How to Use Slack | Features You Aren’t Using (But Need to Be)

How to use Slack Features for Better Team Management

Are you tired of hopping between tools and software you use to run your business? 

Do you check emails on Gmail at one moment and then track orders on your Stripe dashboard?

Do you communicate with your assistant and clients via email, and it gets challenging to find some information later on?

Are you exhausted and frustrated by using so many apps only to find yourself drained at the end of the day?

If you agree to the questions above, my friend, you are in the right spot. In this productivity guide, you’ll learn how to use Slack and different Slack features that 90% of people don’t use. As a result, Slack will become the single most crucial point for your entire team’s communications.

Fact: Do you know Slack can reduce your email usage by 32% and meeting usage by 27%?

Slack is a channel-based messaging platform that allows you to work with your team effectively. Additionally, you can connect software and tools to automate stuff and easily find information in one place without the need to hop from one tool to another.

Let’s explore the features of Slack without wasting our time.

Why Use Slack? 

So, why should you use Slack? The answer is simple: to save your time.

As an entrepreneur and a business owner, your time is your most precious asset. And it would be best if you didn’t waste it on tasks that can be eliminated, delegated, or automated.

Here 3 SOLID ways how the Slack app can help you improve your workflow:

  1. Communicate with your team effectively,
  2. Manage your clients,
  3. Run your company without losing your mind.

Further, the following are a few reasons why you should use Slack and how it saves you time.

Organize your work

Slack is a channel-based messaging platform. The channels in slacks are nothing but pockets or groups of people. Further, you can communicate with people, send files, and run automation inside these channels.

For example, you can have a channel to discuss sales and name it #sales. Or you could have a channel to manage SEO for your business website as #seo.

The # (hashtag) gets prefixed by default to the channel names. Further, Slack lets you sort channels alphabetically, with recent activity or priority.

You can also restrict channels (more on this later).

Therefore, with the help of this Slack feature, you can organize your work and focus only on tasks that require your attention.

Virtual Workspace 

Slack says on its homepage, “Welcome to your new HQ.” With all the app integrations, communication features, and cross-platform availability, Slack can become your virtual workspace.

And it’s conducive for online businesses that lack physical offices. Or maybe when your entire team is from all around the world.

You can download Slack for iPhone, macOS, Windows, or Android devices.

More Productive

The entire point of using Slack is to save time and increase your productivity.

Imagine conversing via email with your clients, contractor, or employees. Sometimes they text you on Facebook, and sometimes they call you as well. With all the hanging pieces of information on different platforms, it can become difficult for you to figure out the source at a later stage.

Here’s what you can do instead: onboard your clients and employees on Slack! 

Moreover, with Slack, you can be mindful of the availability of your clients and employees. The Slack app shows a sleep icon according to the timezone and preferences of a user.

Connect Outside Organizations

According to Slack, there’s a 64% decrease in backlog tickets for customer support while using the Slack Connect feature.

Slack Connect is among the best features of Slack. With this feature, you can connect and work with people or organizations outside your company.

For example, if you have outsourced your business’s customer support to an outside organization, you can invite them on Slack without needing them to have a Slack account. However, if they create an account on Slack, they’ll get a three months Slack premium for FREE.

To use Slack Connect, you can invite the members to any channel in your workspace. 

Click on the channel name to open it, and then click the dropdown beside the channel’s name to invite members.

Connect Tools and Automate Workplace

Another cool Slack feature is allowing your workspace to connect with many apps. Besides using apps for your workspace, the Slack Connect feature enables other organizations to coordinate efficiently.

Some of the apps that you can use in Slack are:

  • Calendly
  • Zoom
  • Google Drive
  • Jira
  • DocuSign
  • Zapier

Built for All types of Employee Roles

With Slack Connect, you can work with all types of employees in a single place, no matter their role. Whether you have a sales team in India or a marketing agency in Canada, you can bring all of them to one table.

Few benefits of using Slack with all your employees:

  • Faster closing of deals,
  • Better customer relationships and increased retention,
  • Quickly work with your supplier and vendors.

Remote Team

Slack could be your virtual office if you have a remote team working in different time zones. Slack allows you to collaborate and hire talents from all over the world without restrictions of borders.

More on this is below!

How Slack Makes Remote Work Quick and Easy?

Slack is the best communication and management tool in the market regarding remote working. Sixty-five out of the Fortune 100 companies use Slack in some way or another. Some of the most prominent names include Amazon, IBM, and PayPal.

Several Slack features make remote work quick and easy. 

  • Channels bring clarity and organize your communication,
  • You don’t juggle tabs after installing apps inside Slack,
  • You can communicate with both your client and employees in one place. And add relevant people to the conversation.

Improving Workplace Communication with Channels

The meaty work happens on channels on Slack. You will see two default channels, #random and #generally, that gets created automatically after creating a new workspace.

You need access to your email address to create a Slack workspace. Further, don’t forget to invite your teammates to your new workspace.

Now, it’s time to create additional channels based on your requirements. Here are some common examples to get you started: #contentwriters, #marketing, #sales, #clients, #customer-support, and more.

