5 Strategies to Build a Slack Community for Events

Our current world is becoming increasingly online and digital. There is a significant paradigm shift in the way we communicate. Indeed, digital communication is not an option anymore but rather a requirement. The same applies to our communities; an online platform must be there for communication to happen.


Event communities are one of the best assets a business can have. They provide an opportunity to share information seamlessly, collect vital feedback, and drive actual, measurable results for businesses. One of the most significant decisions you have to make as an event manager or marketer in a company is to decide what platform to host your community, like a Slack community.  

Choosing the right Platform for your Community 

When building and growing a community, one has to choose a platform to use for communication and interaction Each available platform has its strengths and drawbacks, and your voice will shape how the community interacts. There are many options in the market to choose from, starting from the 'old-school' social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, real-time messaging platforms like Discord and Slack, and forum platforms like Discourse.  
 
In this article, our focus will be on Slack and Slack communities and strategies on how to build a functional Slack community.  

What Is Slack? 

Slack is an instant-messaging platform that supports real-time text-based conversations within private groups, public channels, and direct messages. The platform also supports limited audio and video call sessions. 

Slack connects people to the information they need. It brings people together to work and has transformed communications in organisations by helping people work in an inclusive, flexible, and more connected way.  

Slack communities are online digital congregations that provide a platform for users to connect with others and with Slack. 

This is what the Slack interface looks like.

Due to the instant messaging feature, most companies are replacing emails with Slack as a mode of communication for urgent matters. Reasons that companies have adopted Slack as a community tool include: 

  • Slack is a well-known and trusted platform 

  • It has sleek and professional aesthetics, intuitive and easy to use 

  • You can divide conversation into different well-organized channels 

  • Slack channels are readable because of the threaded conversations 

  • You can use bots to automate processes and improve UX 

  • Instant messaging is an effective tool for engaging in conversation, especially in small to medium groups 

  • Easy integration and linking to other apps 

Why a Slack Community? 

Communities are a great way to improve consumer retention, increase web traffic, and improve product development. Slack is a simple and intuitive platform that you can use to build a safe community and discussion space. It is free, easy to set up, and can be modified to adapt to your company's needs. Further, Slack was explicitly designed as a workplace communications tool to enable collaboration within professional teams. The collaboration features are what make Slack a robust community hosting tool.  

Here are some of the opportunities and benefits of joining such platforms. 

Communicating Instantly With the Masses 

Slack communities have an instant chat feature that allows one to dissipate information. Then, they garner a response instantly and in masses while simultaneously grabbing members' attention. This is made possible by the "@channel command" feature, which alerts every member notifying them that there is something important they need to know. 

Start typing @channel into the command area to notify all channel members

Visual Collaborative Feature 

Slack offers visually collaborative features that make it possible for one to share their screen. For example, share when explaining something to colleagues by demonstrating it on your screen and sharing it with them. This makes it easier for them to understand and resolve the confusion instantly, unlike when using phone calls or handwritten letters.  

Insight on Opinions Through Polls 

The fact that so many individuals participate in Slack groups offers an opportunity for insights into how people perceive certain things. One can achieve this by posing open-ended questions or running a poll and getting results since there are available Slack integrations for polls. 

Receive Feedback on Products and Servicey 

Communities and forums are excellent ways to collect feedback on your services and operations. You can use this feedback to understand your market and improve service delivery. You can easily test the market by introducing a new product to your community before the official release, finding out the problems facing your company, generating new prototype ideas, and improving your community. 

Slack offers limited marketing opportunities, but a community is a safe space where you can test products and offers. You can then motivate your community by giving special offers before releasing them to the community or creating members-only offers. 

Setting up and Configuring Your Slack Group 

Slack is a free resource and has a straightforward setup process. You can also upgrade to a paid plan to get advanced features whenever you feel the need. To open a Slack group: 

  1. Define Your Discussion Topic 

You can have different Slack channels to discuss various topics within the company. Before setting up a Slack workspace, decide on the subject of discussion. Having a defined topic lays the groundwork for your community's success.  

Your community topic should have an open approach and be linked to your company's products and services. You have greater chances of community success if similar and popular communities exist. Additionally, if your target group resonates with the discussion topic, you will likely be working on a solid foundation and can move to the next step. 

  1. Set up the Slack Community 

Setting up the Slack community is easy. Just follow these 6 steps:  

  1. Log onto the Slack website and sign up using your email address or google account 

  1. Follow the sign-up steps as the process progresses and provide a short and relatable name when prompted 

  1. Select Settings & administration from the dropdown in the top left corner of your Slack workspace to configure your community's settings  

  1. Modify the workspace design through Preferences from the dropdown menu 

  1. Add channels by selecting Add channels from the main menu on the left of the screen 

  1. Integrate any third-party service you'd like, including Google Drive, Trello, Zoom, and so on, through the Apps option from the main menu 

Send Invites to Grow the Slack Community 

You will have to send a direct invitation to anyone you want in the community. Slack has an invitation tool that you can use to invite people. Log into your Slack workspace, clicking on the name of your group in the top left corner of the screen to open the dropdown menu. 

There are two ways you can invite people to your Slack community: 

  • Copy-and-pasting the emails of the people you'd like to invite and send them each email 

  • Create an invitation link that you can send to up to 2000 people 

You should have enough emails to build a community by gathering the email addresses of prospective members before you can invite them. You can collect enough email addresses through any of the following ways: 

  • Using Slack directories such as Slofile and Standuply  to get listings of open slack groups 

  • Use post-purchase emails to market your community 

  • Advertise and add a joining link on your site 

Using your already existing offline community to grow your Slack is essential. Cultivate a loyal membership base, and you will benefit from the snowballing effects of organic community growth. 

