Slack is a messaging application used by almost every organization. However, you are probably reading this right now because you're feeling a little out of the loop and want to know what's all the buzz about. So, to help you navigate those complex topics, we have designed this handy guide. By the end of  this article, you will become a slack pro.

What Is Slack?

Slack is a workplace messaging tool through which you can send messages and files. This means that Slack is an instant messaging tool. These add ons are not important for using Slack as the main feature is all about communicating with colleagues. There are two types of chat in Slack: direct message or DM (person-to-person chat), and channels (group chat). You have to take the following things into account before using Slack:

  • Slack name
  • List of Slack channels where you are a member
  • Chat window
  • Names of the people whom you have messaged

When customers wants to use Slack, they select a name for their Slack instance. This becomes a part of their unique URL. Slack channels can be public or private, with the former allowing anyone to see and join the latter allowing only members of the channel to see it or ask others to join. Although they can involve up to eight persons, DMs are always private.

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All of the real communication takes place in the chat window. You can read any message reply, utilize emoji reactions, upload gifs, see RSS feeds, create reminders, receive add-on notifications, and use a variety of other features like whistles and bells. But, most all, this is where you meet new individuals.

What Is Slack Used For?

Slack can help your team communicate more effectively by replacing email, text messaging, and instant chatting with one software. Thanks to desktop and mobile versions, Slack can enable your team to interact and coordinate their work no matter where they are - in the field office, at home, or out knocking on doors.

However, no app will be downright magical. Slack may or may not be appropriate for your team's working style. There's also the issue of security to consider. However, if you take the effort to build up your team's Slack workspace and manage it carefully (like you would with any other tech tool), it may give your team a strong sense of community, regardless of when or where they work.

The following are some of the important uses of Slack:

  • Slack can replace email, text messaging, and instant chat, all in one software.
  • You can keep all the important information out of your volunteers' personal email accounts.
  • You can share files and other documents with your teammates, such as images, written, and videos.
  • You can also mention the name of your teammates, which send them notifications on their computer or mobile phone. This way, you can get attention. You can also mention a group's name, making it work as a walkie talkie.
  • Start a voice or video conference call with your teammates who are on the Slack team.
  • You can also set reminders for yourself and others. There are in-built reminders, Google Calendar, and various to-do lists which you can use so that the volunteers can track the upcoming events and deadlines.
  • You can even create a fun community accessible by your volunteers and staff, whether or not they are in the office.
  • Slack is specifically good for quick questions and decisions, real-time collaboration, impromptu voice or video chats, gaining attention from someone instantly, quick voting or poll, keeping everyone connected, and instant onboarding new team volunteers and team members.

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When Slack was introduced, it had no real competitors in the market. However, it does not mean that there were no other chat applications. But Slack comprises a combination of an intuitive UI with both person-to-person and group messaging. It also gives the companies a measure of control over who can use it by sending invitations. There are, of course, now various other tools available which have the same functions but without the same usability. None of the popular traditional vendors, such as IBM, Apple, Microsoft, etc., provide anything comparable to Slack.

Slack was small enough to be responsive and quick to offer new features like emoji reactions (which customers loved) and two-factor authentication (great for admins). The fact that Slack was not controlled by a large traditional vendor was enough for some users, but that doesn't explain why it is so successful.

What Is Slack not Good For?

Now let us have a look at some of the important issues of Slack:

  • Slack is only useful for collaboration on large scale projects like big documents and major decision-making discussions.
  • Technological issues: If your team members have smartphones, they cannot use Slack when they are away from their laptops or desktops. So, before deciding to use Slack as your primary communication medium, you should know how much this would affect your team.
  • Adoption: If your team members are not tech enthusiasts, it may be difficult for them to get used to  using Slack. But, it is very intuitive and user friendly, and your team will be surprised by the features it offers.

How Much Does Slack Cost?

Slack is basically free. You'll be limited to 5GB of file storage and ten apps or custom integrations, and you'll only be able to read and search your team's 10,000 most recent messages (more on that later).

Free, Standard ($8 or £5.25 a month billed monthly), and Plus ($15 or £9.75 a month billed monthly) are the three pricing tiers currently available. Enterprise Grid provides bespoke pricing for businesses.

How to Get Started With Slack?

Follow these steps to become the administrator of your own Slack team:

  • Visit the official website of Slack and sign up with your email address.
  • Pick a name for your Slack group.
  • Make changes to your Slack team's URL.
  • Create a unique username for yourself.
  • Enter the email addresses of your team member whom you want to invite to the Slack team.
  • After that, your Slack team chat will open in a new browser tab.
  • To understand the essentials, go through the short tutorial.

How Does Slack Work?

Slack Left Sidebar

Settings

To enter a settings menu, click your username or the drop-down arrow next to the Slack team name. You can alter your options (sidebar themes, messages, emoji style, and more) from here, and examine your profile and account, get Slack apps (more on that later), and put yourself  away.

Notifications

To change your notification preferences, click the bell icon in the top-right corner of the sidebar. You may establish a Do Not Disturb schedule, snooze them, and more. Almost every form of notification is enabled when you sign in to Slack for the first time. However, the service provides a variety of options for managing them.