So, next time you want updates from the marketing team, you know which channel you have to look for.

Click on the “+” near the Channels dropdown to create a new channel.

Team Availability and App Integrations

Do you know that you can see the availability of your teammates on Slack? This Slack feature is beneficial if your workforce comprises people from different time zones.

When a member is online, Slack shows a green dot on the person’s profile picture. Similarly, you’ll see a sleep icon when they’re sleeping, or it’s nighttime in their time zone.

Furthermore, your team members can also set a status for additional information on their availability. For instance, if Jack is vacationing, he can set his status “vacationing” and change it later.

To set your status, click on your profile picture in the top right corner of the app and do it from there.

Privatization Of Channels

Not every piece of information is for every person on the team. For example, you don’t want your financial details to be available to contractors or freelancers working with you.

Fortunately, Slack allows you to make private channels and restrict conversation to the members added to that channel.

Here’s how to make your channel private:

  1. Visit the channel you want to set as private.
  2. Click on the dropdown menu appearing adjacent to the channel name.
  3. Go to the Settings tab that appears and make your channel private.

Remember, when you make a channel private, all team members will lose access except the ones who are explicitly added to the channel. For security and privacy reasons, you can’t make a channel public once it’s been converted to a private channel.

Voice and Video Calls

Thanks to Slack voice and video calls feature, communicating with your team has become easier. Your team members can exclusively call you or start a call in a channel.

This Slack feature is specifically helpful when your teammates or clients need your urgent attention.

To start a call with a team member:

  1. Go to the Direct messages dropdown on the left of the Slack desktop or web app.
  2. Find that person and tap.
  3. On the chat window that appears, look for the call button icon in the top right corner.
  4. Click on it and then tap Slack call.

To start a call on a channel:

  1. Go to the Channels dropdown and open the channel you want to call in.
  2. Click the dropdown that appears beside #channel-name.
  3. Click on Start a call on the window that appears next.

Slack Features

Even though we have discussed essential Slack features that are available, let us tell you a few more of them. Some of these features have been added recently in 2022.

But first, you should know that even though Slack has a free plan, its best abilities come with a paid plan. Here is the pricing for the plans available on Slack:

  1. Free — $0 per month
  2. Pro — $7.25 per month
  3. Business+ — $12.5 per month
  4. Enterprise Grid — you need to contact the sales team.

Since you are new to Slack, we recommend you start with free. As you get more comfortable using Slack, you can invest in a paid plan per your preferences.

Personalize Channels

Personalizing Slack channels provides additional insight into what a channel is all about. Moreover, it helps members who join the channel later.

Besides changing the channel name, you can add topics and descriptions for the channel to make it more beginner-friendly for new teammates. 

Messaging

Messaging in Slack is pretty straightforward. Here are a few things to note:

  • Text formatting is allowed. 
  • You can use the @ to call anyone in the channel.
  • @channel will notify everybody in the channel.
  • You can add emojis and gifs as well.

Huddles and Clips

Huddles and Clips are two of the most recent additions to Slack. With remote work becoming the norm, huddles and clips will enable the remote workforce to work even more effectively.

Huddles are analogous to Google Meet, while Clips are to Loom.

Huddles let you and your team talk and video chat in real-time. The best part? It also allows you to do multiple screen sharing.

Now clips let you record your screen and video, which you can share in a channel. Easy replacement of screen recording apps! 

Apps and Integration

Slack apps and integrations work with thousands of third-party services. You can discover apps to install in the Slack library. Also, note that you can only integrate up to 10 apps on a free Slack plan.

You can add slack apps to your entire workspace and particular channels. Therefore, you get the flexibility to control which apps would be accessible to others.

Workflow Builder

Workflow Builder is also a new addition to the list of Slack features. It is an automation tool (similar to Zapier) that lets you automate mundane tasks.

Here’s the most exciting part: you don’t need to know any coding! And Workflow Builder works both inside and outside Slack.

Here are some Workflows examples to help you get started with the Workflow Builder.

Note: Workplace Builder is not available in the free Slack plan.

File Share

Another cool Slack feature is that you can share files of various types, including documents, images, and videos. Here are file storage options for different Slack plans:

  • Free — Files from the last 90 days 
  • Pro — 10 GB per member
  • Business+ — 20 GB per member
  • Enterprise Grid subscription — 1 TB (1,000 GB) per member

Security

If you’re a concerned netizen, you might want to know if your data is secure. Thankfully, Slack provides enterprise-grade data protection and complies with necessary privacy requirements.

Slack Atlas

Slack Atlas is a paid-on feature that only comes with Business+ and Enterprise Grid subscriptions. This feature converts boring profiles of people in your team into rich profiles with contextual information.

The reasoning behind this is simple. When you know more about the people you work with, work gets done faster, and productivity in the company increases.

Conclusion

There you have it! The most comprehensive guide on how to use Slack. Now you’re set up to increase your productivity and get more work done with your employees. 

Today, you learned about Slack features that 90% of people don’t even use. With these features, you can boost the productivity of your entire digital workforce. And do what’s most important for your business — close more deals and increase revenue.

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