In just four short years, Slack has amassed over 5M daily active users and 1.5M paid accounts. To most of its users, the team-based messaging app is a lot more than a way to connect with colleagues—it’s a culture—stemming largely from the disruptive nature of the software startup itself.
While most office software takes advantage of muted colors and robotic copy to help users fall asleep at the desk, Slack feels playful, taking advantage of a blissfully simply interface, vibrant colors, and lots of emojis to make the digital office feel a little more like a giant group chat.
One of Slack’s most useful aspects is its long list of integrations, apps, and chatbots. Similar to the early days of the App Store, developers have made it possible to do almost anything right from Slack. From daily web traffic reports to team-wide polls, Slack’s most popular apps have you covered.
Browsing the long list of apps for Slack can be daunting—here’s a list of a few Slackbots and integrations that’ll help you stay organized and streamline the way your team collaborates.
When it comes to cloud-based team collaboration across documents and files, Google has always been the industry standard. If your team works digitally, it’s likely you’re already using a few of Google’s products.
Google Docs makes it easy to share documents and collaborate on projects. Sign up is free, and there’s no limit to the number of documents you can create or share.
The Slack integration makes it even easier to share documents with your team. Simply copy and paste the URL into any channel or chat and your document will be shared according to your document’s sharing preferences.
In a sense, Slack+Google Drive almost completely eliminates the need for communication and document sharing over email. It takes fewer clicks, and having the added benefit of threaded messages makes it easier to keep track of the conversation.
In a nutshell, Trello helps teams organize projects by taking advantage of vertical lists and movable cards. You can also assign cards, add due dates, and subdivide cards into multiple checklists. Most of Trello’s features are free to you and your team forever (including both Slack apps), and upgrading to Gold will get you access to a whole host of Power-Ups (think apps for Trello) and extra abilities.
Trello has two separate apps for Slack, one that allows you to get notifications about your Trello boards in various Slack channels, and another that allows you to edit the content of boards, create lists, and move cards without ever having to leave Slack.
If you’re using Trello to manage ongoing projects, enabling Trello Alerts through Slack is a great way to update the entire team about a project’s details simultaneously, greatly reducing the need for sit-down meetings.
Using the Trello app within specified channels makes it easy to create and edit lists, publish cards, and assign tasks to teammates.
In a sense, you can take advantage of all of Trello’s best features without ever having to visit the app itself.
For distributed teams, frequent video meetings are a mainstay of solid communication. Hangouts are great, but sending links over email and scheduling digital calendar events can get hectic quickly.
The Google+ Hangouts app for Slack is simple but essential. With the /hangout command, you and everyone in the channel you’re in will get a link to the Hangout and a control panel right in the channel.
Don’t waste your time hunting through hundreds of emails for the right invitation—just type /hangout and join.
To-do bot is an incredibly simple task management application for Slack teams of all sizes. Slack may have its own reminder system, but it’s hard to organize large projects. To-do bot makes it easier by grouping tasks according to channel and adding a more intuitive interface.
To-do bot is currently forever free for its existing feature list, so it’s the perfect application for teams looking to add more functionality to their reminders app without losing efficiency.
For larger teams, polls are a great way to get quick insight into your business’s internal operations. From sprint planning to worker satisfaction, Polly makes it easy for teams to create native, multi-question Slack polls that garner more participation than email and web-based surveys.
Polly offers a wide range of templates, anonymity for responders, recurring/scheduled polls and surveys, and automated reminders. This bot is great for anything from weekly satisfaction surveys as well as daily stand-up meetings.
This is where things start to get fun. GrowthBot is like a highly specialized version of Siri specifically for digital marketers. It can instantly tell you your daily website traffic, give you tips on email outreach, or even tell you which keywords a particular website ranks for.
Here’s a small list of the things you can have GrowthBot help you with:
- Company info about freshbooks.com
- Lookup email firstname.lastname@example.org
- What keywords does buffer.com rank for?
- What PPC keywords is uber.com buying?
- What marketing software does zendesk.com use?
- Show me a funny cartoon
- Which products do you integrate with
- Show me a random example of what you can do
GrowthBot’s feature list is too long to summarize—if you want to know the rest, you’re just going to have to try it.
The Lay of the Land
Slack’s enormous user growth has changed the way teams interact with workplace applications. The dreary software typically associated with project planning, document collaboration, team communication, and task management has officially been revitalized by Slack’s colorful work culture.
Instant messaging is something all of us are used to, and being able to text new tasks to your project planning app brings the workplace a little closer to home.
For teams with largely distributed components, taking advantage of Slack apps is must if you expect to stay organized. But remember, don’t overdo it—too many integrations will only make collaboration more cumbersome. Sometimes a simple message really is the best way to communicate.