Slack – A Team Communication Platform
Slack is one of those life changing apps if you really put some effort into understanding it. My team is growing. We are a team of 3, all located around the world. As we are growing and communication is increasing, I was starting to worry I would miss something as each team member has a different platform they prefer to message me on. Slack has provided my team a unified communication interface that has allowed us all to work in the same space.Slack is an AMAZING communications tool! Click To Tweet
Slack is a tool that can take a bit of effort to get your mind around. It allows you to bring into one place, everyone you need to communicate with on your team. There is a mobile app, web-based app and desktop app, so you have access no matter the tool you are on.
Slack can be viewed as two broad areas – Teams and Channels
Channels – Located just to the right of the Teams. Channels are able to be more granular. This could be an events channel, promotions channel or even further broken down to single team events.
Into each channel go all the accounts or users. You are able to direct message within the channel or even directly to other users privately.
Will Slack this replace e-mail? Great question! No, Slack will not replace email though can be seen as a email reducer. It can create an environment of instant communication within your team and organization.
Though it does have its own file management and storage system, up to 5GB on the free version, Slack integrates with tools like Google Drive and Dropbox. I see many more integrations on the horizon soon.
Communication is similar to an instant messenger on other platforms. There are settings to create small communication groups amongst certain team members, or you can broadcast to all members of a channel at one time. To add new members, you simple set them up and they are notified via email to set up their own login.
Slack is a robust team communication system that is free to use. Upon reaching a 10,000 message limit you will then need to upgrade to the larger accounts. These messages are all archived and allow for easy reference through a search feature.
Security is very good with a deep level of encryption.
I am thoroughly impressed, we have even launched a Slack for beginners course. If that interests you, you can check that out the Slack Made Easy Course. Did I mention the course is created and held all within Slack? We teach you how to use Slack quickly and effectively for optimal production.
I hope you found this useful, please contact us here at Dotto Tech anytime!
Until next time … Have fun stormin’ the castle!
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Steve Dotto here. How the heck are you doing this fine day? Me? I’m a little bit anxious that I’m going to do a good job on today’s demo because this is one of those apps that I think if you really give it its due, it might be life-changing for you. But it’s a little bit complex to understand and a lot of people say it’s just another thing when really it’s another thing that eliminates a whole bunch of just another things. The app that we’re going to be talking about today is Slack and I’m just going to give you a quick background of why it’s so relevant for me. My team is growing. I’ve got a virtual team now of three people in addition to myself spread all over the world and as my team has grown, I’ve found that I’m getting stretched to my limit communication-wise because each one of my team members likes to use a different tool for communications. One of them loves to communicate with me on Facebook messenger. Another loves to communicate with me in Skype Messenger, the instant messaging side of Skype. One uses email. Actually, they all use email fairly well but the bottom line was that I was getting stretched into all of these different places and beginning to lose cycles, beginning to lose the amount of time to find something and I was worrying that I was going to miss something important because I wasn’t looking in the right place for something that was relevant. Along at the perfect time comes Slack in my life. It’s been around for a little while and teams are really discovering that it works for them. It’s this new phenomenon of a different type of information overload which I’m calling, for lack of a better term, fractured communications, the fact we’re using all of these different channels to communicate with and we can get lost between the channels. Information can get lost and things can get off the rails. Slack gives us a unified communication interface that allows us to all work in the same space and they make it worthwhile because they give us a whole bunch of benefits if we commit to communicating in Slack itself. You want to have a quick look? I think you should stick around because we’re looking at Slack today on DottoTech. I have to apologize for the bit of a long intro but Slack is a tool that takes a little bit of time to get your head around. Now I mentioned to you the reason that I really like Slack and why Slack is working so well for me. It allows me to bring together into one place all of the people who I need to communicate with on my team and flow all of our communications into the one space. There’s a mobile app which I’ll show you in just a few moments but right now I’m in the desktop app. There’s also a web-based app that you can use so Slack allows you to access your account from any tool that you happen to be on, be it your smartphone, your computer or even using web access from somebody else’s system. Now Slack divides itself into kind of two broad areas. The first area is your teams. Now teams could be companies, they could be departments or they could be project-based. The second thing we have are the channels. Channels allow us to be more granular with information so we might have a marketing team for our company. Within that marketing team, we might have an events channel, a promotions channel, channels set at that level or it could be more granular and we could have a channel set for a single event. We’re going to Social Media Marketing World; here are all of the details and here’s all of the conversation around that. Into each channels comes all of the different accounts and the individuals can join into channels, which means they’ll be flagged in the conversations in the channels. You can also direct message back and forth and communicate at any point with all of your team members, which is the main way that you’re going to be using Slack for the most part. It works like another instant messengering application at that point. Now people always ask well, how is this different from email or other instant messengers? It’s different than email because it’s very instant and it’s very team-based so your information is not getting lost in the big email and there isn’t as big a barrier to entry as far as opening your email, downloading your email, opening it and then replying. It’s much instant messenger-y. It’s not going to be for everybody. It doesn’t replace email completely. It reduces the amount of email you