Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a single application that could be used as the central hub for all of your most critical activities? Imagine it: all of your internal communications, your editorial calendars, your content campaigns, your analytics, even your accounting and invoice operations – all accessible from one single application.
And imagine if that same app could integrate seamlessly with all your other vital web tools – your social accounts, your documents, your presentations….
Oh, yes – that’s right! One of those applications already exists. It’s called Slack, it’s free, and if you’re a digital marketer looking for the ultimate command center tool, then look no further.
[Disclaimer: I have a tendency to get a bit gushy about the power and capabilities of Slack, but I’m in no way affiliated with the product – I’m just a big fan of the way it has made my life as a digital marketer so much easier, and how it could be beneficial to your operation, too.]
Slack – the digital marketer’s ultimate command center
Let’s be clear – there are hundreds if not thousands of communication tools out there at your disposal, but if you’re looking for one that has it all, then Slack, I’m almost positive, will have you covered.
Slack is so much more than simply an instant messenger (IM), and, as a digital marketer, you will find its numerous tools and integrations an absolute life-saver on so many fronts.
So let’s now take a look at how you can get Slack set up as your ultimate command center for all your marketing operations.
Slack is more than chat, but streamlined communication is one of the most important facets of any business’s activities. So let’s first begin by introducing you to some of the most useful and valuable functions of this most feature-rich IM.
First, let’s talk about how messaging works on Slack, and it’s all based very simply around channels.
As a marketer, you’ll have numerous campaigns running simultaneously. Rather than discussing each campaign all in one channel, where the thread of the conversation is likely to continuously digress from one topic to another, you simply set up a separate channel for each separate campaign. Easy, neat, and organized.
Any amount of channels can be set up in this way, and all can be configured to be open to the whole team, or private for just a few key members.
Direct messaging is also available to reach individual team members privately.
Yep, you can share anything you like over Slack. Rich links, files, images, videos, screencasts. Just copy and paste your links into the chat field, and Slack does the rest.
Slackbot is Slack’s very own little personal helper bot available to all users as soon as you launch the app.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this, but I like to think of Slackbot as the “Siri for Slack” – and that’s exactly how you should communicate with this bot.
If you’ve got a question about how to use Slack, don’t bother searching round the Help Center on the website looking for the right page, consulting a forum, or even Googling your query – just ask @slackbot.
Check it out…
When you ask @slackbot for help, the bot gives you the answer. Those links in the bot’s message take me to exactly where I need to go in the Help Center to find everything I need.
But you’ll notice that Slackbot also gave the keyboard shortcut to pull up a short list of, well, keyboard shortcuts, which are indeed one of Slack’s most useful communication features.
As with all keyboard shortcuts on any instant messenger, they do of course require a little bit of time invested in learning them – but this will ultimately be paid pack in dividends in the time they’ll save you in the long run with the app. The above screenshot just shows a quick list of the most frequently used shortcuts – for the comprehensive guide to all of the keyboard shortcuts, just click here (or ask @slackbot!).
I use Slack’s reminder function all the time to remind me about calls, deadlines and meetings. It’s very useful – and not just for reminding myself about stuff I’m likely to forget, but other team mates, too.
All you’ve got to do is ask @slackbot, using the “/remind” shortcut:
- /remind me to dial into the conference call with Jack and Jill on November 23rd at noon.
- /remind Ehsan to wash his underpants every Saturday at 10:30 am.
To cancel reminders, just type “/remind cancel [reminder]”. You can also summon a list of existing reminders by typing “/remind list”. Cool, huh?
This is another favorite function of mine. Every time someone uses your @username on Slack, you’re sent a little notification to alert you to it. This is of course very handy, and nothing less than you’d expect.
But sometimes you want to be alerted when other team members are discussing particular topics, but aren’t necessarily using your name. Well, Slack has got you covered with its Highlight Words feature.
If you navigate to Team Menu > Preferences > Notifications > Notifications Settings, you’ll be able to scroll down to Highlight Words and add whichever important topic-related words you like, and Slack will notify you every time someone mentions them. You’ll never have to worry about missing an important conversation again.
Now for the really cool stuff – Integrations
So, you can clearly see how highly-functional Slack is for team communications. But that’s hardly enough for complete setup of your digital marketing command center.
Slack’s true power is in fact found in its third-party integrations with all the other apps and online tools that you are likely already using. And this is where your command center really starts to come to life.
As much as I’m a fan of Slack, I’m also a bit of a Google Drive devotee to boot, as I’m sure many of you are. So isn’t a wonderful thing indeed that there is a fully-functional Google Drive integration for Slack?
Yes, it is. It’s of course often the case that multiple team members will contributing to or editing a piece of important content in Google Drive, and with the Slack integration it’s simply a case of copying and pasting a direct link to any Google Drive file into the appropriate chat channel to give all team mates instant access. What’s even better is that all files get indexed within Slack for easy search. So easy, so brilliant.
I realize I’m giving away all my trade secrets here, but yet another tool I can’t get enough of is Trello. As collaboration tools go, Trello is up there with the best of them, and if you’re using it as part of your digital marketing team’s organization processes, then integrating it with Slack will help you out no end.
Using a set of simple commands, you can add new Trello cards, change due dates, attach Slack conversations, see descriptions, comments – pretty much everything you need to do in Trello, you’ll be able to do in Slack. It’s amazing – and use the Trello Alerts integration to receive updates in Slack whenever activity occurs on Trello cards. Everything all in one place. Brilliant.
Want to track your email campaigns in Slack? Sure, no problemo. Just find your email campaign provider from the App Directory and integrate it with Slack and you’re away.
I won’t miss this opportunity for a quick plug, mind you. If you’ve made the wisest email decision of all and have an account with GetResponse, then you’re probably aware of GetResponse Slack integration ready to be fired up right away.
With this integration, you’ll be notified in Slack whenever someone subscribes or unsubscribes, when your newsletter send is complete, and whenever someone opens or clicks-through from your newsletter or campaign. Now that’s really cool (just saying).
Social media monitoring
Notify and Google Alerts
Your digital marketing command center of course wouldn’t be complete if you couldn’t use it to find out exactly what’s being said about you on the web and on social media.
Well, there are integrations to cover all bases here, too. Check out Notify, which will alert you in Slack whenever your business or your competitors or anything else you could possibly think of gets mentioned on social media. You can also configure Google Alerts to send all notifications directly to Slack – blogger Shane Kercheval walks us through the setup on Medium. Thanks, Shane!
We’re all at the mercy of the numbers. So it’s just as well that there are numerous analytics integrations for Slack that will let you pull them down to your command center as and when you need them.
For Google Analytics, you should try out Arc, which turns the figures and graphs into easy-to-read and understand messages.
Alternatively, you can try out Statsbot, which works just like Slackbot, but for Google Analytics. Just ask Statsbot to pull up a summary of whatever you want to know about – last week’s subscription numbers, conversion metrics, messages, you name it – and the bot will return the information you’re after right there in Slack.
Is my enthusiasm infectious? I hope so. There are loads of great messaging apps available for teams, but none that can be turned into a truly valuable all-encompassing command centre in quite the same way as Slack. For digital marketers, this is the tool for you.
But what other Slack features and integrations are there that didn’t make this list? Please share your insights with our readers below – happy Slacking, everyone!