What is Slack? Listen up and I’ll tell you.
Launch4Life is excited about a communication tool we’ve started using called Slack. What is Slack? It’s an awesome program for communicating and collaborating with team members.
What’s cool is that you don’t have to be a large corporation to use Slack. It’s as effective for small businesses and even solopreneurs. Slack allows remote team members to work together. So whether you’re small team or a one-person shop with virtual assistant – Slack is for you!
But let me back up and tell you why we began using Slack.
Our Slack Backstory
Launch4Life will soon be offering some new services. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details. We found ourselves in need of a better way to communicate with team members and clients.
While email works great for Janet and I, we discovered that’s not the case with everyone else we work with. Who knew?
Instead, we learned that others prefer to communicate via text. Ack!
The rationale is that email has too many distractions. Email inboxes can get cluttered up with… too many emails. What’s so great about instant messaging is that it’s quicker and more focused.
Okay, while that may make sense to them, it doesn’t work for me. I prefer email because it lets me keep communications organized and in one central place.
While I do love my iPhone, I save it for personal use. Yes, I may occasionally use it to text a client, or check email on the go, it’s not my go-to device for business. I‘m “old school” and prefer using my laptop.
So, what do you do when you have people with different needs? You build a better mousetrap. You look for one tool that meets the needs of everyone on your team. Which is why we are so excited about Slack.
What is Slack?
Slack is an instant messaging tool for communicating with your team.
First up, Slack works on all devices – smart phones, tablets, and computers. So, everyone on team is happy. Hurray!
More important, Slack is way more than a chat room. It’s a dedicated workspace that allows us to collaborate. With Slack, we can share files, links, and so much more.
Your Slack Workspace
How Slack works is you set up a private workspace for your company. Your workspace is a dedicated area on the Slack server that comes complete with it’s own custom URL. You can access your workspace from any digital device using your URL and logging in.
While you can have Slack open in an Internet tab, I find it’s much better to download the free Slack app. If you want to access Slack on a tablet or smart phone, visit the applicable app store and download the app
Inside your workspace you will set up different channels to stay organized. Think of “channels” as you would think of folders on your computer. You can then add people (i.e. members of your team) to those channels as needed. This helps you keep relevant information all together in one place.
Public vs. Private Channels
Public channels are open to everyone on your entire team. When you first set up your Slack workspace you will have two public channels – General and Random. You have the option of renaming those or creating more. It’s your choice.
Whenever you type a message or share a file to a public channel, everyone we see it. Also, everything in a public channel is searchable by everyone on your team. If anyone needs to find something that was posted previously they can search for it in the archives. Sweet.
You can also set up private channels within Slack. This is ideal for conversations amongst select team members. Private channels are only open to invited team members. Private channels are distinct because they have a padlock next to their name.
You can also send any team member a one-off direct message. This is useful for when you want to send one, or several people, a quick private message. What I especially like is that Slack lets you know who is currently on-line and off-line.
This feature is especially good for team members that don’t have access to a phone… as you can send and receive direct messages from any digital device.
Sharing Files & Links
So what is slack really doing the best?
Slack makes it so easy to share files with team members. You can drag and drop files right into Slack message. Easy peasy. The type of files you can share include: documents, images, pdfs, videos, and audios.
You can even copy/paste links into Slack for your team to access. So if you see something of interest on the web that you’d like to share with your team, you can do so using Slack.
What’s great is that anything added to your Slack workspace . are searchable. Finding messages, files, links, etc., is so simple. Type what you are looking for into the search box… and voila it’s found.s
Works Well With Others
The feature that sold me on using Slack was how well it works with other programs. At Launch4Life we use a whole host of online tools to run our business. From A to Z – Asana to Zoom, it looks like Slack works with every program we use. The biggest integration bonus was Asana – that would have been a deal breaker for me.
I am amazed at how many apps Slack plays nice with. In the integrations directory there are apps I haven’t even heard of. Which makes this tech nerd girl very excited.
Your Own Little Slack Bot
If you ever need help using Slack, it’s nice to know you have a trusty bot to guide the way. Simply type a message int the chat window and your bot displays the answer. How cool is that?
Customize Your Preferences
Slack allows you to customize your settings. There is even a Do Not Disturb setting that allow you to set your office hours. You won’t hear any bings or dings alerting you to new messages. This helps you to set boundaries around when you work and when you don’t.
Slack’s free plan is one of it’s best features. They offer a free forever plan that is very generous. A small business with simple needs may never need to upgrade. Kind of reminds me of MailChimp.
- 10k Message Search
- 10 Integrations
- Two Factor Authentication
- One on One Voice and Video Calls 5GB of Total Storage
- Standard Support
A small business with simple needs may never need to upgrade. Kind of reminds me of MailChimp. I always like programs that allow you to scale up as your business needs change.
So there you have it, that was my quick overview on what is Slack? I will report back in a few months and let y’all know how it’s going. In the meantime, here’s a good overview on how Slack works.
Or, to sign up for your own account, visit Slack on the web.