do because most of your external communication with clients and prospecting, those sorts of things are still going to go through email but with your team, your team should have far fewer emails and you should have no more of those CYA emails where people are copying you back and forth and you’ve got a huge email nested thread to read through in order to find the relevant information. Slack completely eliminates that productivity vampire. That alone probably makes it worth it for some of you to embrace Slack. But it does more than that. It also gives us one place to store common files. It’ll allow us to integrate with tools like Google Drive and Dropbox but it also has its own file management and file storage system. In the free version, you get up to 5 GB of space per team so you’ve got quite a bit of space that you can store files. But you can also integrate other corporate tools or other tools like Dropbox if you choose to so it’s really how you decide to set up your own system. Communication happens just as you’d expect. You can send information back and forth to people, saying hey, how it’s going all through the instant messenger app site. You could have nice communication going back and forth, all threaded and tagged together. If you’re communicating in channels, everybody within that channel will get the notification. You can also set up private groups. If you’ve just been working on a small little thing or you want a private management group that’s slightly separate, you can set them up as well. So it’s very flexible as far as how you set it up. The way that you enroll different team members and enroll people in Slack is you just invite them in. Send them an invite, they get it by email then they sign up and then they’re brought in. the App itself is free and most people I know are still using the free version of the app. Where you start to have to pay is when your message archive that you want to be able to search is larger than 10,000 messages or when you need more of that 5 GB space per team for storage. There are a variety of different entry points that you can go to the paid version. I mentioned that 10,000 message limit. That’s one of the real strengths of Slack, the ability to be able to search back on messages at any time. Far faster and far more efficient than finding information in email or anything except, the possible exception in my mind, of Evernote. The search is lightning fast and very accurate. So if you decide that it’s a tool you’re going to use ongoing in your business, then upgrading to that larger than 10,000 message bucket that you can search because it’s very valuable because then you can search back through your whole historical archive. Now you don’t have to worry. That’s not something you have to make a decision on early on in your Slack career because it takes a long time to reach that 10,000 messages and even if you wait beyond that to decide that you’re going to go for the paid tier, you only see the first 10,000 messages but the others are still stored for you and available for later. They use a fairly deep and good level of encryption as far as security goes so you’re in very good shape as far as all of that and it’s very flexible. You could set it up for multiple teams. I’ve got it set up for my DottoTech team, for the four people that I work with. We also have it set up here to support a course that we’re teaching on Slack. I’ll put a notification of that at the end of this video. We’re actually using Slack as a delivery mechanism to teach it. We just launched this last week but we have some 40 or 50 students already taking the course and each of the modules we set up as a channel. If you go and look, you see the different media types. Here we’ve got a video available, which is basically the introduction to the whole course running in YouTube that they can view right within Slack. Isn’t that cool? And the integrations go way beyond that. I’m going to have to do another demo showing the video conferencing integrations, how it works with Dropbox and other tools, Evernote. It has got integrations with a large variety of tools. Pretty much it’s kind of like Evernote in the fact that everybody wants to get a piece of Slack so they’re all building their applications with Slack in mind. There’s native integration already for tools like Trello, the task and to-do list manager, for Wunderlist, Asana. We’re seeing all of them coming down the pipe and finding ways to integrate with this tool to make sure that they take advantage of Slack’s communications capabilities. I promised I would show you the mobile app before we’re done and if I didn’t promise you, I should have promised you because the mobile app is just as good as the desktop app. Here it is. I’m launching it on my smartphone. They do a good job of kind of working your way through the tools. Here if I swipe to the left, it brings up all of the different settings. I can switch teams. I can only see one team at a time in the mobile app but I can switch back and forth between the different teams just that easily. If I swipe to the left, I’ve got all of my channels and I’ve got all of my teams and I’ve got all of those communication tools available to me there as well. So you can see that the mobile app really is identical to the desktop app in form and in function so all of your training and all of your learning on one platform translates across into the other. Of course, it’s iOS and Android and everything in between so it works on pretty much all of the different mobile platforms as well except Blackberry. It doesn’t work on Blackberry. Sorry. I could spend hours on Slack and I’m probably going to do a few more demos on Slack coming down the pipe, especially if you let me know in the Comments area if you want to know more about Slack, if this is a tool that you like and that you want to know more about. But it’s one that I’m really excited about. It’s changing how I work and I can see the benefit on a daily basis. I hope you found this video today to be useful. Now there are three ways to stay in touch with us here on DottoTech. The first is subscribe to this channel, the second subscribe to our newsletter and the third is DottoTech is a community-funded site supported through our partners at Patreon. If you want to know about the different perks involved in being a patron supporter, I encourage you to drop by our website. And as a completely self-serving note before we’re done, I’m going to put a link in to this page which is the description of our Slack Made Easy course. If you’ve decided you like what you see of Slack here and you want to learn more about using it, why not take a look at the course? You can be a member of the group that I was just showing you. We basically use Slack to teach you how to use Slack. It’s a $40 investment and you will learn how to use Slack quickly, effectively and get you in and productive as quickly as possible. So we’ll include the link in the description field. That’s all the time we have for today’s show. I am Steve Dotto. Until next time, have fun storming the castle.