13 Slack Tips and Best Practices to Hack Productivity

Content Writer
January 22, 2024

If you're using Slack just for messaging and occasional polls, you're not using it right. It's time to change that.

In this article, we’re going to cut straight to the chase, showing you how to turn Slack into a central hub for all your work.

Team communication? Check. Customer support? Covered. Creating marketing materials and even using it as an internal help desk? All doable in Slack.

Here are 13 top tips for Slack to help you work more intelligently and efficiently.

13 best Slack tips and best practices

1. Customize notifications for focused Slack use

Ping, ping, ping… The constant stream of Slack notifications, whenever someone messages you, can be overwhelming and seriously disrupt your concentration. So, our first Slack tip is all about bringing some order to your Slack notifications.

Here's the deal: Slack gives you the power to set up notifications tailored to your preferences, and there are two main types—keyword and channel-specific notifications.

Now, let's break them down:

  • Keyword notifications: Let's say you're leading a project, we'll call it "Project Delta." You can set up notifications for any mentions of "Delta." To make it happen, head over to Slack's “Notifications” settings, click on 'My Keywords', and then simply enter your specific keywords.

Channel-specific notifications: Now, this is where you can really fine-tune your notifications. Customize each channel's notifications based on their importance. For those critical project channels where you don't want to miss a beat, you can enable notifications for all messages. But for those more general channels, you might opt for a summary or even mute them altogether. Easy, right? Just click on the channel name, and select “Notification settings.”

2. Use Slackbot for reminders

You're deep into a task, and then a message from your manager pops up in Slack. But you don't want to disrupt your workflow. So, what do you do?

It's simple. You just ask Slack to remind you later.

For instance, type in "/remind me to message my manager at 2 PM" in any channel or direct message. And voilà! Slackbot will send you a helpful reminder at the designated time, ensuring you don't forget important tasks.

3. Create custom emojis

According to Slack itself, customer emojis are an expression of your team’s culture. They can be great if you want to add a bit of fun and personality to Slack.

Imagine your team has a running joke or a unique catchphrase. Instead of just typing it out, why not turn it into a custom emoji? For example, if your team often uses the phrase "Let's crush it!" you can create a custom emoji like ‘:crushit:’ to add a playful touch to your messages.

Custom emojis don’t have to be limited to humor. They can also enhance communication. For instance, you can create emojis representing project status, such as a green checkmark for “completed” or a red exclamation mark for “urgent.”

We’ve done the entire article on how to create custom emojis in Slack, make sure to check it out.

4. Use Slack shortcuts

One of Slack's hacks is its keyboard shortcuts, which can save you a ton of time, quite literally.

For instance, when you want to compose a new message, just press Ctrl + N (or Command + N for Mac). Heading to a meeting and need to update your status? Simply press Ctrl + Shift + Y (or Command + Shift + Y).

Cool, isn’t it? If you need more practical keyboard shortcuts, read our article here.

5. Leverage threads

As you know, Slack channels get busy. So, if you’re discussing important project details or trying to resolve a customer’s complaint, you might want to jump into threads instead.

To start a thread, simply click “Reply,” and your conversation will be neatly tucked under the original message. This will help you keep related discussions in one place, making them easier to follow.

6. Set a clear status

Another Slack best practice that gets sometimes forgotten is status updates. Slack status updates allow you to communicate your availability to your colleagues.

Imagine you're in a virtual meeting or deep into a project, and you don't want to be interrupted. Set your status to “Do Not Disturb.” It signals to your team that you're focused and should not be disturbed unless it's urgent.

Alternatively, if you're available for chat or collaboration, update your status to “Available.” Your colleagues will know that you're ready for communication.

To set your status, click on your profile picture in the bottom left corner, and choose a status from the dropdown menu. You can also add a custom message to provide more context.

7. Implement channel naming conventions

Many don’t put much thought into naming channels—and that’s fine if you have just a few of them.

