With 10+ million daily active users, Slack is dominating the communication game at work. If you're thinking about using Slack for your conference, there's a good chance your attendees already have the app on their phone.
It may have started for work but Slack is also a quick and easy way to share news + updates around events. As an Admin, you can see what attendees are talking about in real time and answer any questions they have. Plus, it's a natural way for attendees to connect and get to know each other before, during, and after your event.
💻 Setting Up Your Conference Workspace
Set up a separate and dedicated workspace for your event. Why? Because you don't want to invite hundreds of attendees into your company Slack workspace. Whether you have a Slack account or you're brand new, follow these steps:
- Go to slack.com/create.
- Enter your email address, then click Next. Check your email for a 6-digit confirmation code.
- Enter your code, then name your workspace and click Next.
- Create a new channel for your workspace. Channels organize conversations about any topic.
- Add attendees' email addresses if you're ready to invite others. Otherwise, select skip for now. (See the section below for other ways to add email addresses)
- Click See Your Channel in Slack to visit your workspace.
- Select Finish Signing Up at the top of the screen. Enter your name and password, then click Next.
- Review your workspace name and URL, then click Finish to save.
👫 Choose Your Workspace Admins
- Owner - There is only one primary owner, but this role can be transferred to another member. Owners handle high-level administrative features like billing, workspace authentication, access, security policies, and more.
- Admins - Multiple admins are allowed. They can manage members, channels, and handle other administrative tasks. You should add your event team all as admins.
How to promote other members to help manage your workspace or demote when their work is finished.
- From your desktop, click your workspace name in the top left.
- Select Administration, then Manage members.
- Click the three dots icon to the right of the member whose role you'd like to change.
- To promote someone, select Change to Owner or Change to Admin.
- To demote someone, select Change to Admin. To demote further, choose Change to Full Member.
👩💻 Adding Attendees to Your Slack Channel
There are two options to getting your attendees into your Slack workspace:
- Send invites manually by email. If you have all the email addresses of your attendees, you can paste them in and send them all in invite instantly. If registrations pour in over time, this will take up a lot of time though.
- Use Community Inviter to create a self-invite form. This will allow attendees to enter their email themselves and trigger a Slack invite into your workspace. Once you have this form setup through Community Inviter, you should keep the link secret and only share it with registered attendees. One simple way of doing this is including the link in the registration confirmation email.
If you prefer to have full control over the branding and are comfortable installing things on your own server, you can also use this unofficial, open-source Slack Invite system instead.
Here's an example of what that form looks like:
Add all of your important channels to the default list. When your attendees join your Slack, they'll automatically be added to those channels.
MicroConf has been using Slack for their past 10 events. They shared with us that they always set up the following 4 main channels. They also give the ability for attendees to set up their own private channels to accommodate niche interests.
#Announcements: An admin run channel gives only you the ability to send out updates. Attendees are not allowed to respond and can read-only. Xander Castro, the lead event producer at MicroConf, added it's a great place for direct sponsor plugging. They like to send a big thank you in this channel for sponsoring their conference.
#Meetup: A channel dedicated for people to connect, make plans for dinner + drinks, or schedule a morning workout.
#HallwayTrack: General random conversations between attendees + speakers.
#Introductions: Everybody can introduce themselves and let the rest of the attendees know what it is they're looking for. It's a spaces where they can discuss what problems they're facing or what solutions they potentially have for other attendee's problems.
Protip: Admins can restrict the use of @channel, @here and @everyone to admin-only. This should help to reduce noise for your attendees.
⏳ How Long Should You Use Slack?
Slack suggests running your conference workspace for at least 3 months.
One month prior: Attendees can introduce themselves and organize plans ahead of time.
During the conference: Instantly share updates and changes. Attendees can chat about the conference and arrange last minute meetups. Plus answer questions that pop up during your event.
One month after: Attendees can continue to share learnings and follow up and find each other on their preferred social medias.
💡 Recap of Your Checklist
1️⃣ Set up a new Slack workspace, specifically for your event. You should do this 1 month before your event begins for maximum engagement.
2️⃣ Invite your event team as Workspace Admins. They will be able to manage channels, make announcements and invite/delete attendees.
3️⃣ Set up at least 4 channels (#Announcements, #Meetup, #HallwayTrack, #Introductions) to keep conversations focused.
4️⃣ Invite each attendees by email address or use Community Inviter to set up a self-serve invite form that you will only share with registered attendees.
5️⃣ Once attendees are in your Slack workspace push announcements and encourage them to introduce themselves.
6️⃣ After your event, announce a date you'll close down the Slack channel. Give your attendees at least 1 week's notice so they can catch up and exchange info with other attendees.
If you're thinking about using Slack for your event, check out our conversation with MicroConf. They share their insights on why Slack works for them and how it contributes to building their community.
The Slack team has written super easy, step-by-step instructions on how to set up your Slack channel. They were a big help in the writing of his post.