When you refer to, “social media”, there’s a standard set of usual channel suspects that come to mind: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest.
And for all of those clients eager to appeal to the influencer-wannabe market that is Gen Z, let’s not forget about TikTok.
The point is, most businesses probably wouldn’t categorize Slack user groups as a “social media channel”. If anything, most people would define it as a project management tool with a social-friendly feature set.
But there are plenty of parallels you can draw between the tool and other more popular social platforms. For example, on most social networks and on Slack groups, you can tag someone with the “@” symbol and they’re notified via a handle.
Slack groups are private and public sub-channels where individuals can gather around common interests a la Facebook Groups.
Here’s an overview of how to approach putting Slack user groups to work for your social media management clients:
- Educate your clients on the “why” of using Slack
- Engage with the right subject matter
- Research current groups or create one of your own
- Be mindful of over-promotion
Educate Your Clients About Why They Should Use a Slack Group
One of the reasons why Slack is a worthwhile social avenue to explore is its size. Yes, the platform has nine million weekly active users but Slack groups themselves are a much smaller microcosm of community.
This is especially true when compared to other similar marketing channels. There are four million groups on LinkedIn, for example, and less than 200 active and popular communities on Slack.
In theory, you have more of an opportunity to be heard and foster influence on a platform like Slack. Influencer marketing works in a similar fashion. At the end of the day, it’s not simply about the number of followers someone has but their ability to engage them.
In these situations, reliability is more important than popularity. And Slack groups are the perfect place to find people who are reliably engaging with and relating to each other.
Choose the Right Slack User Group Topics
Before you make a case for Slack to your social media management clients, familiarize yourself with the current Slack group eco-system.
One way to do this is to join relevant marketing-focused groups.
Here are a couple worth checking out:
To better serve your client’s needs on Slack, you have to gain experience with the platform first-hand. You’ll be able to provide insight regarding how people interact and where the opportunity lies relevant to a client’s audience base.
You may even find Slack to be a great resource for lead generation, seeing as some Slack groups offer sub-channels for service needs and/or job boards.
This audience base will heavily influence your approach to the channel. Not every type of client is going to make sense for Slack.
Here are a few niches that do generate activity:
- HR (e.g. People Geeks)
- Developers (e.g. DevOps Chat)
- Designers (e.g. Designer Hangout)
- Gamers (e.g. #Gaming)
- Startups and small business (e.g. Bootstrapped)
Check out a searchable database like Slofile to research target Slack groups by category, language, or region.
Leverage Current Slack Communities or Create a New One
In terms of how you might use a Slack group for potential clients, there are two routes to take:
- Create a new group
- Leverage conversations in existing groups
When you present the idea of Slack groups to a client, their first inclination might be to create one of their own. Doing so would certainly give you more control and allow for better customization around interests that are highly relevant to the brand.
But starting a new Slack group will require a fair amount of effort on your part to help grow it.
If your client has a sizable email list and base of existing customers, promotion becomes a bit easier. If not, you’re working from scratch trying to simultaneously build both brand awareness and mid-funnel consideration.
Be conscious of the time and resources you have available before advising a client to pursue Slack in addition to their current marketing channels.
A lower barrier of entry for just about any client might be to instead leverage current communities on Slack for social listening, content strategy, awareness, and lead generation.
How to Use Slack for Business
- Build out potential content and campaign ideas based on channel conversations
- Identify potential influencers in the space for future partnerships around brand awareness
- Promote an upcoming event or initiative
- Promote relevant content to help in driving website traffic
- Gather feedback on a product or service offering
Slack Etiquette 101
Before jumping into any of the aforementioned Slack promotional tactics, remember that with the tight-knit feel most Slack groups offer, members are sensitive to promotions. In fact, you might even find that the community guidelines for some groups prohibit advertising of any sort.
Here are some dos and don’ts for keeping your Slack etiquette in check:
- DO use a non-branded account to engage with members.
- DO offer a unique and interesting perspective to help in building your thought leadership persona.
- DO remain consistent with your Slack group activity.
- DON’T try to hard-sell people on products or services.
- DON’T immediately jump into group conversation without first feeling out how members interact.
- DON’T talk like a marketing robot.
Final Thoughts: How to Put Slack User Groups to Work for Your Social Media Clients
If you want to stay ahead of the social curve and provide clients with valuable avenues to pursue in building community, building Slack into your strategy might just give you an edge.
With that said, take the time to familiarize yourself with the channel while keeping the needs of brands you’re representing in mind. Creating a Slack user group without a plan — one that lies inactive and one-side in conversation — is almost as good as no Slack group at all.
Keep your client social media efforts organized and streamlined under one roof. Learn more about using Social Report for agencies big and small.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.