However, if you have a lot of channels internally, with customers, and with freelancers and contractors, without proper names it’ll become hard to know what each channel is for.

So, one of Slack’s channel organization best practices is adopting a naming system.

For example, you can use prefixes like "proj-" for project channels, “team-” for team-specific channels, or "gen-" for general channels. This way, when someone sees a channel named "proj-marketing2024," they instantly know it's related to the marketing project for the year 2024.

Implementing channel naming conventions is a small but impactful Slack tip that helps your team stay on the same page and reduces confusion.

8. Create polls for quick decisions

Need to make a decision involving multiple team members? Use the Slack polling feature!

Slack polls allow you to streamline the decision-making process by presenting options and collecting votes in a structured manner.

To create a poll in Slack, go to the channel where you want to conduct the poll and type "/poll" followed by your question and the available options. For example: "/poll What's the best time for our team meeting? Option 1: 10 AM, Option 2: 2 PM, Option 3: 4 PM."

Next, hit Enter, and Slack will automatically generate the poll with the provided question and options. Team members can then cast their votes by clicking on their preferred choice.

9. Use Slack Connect to provide customer support

Numerous B2B businesses are switching gears, so if you haven't joined in yet, this Slack tip is your nudge. A nudge to start using Slack for real-time customer support.

So, instead of your customers going through the whole email rigmarole, they can just ping your support team on Slack Connect—a special channel designed for collaborating with customers, suppliers, and partners outside of your organization.

To make the most of Slack Connect channels, you need a tool like Thena. Thena uses AI to identify customer requests in channels, turn them into tickets, and route them to relevant team members for triage.

With Thena, you can also tag and categorize requests, and tap into analytics to analyze customer behavior and patterns while also identifying upsell opportunities. The tool also seamlessly integrates with email ticketing platforms, ensuring that regardless of where a customer request originates, Thena centralizes it in Slack for straightforward resolution.

10. Automate marketing content creation

Slack is often used as a collaborative tool by marketing teams. However, its native capabilities are rather limiting. Thena tackles that!

With Thena’s marketing automation feature, you can turn Slack into a marketing platform where you can create, execute, and analyze marketing campaigns all within Slack.

With Thena, you have the power to craft attention-grabbing marketing materials using our user-friendly, no-code content builder. You can precisely target your campaigns to specific audiences and gain valuable insights into reach, engagement, responses, and reactions across all your communication channels.

Whether it’s a webinar, a newsletter, or a new feature release, Thena offers marketing capabilities to help you promote and sell more within Slack.

11. Archive inactive channels

Got project-specific channels that once had their moment but are now dormant? Instead of the drastic step of deletion and losing valuable historical data, you can simply archive them.

To archive a channel, right-click on the channel's name, select "View Channel Details," click on "Settings," and choose "Archive channel for everyone."

Archived channels are hidden from the main view but remain accessible for reference.

12. Use Slack as an internal help desk

One of Slack's hidden gems is its potential to serve as your organization's internal help desk. Picture this: your team encounters an issue, whether a technical glitch or a simple query. Instead of navigating through convoluted email chains or filling out lengthy forms, they can simply drop a message in a designated help desk channel.

From there, with the help of Thena, you can centralize all employee requests, tag relevant team members for help, foster quick responses, and keep everyone informed.

13. Integrate with third-party tools

Finally, the best Slack tip you should follow is leveraging the wide range of third-party integrations. Slack works with the most popular CRM, productivity, marketing, project management, and customer support tools. Simply head to Slack’s app store and start browsing!

Take your pick

With Slack, you can do pretty much anything. Implement a tip or two from our list to ramp up your productivity and find your Slack flow.

That said, if you're looking for the ultimate Slack tool to streamline your workflows, consider Thena. As the award-winning B2B customer management solution, Thena can turn Slack into the only tool your team is ever going to need.

Add Thena to Slack now.

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