 10, 2020
Slack Community – How and Why to Start One
Are you thinking about starting a Slack community for your business? The popularity of this platform has been steadily growing, so it is no wonder it has sparked your interest. But what is Slack exactly, how does it work, and can it really boost the performance of your business? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Slack
Slack is a messaging platform designed to become a more user-friendly version of emails. It allows you to dedicate channels to separate topics, instead of having to deal with long chains of messages. Its main goal is to save you some time and nerves.
As a messaging app, Slack doesn’t boast a wide variety of features. It allows you to integrate other apps and platforms, even in the free version. You can also have voice calls and video calls, share media files, and you’ll have access to 5GB or more of internal storage. There are four different pricing levels you can choose from – Free, Standard, Plus, and Enterprise Gold.
Slack Pricing Levels
As with any other platform or online service, the more you pay, the more you get. Don’t get us wrong – even the free version is pretty handy and useful for smaller communities. With it, you’ll be able to scroll back and view the last 10,000 messages your community members have sent. You can use up to 5GB of free internal storage space and integrate up to 10 third-party apps. Lastly, you’ll be able to have one-on-one voice and video calls with other members.
If you’re looking for a platform that will let you have group calls, you’ll have to opt for the Standard payment plan. It comes at $6.67 monthly per active user if you’re paying for the full year. If you’d rather opt for recurring monthly payments, it will cost you $8 per active user. This option will also provide you with 10GB of space per member, as well as unlimited access to all past messages.
For even more storage space, choose the Plus option – you’ll get up to 20GB of space per member. This will cost you $12.5 a month per member if you’re paying yearly, or $15 for recurring monthly payments.
Lastly, for 1TB of space per member and an unlimited number of workspaces, opt for Enterprise Gold. For this one, you’ll have to contact Slack’s sales department in order to get a price quote.
Slack as a Community Tool
Although the initial idea behind Slack was to provide easier communication between employees, the platform seems to be outgrowing this purpose. More and more clients are starting to use Slack as a community tool. Communities revolving around a certain topic or interest are growing in number.
Each one of these Slack communities brings together people with similar goals, hobbies, or preferences. Even different companies and organizations are starting to follow this trend and use Slack for community marketing. Why is that so? What are the advantages of having a Slack community?
Why You Should Start a Slack Community
Having a community for your brand or service comes with many perks. Communities such as Product School and Online Geniuses are living proof of that. They’ve recognized and taken advantage of everything that Slack has to offer, and today they have tens of thousands of members.
Its Popularity Has Been Increasing
No one can deny that the popularity of Slack among businesses has been on the rise. According to ExpandedRamblings.com, Slack launched in 2003, and has since grown to 12 million daily active users! With such a growth rate, your time might be running out.
This might be the last moment to create a Slack community and prosper without having to fight against fierce competitors. We’ve seen it happen with many other platforms: Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. There is nothing to indicate the same won’t happen to Slack.
It Inspires Engagement
As we have already said, the main purpose of Slack is messaging. This is what makes it stand out in the sea of other platforms. This is also what makes it prompt engagement on a whole new level.
Group chats are like a live organism – they constantly evolve and change. If a member of your Slack community doesn’t participate for too long, they risk missing out on something interesting or important. In other words, the secret of engagement on Slack seems to be the fear of missing out. It’s simple, but it works.
Clean and Easy-to-Navigate Interface
How many times have you decided to sign up for a new platform only to be discouraged by too wide a variety of content, options, and controls? This doesn’t happen with Slack – its interface is clear and intuitive. There is only a limited number of essential features that are easy to navigate.
Most platforms that are commonly used for community building offer a bunch of other content to their users, too. Take Facebook for example. If you have a Facebook group for your brand, the members of your group most likely use Facebook for other purposes, as well. They communicate with friends, follow pages, or belong to some other groups, too.
The good thing about Slack is that, aside from its clean and intuitive interface, it removes all possible distractions. Members of your Slack community will devote their undivided attention to the activities within the chat. This, in turn, will increase their active participation.
How to Set Up a Slack Community
Now that you know what all the perks of having a Slack community are, you’d probably like to start one. Before you rush to sign up for a payment plan, let’s take a look at all the steps you should take to maximize your community’s chances of success.
Do Some Brainstorming First
Before you bring your Slack community to life, you should do some brainstorming. There are several points you should consider:
- What is the idea behind the community? Your Slack community should bring together people who have something in common. Will it be their lifestyle, their affiliation to your products, or the simple fact that they work together?
- Who can become a member? Will this be an open community that anyone can join? Or are you building an exclusive Slack community designed only for your customers or employees?
- What is the goal of the Slack community? Lastly, think about why you’re making this community. Do you want to offer more direct customer support? Would you like to make project management easier for your employees? Or are you looking to offer exclusive content to chosen customers?
