Slack gets an unfair reputation for only being used as an instant chat messenger between teams, and while it is useful for that purpose, there are several other ways to use Slack to help you keep a pulse on many aspects of your business each day.
There are three main ways that Slack provides value for businesses: facilitating team communication, providing timely business insights and integrating with productivity tools. All this is housed in a sleek, easy to use and customizable interface with apps available for desktop, iPhone, and for Android users as well.
Here’s how Slack can help you to stay on track with your business:
1. Team Communication Channel
This was what Slack was built for. It’s a great way for teams to communicate through direct messages and as groups. Sharing documents and screenshots is easy with drag-and-drop uploading, and copy and pasting URLs is a quick way to give one-click access to whoever you’re messaging. Sharing Google Docs and Sheets through Slack is a much more neat and organized way to share projects rather than sending sharing links through email.
If the notifications get too much, set your account to “Do Not Disturb” mode or set yourself as “Away” to minimize interruptions while you’re working. Direct messages are easy to create and manage on the sidebar and each member of your team has a dot next to their name that will light up when they’re using Slack.
Bonus: Integrate Giphy with Slack to add a fun feature to group chats.
2. Content Tracker Channel
Integration: Content Tracker
In Slack I’ve created a Content Tracker channel that basically serves as a scoreboard of every time my website or content has been mentioned by another website or when my pages and content reach certain milestones. Every time I open this channel I get an overview of where my website is being featured, if my content has been shared on Twitter, or any milestone numbers of shares and views my blog posts have received.
Content Tracker connects with Google Analytics and basically gives you the best nuggets of information and presents itself as a highlight reel in Slack. Having it integrated within Slack gives me the closest experience to real time notifications of this information.
For a content driven business like mine this is one of my favourite apps to have on Slack because I can easily see how my audience and the rest of the web is engaging with my content, in real time.
3. Product Sales Channel
Zapier is a utility for connecting nearly any app with any other app. Below I will highlight one way I use Zapier, but keep in mind there are literally thousands of connects you can make to show you whatever information is important to you, depending on the apps you use for your business.
I use Slack in conjunction with Zapier to create a channel where I can view all the sales that have been made across all my various businesses. Using this integration I get a notification every time there’s been a sale made and whenever I access the channel I get a bird’s eye view of the sales happening across my businesses.
This is a useful way to get a brief overview of my sales that I can monitor daily without having to log in and out of a bunch of accounts to receive the same information. This simple integration saves me time and effort, and keeps an ongoing report of the health of my sales.
4. Stock Watch Channel
Personally I use the IFTTT (If This, Then That) integration to monitor the daily closing prices of the stocks I follow, but much like Zapier above, there are an endless number of ways to use the IFTTT technology within Slack by creating “recipes”.
IFTT is a powerful tool to use to automate tasks for your business. It uses a “recipe” type of formula that conducts actions based on “If This, Then That” instructions that connects between websites, apps, smartphones, and of course, Slack.
I use it to monitor stocks but it can also be used to organize emails, manage multiple social media accounts, spy on your competitors and more. In fact, Shopify wrote a blog post about the ways small businesses can use IFTT technology to automate their business.
5. Site Status Channel
Updown.io is the easiest website monitoring service to use and is actually the cheapest as well. We aren’t the only business singing its praises, the folks over at Woorkup wrote a really good review too on why Updown.io rocks. By now you should know how I feel about services that “just work” and do their jobs will no extra bells and whistles, and Updown.io is one of those services.
That being said, what’s so important about a website monitoring service? And why integrate it with Slack? Well, a website monitoring service monitors when your website is up, and when your website is down. When your website is down, that means customers can’t make purchases and you can’t make money. Unless you’re checking your website every minute of every day, you might not know when there’s issues with your sites. Updown.io will ping your website every 30 seconds to make sure everything is working perfect for your customers.
With UpDown.io integrated with my Site Status Slack channel, I get notified anytime one of my websites goes down so I can fix the problem ASAP.
6. Support Channel
HelpScout is a help desk software that enables teams to conduct organized customer service management for a business. With their well thought out and easy to navigate interface, corresponding with customers is efficient, especially if you’re working with a team of people.
Personally, I use HelpScout to easily manage customer enquiries through email, and with it integrated to Slack I can view and respond to customers without having to log into HelpScout. I also use HelpScout in Slack’s Support channel to introduce new team members to the types of inquires customers send in so they can view how to properly answer and interact with customers.
7. MailChimp Channel
MailChimp is my email and newsletter provider of choice, and of the the biggest reason I choose MailChimp is because they integrate with everyone and everyone integrates with them. Email capturing and email lists are so important to bloggers and ecommerce entrepreneurs, so I like to keep an eye on mine.
With MailChimp integrated with Slack I can monitor subscriptions in real time, which is a useful way to check that emails are coming in just at a single glance. No logging in to MailChimp’s website or waiting for periodic updates, I can simply switch over to the MailChimp channel in Slack and I’ve got the information I need, updated to the minute.
Not only is Slack great for team communication, which is especially speedy and fun thanks to Slack, but also to keep updated on various aspects of business without having to login and monitor a bunch of different services. With all these tools integrated into Slack simply let them run in the background and get notified anytime something needs your attention, or dip in and out of each channel as you please when you’re looking for more information on how your business is running. I hope this article has given you insight into the various ways that you can use Slack to help you run your business, or to help you manage your team and your business all in one place.
Don’t forget to check out Slack’s full list of app integrations here and don’t forget to leave a comment below with your favorite Slack apps.