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  •  •  3 min read

    Using Slack as a command center for digital marketing at Ably

    Slack gets described as a messaging app, or communications tool, for teams. I guess it is that but for me its real power is not for team communications. It does that OK but there are loads of perfectly good other alternatives.

    Slack’s real power is in its integrations with other apps and tools and how it can therefore become mission control center for managing work: co-ordinating activities and making them visible to anyone as needed.

    Slack has become wildly popular with startups and with developers. But what about marketers and digital marketers? How are they using Slack?

    What are the opportunities for digital marketers at all sizes and stages of company to use Slack to better manage their marketing?

    Following are three ways we are currently using Slack for digital marketing at Ably.

    (Do leave us comments suggesting others or linking through to posts or articles you have written about what you are doing)

    1. Media and social monitoring

    We use a number of monitoring tools to track what is being said about us, key words and phrases we are tracking (like ‘realtime’), our competition, key influencers and those in the media.

    Specifically, we use Google Alerts for broader web monitoring and Notify for monitoring Twitter, Product Hunt, Tumblr, Hacker News and Reddit.

    We create feeds which we add to a dedicated Slack channel called #marketing-alerts so that we can see everything in one place:

    Ably’s dedicated Slack channel for media/social monitoring

    Setting up a feed into Slack using Notify is easy — just check out https://notify.ly/

    To get Google Alerts to feed into Slack read this helpful piece by Shane Kercheval:Monitor the Web with Google Alerts (and Slack)
    Using Google Alerts is an easy way to get notified when certain words or phrases appear on the web.medium.com

    2. Customer engagement and support

    We use Intercom (for customer engagement), MailChimp (for email) and Freshdesk (for customer support).

    We have integrated these into Slack.

    Again we have set up a Slack channel, called #support-desk, where we pull together information telling us about new signups to our newsletter (via MailChimp), customer support tickets as they are updated, and conversations with customers via Intercom.

    Ably’s Slack channel for customer engagement and support

    3. Data and analytics

    We use lots of different tools for data, analytics, reporting, insight etc.

    We are experimenting with various integrations of these into Slack. Particularly via bots…

    For example we use Statsbot which is a Google Analytics bot for Slack. This means we can ask the bot questions in Slack and it will pull data through from Google Analytics to give answers:

    In conversation with Statsbot on Slack

    And we use Birdly a bot which integrates with Intercom and Stripe which means we can ask questions about customers within Slack to get information pulled through:

    In conversation with the Birdly bot in Slack
    Revealytics’ bot makes Stripe analytics available in Slack

    What have we learned so far?

    It’s early days yet and we’ll publish more as we learn (you can sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with our articles etc) but I’d say:

    • It is important that you think carefully about how you architect and label your Slack channels. You cannot have everything going into one big channel; equally you cannot have channels that are too niche. This will become more complex to manage as you grow.
    • It takes time to refine and tune feeds. You need to start with something but then tweak and train the filters so that you get the optimal balance of relevancy vs volume.
    • Bots are fun and pretty cool but not yet a serious workflow tool. We still tend to go back to the sources at the moment if we really want to get the answers we need. But an interesting space to watch.