- Slack is a communication platform that streamlines small business communications.
- Features on the platform include more than 2,400 platform integrations, video calling and enhanced security.
- Slack has been on the scene for a while, but it’s never too late for your small business to cash in on this useful communication system.
- This article is for small business owners interested in learning more about how Slack can improve their business communication.
Slack revolutionized the way businesses communicate. By creating multiple channels for different projects, teams and individuals, Slack puts all internal business communications in one effective place. Since its inception as a rocket-fast communication tool, Slack has improved its platform with features like program integrations, video huddles and clips, and enhanced security. If you’re considering using Slack for your small business, this guide can help you understand what Slack is, how it can benefit your team, and how to make the most of its features.
What is Slack?
Slack is a communication platform for small businesses that allows for team and individual communication. Its designated channels feature is a succinct, efficient way to organize multiple conversations at one time. This means small businesses can create individual chats for projects, teams and even one-on-one communication.
This communication style means that workers can manage several different projects, topics and conversations all in one place, which centralizes workplace information. This is especially useful for small businesses, who are among Slack’s most frequent users. In fact, a study from Enlyft found that businesses with 10 to 50 employees are most likely to use Slack.
Key takeaway: Slack has been refining its platform for almost 15 years, introducing features to modernize business communication and improve efficiency.
Benefits of Slack
Communication efficiency is the overarching benefit of using Slack. However, it’s worth highlighting a few more benefits for your small business.
- Transparency: All of Slack’s communication channels are searchable. That means if new team members are joining an existing project or if you’re looking for a particular project detail, you can use the search bar feature to find it quickly and easily.
- Flexibility: Slack can be used in whatever way is best for your team. For example, you can configure different channels to represent conversations about specific clients, or you can create a separate channel for each project. Small businesses with multiple teams can set up channels for each one. However you work best, Slack can be adjusted to suit your workflow.
- Security: Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance these days, especially since small businesses are among the most at-risk targets for fraud and cybersecurity breaches. Slack Connect, a feature that allows you to connect with other businesses, provides a secure communication channel for not only your business, but also for any business partner or vendor you decide to communicate with on the platform.
- Integrations: Slack integrates with more than 2,400 other programs. These seamless plugins, called Slack apps, make your business even more efficient, as it’s simple to integrate Slack with your calendar app or video communication platform.
Tip: Because Slack can integrate with so many existing business programs, you won’t have to worry about data silos. You can centralize all your business communication via Slack and still use your other programs to get things done.
Tips for using Slack
The following tips can help you and your team use Slack efficiently for tasks like connecting one-on-one and organizing conversations for searchability later on.
Use multiple tags.
Did you know you can tag multiple people when you post a message? Many new Slack users don’t realize you can tag as many people as you want. Just use the @ symbol and the username for each person you want to get a notification about the message.
Take advantage of Slack Huddles.
Slack Huddles is a great way to communicate quickly with your team. Instead of having to discuss everything via text chat, you can hop on a quick video call and talk about the issue at hand. This is a great feature for businesses who need apps for collaborating with remote workers. Slack has excelled by integrating this feature seamlessly into its platform. Gone are the days of switching to another video program for a quick meeting or discussion. You can do it all in Slack.
Send direct messages and create group chats.
Another feature that’s easy to miss in Slack is the fact that you can Direct Message people in a group. That’s because, unlike Twitter, Slack defines a Direct Message as any chat that takes place outside of a channel. To create a group DM, click the plus sign next to Direct Messages and add the people you want to participate. They’ll always see a notification for that chat.
Connect with other companies using Slack Connect.
In the past, Slack was used only for intracompany communication. Now, with Slack Connect, your business can communicate with other companies in a secure, efficient manner. That means you can close deals, communicate with vendors and develop new business on Slack’s platform, instead of via email. Centralizing all your business communication and information will save your business time and money.
Don’t worry about storage for now.
If you use the free version of Slack, you might start seeing messages about storage problems with a tip to upgrade to the paid version. The truth? You can keep uploading images and files, and you won’t run out of storage. Instead, older messages, files and images will “roll off” in the archive and you won’t be able to see them anymore.
Improve communication with a poll.
Slack has a built-in poll function. You use it by typing “/poll” and naming the poll. This gives everyone a chance to weigh in on a topic without forcing you to wade through countless messages. It’s a more direct method of making decisions as a team.
Use the up arrow to edit a previous message.
Another major timesaver lets you quickly edit your most recent message in a channel. Just press the up arrow, and you’ll see the message in an editing window.
Start using saved items.
Another overlooked feature is the ability to save items. In any channel or with any message, you can click the small bookmark icon. Then, you can quickly see everything you’ve saved by clicking on the star icon on the upper right of the screen. This lets you group all important conversations and channels and allows you to see all related messages with one click.
Get to know the search field.
Searches help you find messages, but they can be daunting if the results include every instance of the word or phrase you type. To help, try adding search criteria like “in:channel” to limit the search to a specific channel, or “before:november” to only search for messages from before a specific month. You can also add a date or year.
Tag channels when possible.
Tagging people makes sense because the person you tag sees a notification (or the channel pops up as bold if they turn off notifications). Another handy tip is to tag channels, because when someone sees that tag, they can click the tag to go to that channel.
Slack can become confusing for teams over time as you try to keep track of your messages. That’s why one of the coolest features is reminders. To use it, just type “/remind” and follow the instructions to tag the person, type the reminder, and pick the date. Your message won’t appear for that user until the date you specify, which means you don’t have to remember when to send it. Reminders are brilliant because you can queue up a series of them.
Improving workplace communication with Slack
The first goal of any small business should be to build workplace efficiency so your company can accomplish its goals succinctly and quickly. That means researching and partnering with the right technology companies that can help you improve your business’s existing workflow. Slack is an intuitive program that can fit seamlessly into your business’s operation.