Strategies to Build a Functional Slack Community 

Slack's capabilities are intended to link teams in the office. Still, you can develop, manage, and nurture a thriving community on Slack with a sound community strategy and a little imagination. One can employ the following strategies to build, nurture, and manage a successful Slack community.  

Send a Personal Greeting to New Members to Welcome Them 

Your welcome message to the new members has to be more than just a friendly greeting. It should be well-crafted and informative but not overwhelming. If the community is large, the welcoming messages can be automated, e.g. with an additional application.  

A friendly welcome message with some first instructions

Make a Secure Harbour for Your Team Members on a Slack Community 

You need to have fundamental steps in place so that if certain situations occur, say the members are uncomfortable, there is a strategy to address them. Achieving a haven for all your members will need your intervention and help, which include: 

Setting Guidelines for Conduct and Control 

You sure need a system and strategy to control the conduct of a community that has so many members and is as busy as Slack. These will involve setting rules, guidelines, and a code of conduct. 

Reviewing New Member Applications 

You have to review and at least understand the members you accept into your community. This includes reducing the risk of admitting rogue members and helping keep the members safe. You can use something like an application form. This will at least give you an overview of the person you are admitting before you approve their admission. 

Build a Sense of Belonging Among All Your Members 

It would be best if you made all the members of your community feel welcomed, valued, and included. You can achieve this by tagging them into conversations to ensure that they are involved or hosting events and fun activities to empower the members and build connections.  

Create Channels on a Slack Community That Encourage Discussions 

Slack conversations take place in channels, and there is no limit to the number of channels you may create. That doesn't mean you should go crazy; having a targeted channel list will help you manage and remain on top of talks, and it will be obvious how users may and should contribute. 

Some of the things you will do include: 

Make a Deliberate Decision on Which Channels to Build 

It can be achieved by starting with a few key channels directly connected to your community's goal and the issues you want people to discuss. Create channels that promote the behaviours you want your members to show. For example, if you want others to ask you questions, you set up a channel with basic posting standards for it; say you would like to cater to a certain subset of members while allowing for pointed discussions; what do you do? You create a separate channel for it. 

Avoid Ambiguity by Using Explicit Channel Names and Descriptions 

In naming the channels, you must be as specific as possible about the channel's objective and utilise the channel's subject or description sections to provide members with further information. If a channel has particular standards, such as what sorts of promotions are and aren't permitted, make a post with these criteria and bookmark it so everyone can readily access it.   

Examples of well chosen channel names in The Happy Event Planner

Be Willing to Have Private Channels 

Private channels may be a nice approach to accommodate many identities inside a single Slack community space; this makes individuals feel more comfortable conducting particular conversations. In our community, The Happy Event Planner, we have private channels devoted to our customers, persons participating in our different programs, accountability groups, and specific subsets of our members who asked for a private but controlled place. 

Maintain Flexibility and Evaluate as Needed 

Always take stock of your channels and how busy they are.  You may also wish to modify your general community approach at some time, which may include adding or removing channels. You may research by asking individuals or groups how they feel about it. Alternatively, conduct quantitative research by conducting a survey or poll. 

A message sent online through a Slack community.
Slack message with team communicating and collaborating in app on desktop and mobile.

Gather Feedback 

To better understand your community and members, you must provide feedback venues. It is a wonderful way of gathering new ideas, spotting problems, and determining how and where to improve. You can achieve this by creating dedicated channels for feedback. Then, direct members to these channels if they wish to participate. Creating a channel dedicated to feedback will also encourage consumer feedback and prevent admins from intruding on existing discussions on the feedback.  

Final Question: Free vs. Paid Plan 

In case you are wondering if Slack is free or paid, the answer is simple: it is both. Depending on the size your community will have, you may choose between its free and premium plans. It’s essential to understand the features of both options before you start setting up your account.  

Update: Slack just announced a change in their pricing plan that will affect all free slack communities . 
 
“We’re also simplifying plan limits. Instead of a 10,000-message limit and 5 GB of storage, we are giving full access to the past 90 days of message history and file storage, so you’ll never have to guess when your team will hit your limit. The majority of our active free teams will have access to more of their message history with the new 90-day limit compared to the previous limit. No matter how much your free team uses Slack, you’ll always have access to 90 days of history."

Depending on your Slack Community Strategy, this can be a positive or a negative change.  

This is part of the August 2022 Update from Slack

Add Value to Your Community with Events 

Organizing exclusive community events is a great way to engage your memebers and stay close to your community. Events add a huge amount of value to your community. Slack is not made to manage guests and events; hence it is not 100% effective.  

Every event manager and marketer understands the importance of time-saving processes in event management and planning. At Sweap, we will help you automate all time-consuming event marketing tasks and make your company events more efficient and successful. Request a demo today to see how our Event Efficiency Platform can scale your community event strategy

Join the Fastest Growing Community for #eventprofs 

We hope that the strategies discussed in this article will help you create a successful online community and at the same time, add value for your members and help you grow. 

Join the fastest growing Slack community for #eventprofs and take a look at how we handle our community. If you've been thinking of starting or joining a Slack community, there's no better moment than now. As you can see, Slack communities provide fantastic opportunities to all members. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact our sales team. 

Article by Oliver Edwards
A creative community builder with a knack for strategy, communication and humans.