That’s a good question. When I launched internet marketing Slack community Online Geniuses in 2015, I had a few thoughts as to why this might be a good idea. Now that we’ve hit 8000 members, I’ve got a few more answers.
For those of you not yet familiar with Slack, it’s one of the more robust communication apps around. Slack was launched in 2014 as a business tool for helping teams connect and work together on projects and initiatives. Since then, it’s been used by millions of people around the world in both free and paid versions, in traditional business settings and beyond.
For communities like Online Geniuses, the decision to use Slack for our community was kind of a no-brainer. Since many people were already using it at work, the transition to implementing it for our community was an easy one. It’s free to start and run, and it’s still on the fresh side, so people regularly check it.
Here are some of the high points of why Slack has been a good choice for our community:
- As I said, many people are already using Slack at work, but even for newbies, onboarding is pretty simple and intuitive. Plus, the free version is excellent and sufficient for the needs of many groups.
- As a real time chat or collaboration tool, Slack is ideal. The live chat function enables you to get instant feedback during fast paced conversation or creative process. And with the ability to tag people, you can send out instant email notices to pull in the folks that aren’t already in attendance.
- For important group messaging, unlike Skype and WhatsApp, you can tag everyone in your channel for instant broadcasting of timely information and collection of feedback.
- The fact that emails are a part of the connection between group members makes the platform more immediate and intimate, than let’s say, Facebook. This kind of multi-leveled connecting creates a cohesiveness within the group that is well suited to networking, as it also offers the opportunity for members to selectively build their own relationships, independent of the Slack community.
- Unlike other platforms, Slack offers analytics for community administrators, providing useful user data to help improve content, scheduling and targeted outreach.
- Slack has lots of integrations with outside apps such as Twitter, where you can post regular updates, and hiohmy.com, allowing you to foster more random connections within your community.
- Additional advanced features include searchability, phone calling and a custom bot that you can design to share the rules with everyone who joins your community.
- With well-designed versions for desktop, iPhone and Android, Slack is versatile and accessible, making it an ideal choice for communities with a range of technical capabilities and communication styles.
There’s no substitute for this kind of real-time interaction. When it comes to community building, especially when you want people to get to know each other personally and appreciate one another’s personalities, Slack definitely offers the right kind of environment. At least in the case of Online Geniuses, 8,000 people seem to think so!