In this blog, you’ll discover the advantages and disadvantages of using Slack for community building.
You’ve probably considered using Slack if you want to start an online community. There’s a compelling reason for that: the platform is used by many popular communities.
However, it is not ideal for communities. Slack was created to facilitate workplace communication, not community management.
As a result, it lacks the specialized features that community builders value. A potent community remedy is required to access highlights such as:
- Activity feeds,
- Gamification, and
- Enhanced customization.
So without wasting much of your time, let’s get straight into the blog.
Table of Contents
- Use Slack to foster community?
- It is completely free to use
- People understand how to use Slack
- Slack has useful features for fostering community
- However, Slack is not suitable for every type of community
- How can Graphy help you in growing your community?
Use Slack to foster community?
Among community builders, Slack has a decent reputation. Below are among the most convincing reasons.
It is completely free to use
The fact that you can establish a community on Slack for free undoubtedly contributes to its popular appeal.
The free edition contains all of the essential community-building features. Folks, for instance, adore characteristics like channels, threads, and real-time messaging. There is no official cap on the number of folks who can join a group. Even if it was established with such a free version.
It thus makes it ideal for community builders who want to dabble without putting money at risk. It’s simple to install Slack, create a workspace, and invite others.
People understand how to use Slack
This is another feature that attracts community builders to Slack.
Experts already use Slack as part of their daily workflow. Experts have it on their computers and phones, and entering a new community is often as simple as introducing a new Slack workspace to their existing app.
There’s even a button in the sidebar that speeds things up. If members do not yet have Slack downloaded, the company makes it very simple to sign up and create an account. You only need an email address.
This erases a significant barrier that would otherwise prevent people from joining the community.
Slack has useful features for fostering community
Being free and simple to use would’ve been useless if Slack lacked the features required to build a community.
Of course, this is not the situation: the tool includes numerous attributes that community builders adore.
As an example:
- You can use Slack Channels to plan conversations in your Slack group around specific topics.
- Conversations are arranged into threads to make them easier to follow.
- You can interact with other members by sending direct messages.
- You can integrate multiple apps as well while using Slack. For instance, if you have a community virtual meeting, you can integrate Google Calendar into Slack itself. You’ll receive a notification when your meeting is about to start.
- On Slack itself, you can huddle and even share your screen while having a real-time conversation.
Once those above features are combined, it’s simple to see why Slack is such a popular community-building platform.
However, Slack is not suitable for every type of community
When selecting the software for your own community, Slack might not be the only platform you perceive.
Because Slack was not designed with communities in mind, it comes up short across many aspects. This is incredibly challenging if you want highly developed community features.
Below are a few of the drawbacks you should be aware of before making a decision to use Slack.
The free plan has restrictions
The free plan’s restrictions can be a significant issue depending on how you intend to develop and use your community.
The biggest problem is that you can only browse your latest 10,000 messages. This is a significant issue because community conversations are one of its most important assets.
Every message that is rendered unsearchable loses value. Consider hosting an AMA with an expert in the field: once you hit the limit, the information will no longer be discoverable.
And, whereas 10,000 texts would seem like a bunch, you’ll quickly exhaust this limit as your community grows.
Why information is one of the most key things in your community.
- Your community information is a library enclosing all of your group’s knowledge and experience. The more information you have, the more opportunities users have to interact with and discover from it.
- New members can use the content search to find answers to their questions. This is critical for brands looking to build a self-help support community.
- Aspects and conversations can have an impact on your overall content creation strategy. Look for problems that people face and create content to assist them.
- Discoverability can be aided by public content. For instance, if it is indexed by search engines.
- Introduce your content to life by participating in community discussions. Include testimonials on sales pages and expertise in blog posts.
Then there’s the reality that memory on the free version is restricted to 5GB. Suddenly, this does not appear to be a negative idea at first.
However, when your community gains momentum or you want to showcase multimedia resources, you’ll quickly exhaust it. PDFs, slide decks, images, webinar recordings, and other media will quickly deplete your budget.
The free plan also has the following limitations:
- Being limited to only ten plug-ins with other tools.
- Those outsides of the community cannot communicate with each other.
- There is no video conferencing.
The paid plan is pricey
You might think that once you’ve outgrown the free plan, you can easily update to the paid ones. While this is correct, large communities will face a significant monthly bill.
Slack’s entry-level paid plan costs $8 per user per month ($6.67 once billed yearly). If you’re an organization trying to engage your team members, this is a reasonable price. When you’re spending thousands of dollars on an employee’s salary, an extra $8 is a pittance.
However, for community builders, it tends to add up to a significant cost.
Perhaps small communities can end up with large bills. Slack will probably cost $10,000 each year to run a close-knit community of 100 members.
Such a sort of monthly fee is prohibitively expensive for most community builders, putting Slack’s pro features out of grasp.
You cannot personalize your community
Some other concern with Slack is that there is no way to personalize the community.
So every Slack community has the same appearance, lives within the Slack app, and is branded with the Slack logo.
Yes, integrations and automation can be added. However, making your brand stand out or customizing the layout of the community to fit your requirements is extremely difficult.
Based on which one you select, these may allow you to:
- Use your domain to host your community.
- Include your company’s branding and logos.
- Features can be added or removed.
- Personalize the community’s design.
The image below showcases how you can build your community and increase engagement through Graphy. With fully customizable features and a branded website and mobile app, you can make your own identity.
There is no way to establish an open community
Slack communities are accessible to members through the computer, smartphone, or browser app. Each team is only accessible to those who are aware of the community and have been invited.
This is appropriate for private communities or if you have a large email list of clients to invite. However, it is not appropriate to create an open space for people to gather.
You may want to do this for a variety of reasons. Some of the most popular communities are open for business. Consider GitHub, IndieHackers, and the millions of popular Reddit subreddits.
Among the advantages of establishing an open community are the following:
- It makes community data accessible to anyone. People will begin to regard your organization as an important asset.
- You can have Google index the posts. This can generate a lot of web traffic.
- You can use discussion links to promote articles, content marketing, or web pages.
- Brands can use open communities to provide users with self-help support.
Finally, being open increases the likelihood of others becoming absolutely certain of your space. This implies your community may blossom much faster than it would otherwise.
There are definitely other missing features as well. However, it depends upon your requirements.
How can Graphy help you in growing your community?
Being an online course creator it is extremely important for you to have the right engagement & community features. Well, Graphy being an all-in-one platform provides you with a community platform in a much more advanced way. So on Graphy, the discussion forum is divided into 2 categories:
- Public forum: “Public Forum” refers to an open discussion forum. Any user who registers on the platform, regardless of whether they are your learners, can view, post, or comment on the discussion forum.
- Course wise: Course Wise Discussion is a learner discussion forum where your students and instructors from that specific course can interact and solve problems.