Creating an Account and Starting a Slack Community
Now that you know what your Slack community will be all about, it’s time to make it happen. The process of signing up and creating a Slack community is pretty simple.
From the Slack home page, choose the option Get Started.
Then, you’ll be given the option to choose whether you want to join an existing Slack community or create your own. In this case, you’ll want to choose the option My Team Isn’t Using Slack Yet.
You will then be asked to provide your email address. You will receive a six-digit code that you’ll have to enter in order to confirm the email address. Keep in mind that this code won’t be valid forever, so enter it right away.
Finally, it’s time to create your community. First, you’ll want to enter the name of your company, organization, brand, or product.
Then, you’ll be asked to specify the purpose of the Slack community you’re starting. Slack itself suggests projects such as budget planning or website update, but you can enter pretty much anything.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have the option to add members. If you’re still not ready to add anyone to your community, don’t worry. You can skip this step for now.
There is also the option to get a link you can send to people to invite them to sign up and join your new Slack community.
Congrats! You now have your own Slack community! Right now, you can customize your profile before you invite your first members. You can change your profile picture, user name, or preferences. Simply click on your username in the top left corner.
Adding Your First Slack Community Members
Now that your Slack community has been set up, it is ready to welcome its first members. There are several ways in which you can go about this.
Firstly, you can add people manually. To do this, choose the Invite People option from the top left menu under your username. In order to add people this way, all you’ll need is their email, and ideally, their consent. No one likes being spammed with invitations to groups or communities they’ve never even heard of. Let your future members know you’ll be adding them to your Slack community, and clarify why you’re doing it.
In case you don’t have the e-mail addresses of everyone you’d like in your community, you’ll need a way to get this information. This is where the second option comes in – adding people using an online form. It is as simple as it sounds. All you need to do is create a form using, for example, Google Forms or Typeform. They are both free and easy to use. You can make the form as short as long as you’d like. One thing that we’d like to repeat is that you should clearly state why you’re asking for an e-mail address. We cannot emphasize this enough.
One thing that might be an issue with adding people using these two methods is that there is no shortcut. This is why you can also add people using the invitation link. Until recently, Slack didn’t offer this option, and community managers had to resort to third-party channels, such as Heroku.
To generate this link from Slack, simply choose the Invite People option, and then click on Share Invite Link. Using this link, you can allow people to join your community without inviting them directly. You can simply share the link with them when they purchase your product, online course, or service.
One drawback of this system is that you don’t have total control of who can join your Slack community. You can opt to receive a notification every time you get a new member, but as of now, there is no approval option. This means that you’ll have to manage your Slack community more closely, which can get tedious as your community grows.
Further Promoting Your Slack Community
Setting up your Slack community is relatively easy. Promoting it, however, requires some work, especially as the competition is getting fiercer. The most obvious way of doing this is by talking about your Slack community on other platforms.
By this, we don’t only mean you should let people know this community exists. Make them want to join. Tell them what you’ll be talking about on there, and maybe even offer some exclusive offers.
As your community grows, you can also consider collaborating with influencers. They can significantly expand your pool of potential Slack community members. What’s more, by choosing the right influencers, you can precisely define your target group.
There is, however, another way to promote your Slack community – the so-called Slack community directories. These are lists of different Slack communities that you can join. Getting your Slack community to one of these directories could significantly increase your outreach.
There are a number of different directories. Some of them, such as Airtable, are ever-growing and ever-changing. There are also lists, such as Slofile or Standuply, that categorize Slack communities according to topics. There are also lists that only include what they consider to be the best Slack communities. Deekit is one of these. Of course, not all Slack community directories are equally relevant and reliable. While some will skyrocket your community to popularity, others will make no difference whatsoever. So choose wisely.
Some Additional Tips for Running a Slack Community
You can never have enough good tips and useful advice. That’s why we’d like to offer a couple of additional recommendations for running your Slack community:
- Keep it connected to your brand. When people start talking, they can easily stray away from the main topic. Don’t let that happen to your Slack community. If you started it with the intention of promoting your brand, do your best to keep your brand present in the conversation.
- Moderate your community carefully. Your Slack community should be a friendly and safe environment for all members. That is why rules are important. We suggest creating a document with a list of clear rules of conduct and repercussions for breaking them. If you need some ideas, check out our blog on Facebook group rules. You can use similar guidelines for your Slack community.
- Understand the numbers behind your community. Knowing what statistical data means for your community is a must when it comes to community management. You can access your Slack community statistics from the top-left drop-down menu by clicking on Analytics.
Are you ready to start your own Slack community? Then follow our simple steps and tips, and we’re sure you’ll have no issues growing an engaging, active community dedicated to your brand. Good luck!