Strategic Slack Channel Management.

Strategic Slack Channel Management for Salesforce Admins

By

As a Salesforce Admin, a good portion of our daily job is to be a functional leader within your organization. When you think about it, many of the users you support don’t report directly to you, yet they often benefit from your leadership and direction. So, apart from being a direct leader or managing people, being a strong functional leader can go a long way in driving adoption, getting buy-in, and, most importantly, fostering active participation.

Now, let’s bring this into the context of Slack and dive into my experience of effectively managing a group of more than 100 people responsible for creating content for the Admin Track during Dreamforce. This occurred in a channel where I didn’t have a direct reporting relationship with the members. Additionally, I’ll share some best practices for leveraging Slack to enhance engagement and drive action.

Plan your channel

Okay, this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s the first mistake that I see all too often. An initial project call wraps and there is this race to spin up a project Slack channel, almost as if unless it happens immediately, the idea will go bad. This leads to a hastily-named channel with members quickly added, some without knowing why.

For my Dreamforce channel, I took a moment to plan before I created it. Here’s how it’s done. First thing’s first, let’s look at how you name channels in your organization and make sure you follow that naming structure. Next, before you add anyone, take time to fill out the description of the channel. Again, seems basic, but I’m part of a lot of channels with no description.

Now, I bet at this point you’re just itching to add members. But don’t. You need to get your house—err, I mean your channel—in order. It’s kind of like before you moved into your house or apartment—you didn’t just throw your stuff in there and figure it out. I mean, maybe you did, but how did that work out? More than likely, you took the time to plan out what would go where and the flow of things. You know, so that when your friends come over they know where stuff is and where to sit. Your Slack channel is the same.

The bookmarks bar is your friend. Consider which key documents, links, etc., you want to add to the top. Granted, you don’t have to include every single bookmark or doc there. However, much like moving into a new place, make sure the essential items are there. As a bonus, use folders to keep the bookmarks bar tidy and easy to navigate.

Set up workflows to help direct traffic

Workflows, just like the bookmarks bar, reside at the top in a folder. Again, before you add members, think about some workflows you want to set up. Will there be any common, repetitive tasks that this group or project could run into? These might include approvals, project updates, etc.

For instance, during Dreamforce, I established two workflows. The first one served as a structured way for anyone in the channel to ask questions. The workflow’s format allowed me to capture information efficiently and reference documentation. The second workflow enabled presenters to submit their slides for review in a clutter-free channel dedicated to reviews. These workflows simplified the process, reduced visual clutter, and enhanced collaboration.

Remember, pins are your friend

Let’s chat about the importance of pinning posts and being thoughtful about which posts should be pinned and which should not.

In my project, I used pinned posts about once a week as a milestone marker to ensure all the members were up to date on the timeline, deliverables, and any action items. However, not every post of mine was a pinned post.

Perhaps you, like me, had an English teacher who told you something like, “You only have three exclamation points you can use in your life, so use them wisely.” Well, I’ve burned past those three. But the point I’m making is that when you create and pin a post, it should be done with the intention that the entire lot of pinned posts (accessible in the bookmarks bar) creates a useful timeline for new members or individuals who are ‘looking to get up to speed fast.’

Over 4 months, I think the summation of my pinned posts was around 10 to 12. Again, I tried to make sure that I had about one pinned post a week, but that wasn’t a rule.

Utilize a canvas for efficient organization

Now, where you choose to keep that documentation is up to you. However, for this project, my goal was to keep almost everything in Slack. So, for my FAQ, I used a Slack canvas.

Canvases are a tool to help teams organize, curate, collaborate, and share information—completely connected to your Slack workspace. Create or edit a canvas using the Slack features you already know: format content intuitively, mention teammates directly, and share in any conversation.

Here’s why I used a Slack canvas versus something else. First, it kept all the key information in a single view. Second, and most important, I didn’t have to mess around with permissions. Anyone in the channel can open the canvas. Check out this less than 2-minute read on organizing information in a canvas.

Set the vibe/culture

Remember, as the admin/project leader, you set the tone for the group. For the Dreamforce Admin track, I took the time to thoughtfully construct large announcements or calls to action so that they were easy to read, fun with emojis, and to the point.

But that doesn’t mean that every post of mine was poetic prose, because sometimes a few words will do. The main point is that I was there, visible, and engaged. I’ve seen project or collaboration groups that turn into one person’s weekly update on the status of things, only to hear that same person say, “I just don’t have any engagement in the group.”

As a leader—even a functional leader—members of a group will engage based on the precedent set forward. If they see you posting and engaging, they’re more likely to follow.

In addition, I did my best to make sure that posts didn’t go unanswered. Sometimes, those posts were directed at me, and other times, just to the group. But either way, if I didn’t see engagement on the post, I hopped in right away to make sure that person felt heard. If your goal is collaboration and you don’t set the bar for collaboration, it’s going to be very difficult to drive engagement if your group doesn’t see you engaging.

Elevate your leadership

In the end, as a Salesforce Admin, take the time to set yourself up as a functional leader in Slack. Consider your channel a home—curate it, plan it out, set the vibe, and then add your members. When everyone feels like they know where things are and can easily engage, the more successful your collaboration and project will be.

Resources

Cloudy in a Slackstar suit.

How Admins Can Connect Salesforce and Slack

With the Salesforce acquisition of Slack, Salesforce is realizing a major goal: to help people work from anywhere in this new all-digital world. Salesforce Admins have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this world by using Slack to surface the information their customers need when they need it. Salesforce Admins are well-positioned to […]

READ MORE
Cloudy standing at a computer with a Slack logo on it.

Team Admin Relations’ Top Slack Hacks

Slack is a powerhouse application for engagement, productivity, and collaboration. We on the Admin Relations team use Slack on a daily basis to keep each other informed and keep our work on track. Whether you’re an experienced Slackstar or brand new to the application, we wanted to share some of our team’s top Slack tips. […]

READ MORE
The State of the Salesforce Admin in 2023.

The State of the Salesforce Admin in 2023

The role of the Salesforce Admin is more important than ever. As customers’ expectations continue to grow, more companies look to digital transformation to deliver that highly personalized, responsive, on-brand experience. At the center of delivering a Salesforce Customer 360 view sits the Awesome Admin—building, configuring, and automating solutions to drive productivity, innovation, and efficiency […]

READ MORE