Starred

Everything you've starred will be displayed in the sidebar above the Channels section and below your team name and username. Stars are a way to prioritize an item in Slack. To move channels or direct messages to the top of your left sidebar, star them. In Slack, you can also star messages to simply return to them later.

Channels

In the sidebar, below the name of your Slack Team and your own account, you'll find a section called Channels. Chat rooms are referred to as channels. You can name chat rooms after anything, such as a project (screenplay), a topic (music), or a group of people (sales). You get an option to make them private or public.

Create Channels

To make a new channel, go to the sidebar and click the Add button next to Channels. After that, you'll be given the option of creating a public or private channel. You'll also be able to give the channel a name, invite people to join, and briefly describe the channel's purpose.

Direct Messages

In the sidebar, below Channels, you'll find a Direct Messages area, followed by the names of everyone invited to your Slack team. To send a private, one-to-one message to anyone, click on their name. A window will open if you click the Plus button adjacent to the Direct Messages section, allowing you to find or start a direct message conversation.

Slack Top Menubar

Chat Room Name

The name of the room you're in, whether a channel or a direct message window, always appears on the left side of the menubar. A drop-down menu appears next to the name, allowing you to access items like message archives, channel notification purposes, and advanced parameters. You can even set the station to your favorite.

Search

Slack's search capability is one of its most important features; both messages and files may be searched. Slack will propose search modifiers to help you narrow your results when you click the search box, and when you type in a search word, Slack will show you relevant channels, team members, and search history.

Mentions and Reactions

You can type a person's @username to notify them while having a conversation in a channel. The Mentions & Reactions "@" sign in the top right corner of Slack allows you to see your most recent @mentions, @channel messages, and any highlight words.

Starred Items

Messages, files, snippets, posts, and comments can all be given a star to make them simpler to find. When you star a channel, it displays in the sidebar, but to access other starred items, you must click the Starred sign in the top-right corner of Slack.

Slack Chat Rooms

Emoji

To send an emoji, click the emoji button next to the message area. You may also use an emoji reaction to answer to any communication in Slack. Simply select the Add a reaction icon while hovering over a message. Apple, Google, Twitter, and Emoji One are the four emoji sets available in Slack.

Messaging

To send a message in a channel or a direct message, click within the bottom text field, type your message, and push enter. You can type a person's @username to notify them while in a channel conversation.

Set Reminders

For reminders, you can use Slack. For example, if you need to remind yourself that you have 30 minutes to write a piece, enter "/remind me in 30 minutes to publish", and Slack will discreetly remind you.

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Best Slack Features

The following are some of the important features of Slack:

Make Remote Work Easier

The nicest feature about this application is that it allows you to build many channels and add people from both inside and outside the firm. Every user added to the channel will be able to see whatever information you share in it. Slack channels are exclusively accessible to a certain group of people.

Set Reminders

Slack also has a function that allows you to set reminders. We frequently neglect to attend essential meetings or key events, which has a negative impact on the quality of our job. However, with Slack, we can avoid making that mistake and not letting our work get affected. We can use Slack to set reminders for any communication from any channel (client or internal) or for any direct message.

Get Notified

Notifications are another element that aids in the efficiency of business communication. When someone in a channel or individually tags you in Slack, you'll get an instant notification. There are many common channels that are solely designed for entertainment.

Get Voice and Video Call

You can call your coworkers or clients (if they're on Slack) from anywhere at any time using Slack. You may get your work done quickly by sharing your thoughts and screen with just a single click.

Apps and Integrations

Using Slack to integrate several technologies keeps the team up to date while avoiding context switching. When you connect tools to their corresponding channels, the entire team will be aware of the task or activity being carried out on that tool.

Best Slack Apps and Integrations

Markup Hero

Markup Hero is a screenshot tool that allows you to quickly record ideas, communicate, and save time. With simple image annotation tools, you can tell tales and access all of your markups with a single click, then make changes on the fly.

Trello

Trello is more than just a marketing tool. Firsthand experience, on the other hand, demonstrates how reliant teams may be on Trello. Boards, lists, and cards help you manage projects, people, and ongoing blogs with this productivity app.

HubSpot

According to Finances Online and other sources, HubSpot is the most popular marketing CRM on the market,.

HubSpot is inbound marketing, sales, and service platform that helps businesses manage and develop their online presence.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a user-friendly platform that allows organizations to build and schedule outbound email and social media marketing campaigns. Small businesses can also benefit from landing pages and Google remarketing ads.

Slackbot is a built-in robot in Slack. It can help you keep track of your notes and manage your personal files. To get started, simply select Slackbot from your Direct Messages list.

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Conclusion

Slack, an online chat platform, is a terrific method for teams who aren't constantly in the same place at the same time to maintain a sense of community and togetherness. Slack is a versatile, friendly, and simple-to-use communication platform. It's compatible with a wide range of computers, as well as iPhones and Android phones.

If you wish to upgrade your skills and stay up-to-date with advances in the digital world, enroll in the Digital Project Manager certification program by Simplilearn. The program has been designed to ensure project managers become fully digital-ready as a project management ecosystem now comprises a wide array of technologies and digital techniques.

About the Author

Ishan GabaIshan Gaba

Ishan Gaba is a Research Analyst at Simplilearn. He is proficient in Java Programming, Data Structures, and Project Management. Graduated in Information Technology, Ishan is also passionate about writing and traveling.

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