Social media platforms have made it easier than ever to communicate with potential consumers. However, Slack is not just for the public, it’s also for your own employees. Instead of using email, or messaging services like Whatsapp, this is a product developed entirely for businesses. Read on to find out how Slack is transforming the way we communicate at work, and how best to harness it.
What Slack Offers
Founded by the same people who created Flickr, the photo-sharing app, Slack has taken the business world by storm. It sells itself as a chatting app, allowing businesses to set up different channels for different parts of the company. Employees are able to sync their smartphones with Slack, making it easy to share ideas with each other.
However, Slack is also much more. Technology magazine Wired notes: “Slack’s well-designed chat function is a trojan horse for bigger ideas. Its ambition is to become the hub at the center of all your other business software. It ties into many of the applications you use at work: Dropbox, Google Apps, GitHub, Heroku, and Zendesk to name a few. Once they’re all connected, it can keep track of most everything you do with them. Most importantly, it’s got killer search built right in.”
In addition, Slack also ties in with apps like Twitter, allowing social media managers to monitor all platforms at once. Responses and posts can appear in designated channels on Slack, saving everyone time and effort.
There’s a reason that Slack often ends up replacing email at the companies that use it. PCMag uses Slack and explains that although it can seem bewildering at first, the benefits make themselves apparent: “When people talk about Slack being a ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ communication tool, they mean that information is freely available to you, but you have to go get it or pull it toward you. Contrast that to email, where information is pushed to you, and you are expected to consume it, even if it’s not relevant. So the trick to using Slack effectively is figuring out how to make sure you’re pulling the right information.”
You can send direct messages to coworkers the same way you would on Twitter, with the @ symbol. Combined with a “do not disturb” feature, Slack ends up being an interactive, more pleasant way of communicating with each other at work.
The key to using Slack at work is for managers to be leaders on the software. Because the culture of a company tends to dictate how its used, managers need to define what that culture is. If employees feel confident in sharing ideas and communicating using Slack, then it is an invaluable tool. Conversely, if people don’t feel they know how, when, or why to use Slack then it’s likely an expensive mistake for the company (considering it currently costs around £80 per employee, per year).
Ultimately, Slack might just be the greatest and most compelling form of workplace communication tool out there. One employee using Slack told NYMag, “I used to wake up in the morning and check Tinder. Now I check Slack.”