How Private Slack Communities Can Grow Your Business

Slack is a real-time communication platform for teams.

Here is their 2 minute introductory video:

According to the New York Times:

“After only a year in operation, Slack now serves about half a million workers every day as a partial replacement for email, instant messaging and face-to-face meetings.
Slack is being used as the primary means of communication at companies of every size across a range of industries. Customers include Comcast, Walmart, Blue Bottle Coffee, a large number of start-ups and several media companies, including The New York Times.”

Since the internet was first brought to the masses, humans have been joining together in online communities with like-minded people.

The #1 benefit of these types of small, private communities is that you can leverage the collective brain power of the whole group. This enables you to discover information, resources and tools you didn’t know about otherwise.

It also allows you to help, and be helped, and get quick answers to your questions from people with experience in your field.

There are now hundreds of Private Slack Communities based on specific topics. These communities are providing enormous value to their members, and many of them are bringing in big-name guests to do Q&A sessions with, conducting training, and connecting entrepreneurs together to build exciting new businesses.

These private Slack Communities are transforming many startups and small businesses by leveraging the collective brain power of all the members to achieve amazing results.

How to Use Slack Communities to Grow Your Business

You should never try to market directly to a Private Slack Community.

The members of these communities are highly sensitive to any type of “spam”, and will fight to ensure that the members are only contributing value, and not there just to make money.

If you don’t contribute value to the community, you will be quickly rejected.

In order to leverage the community to grow your own, you have to be accepted by the community, and give them a reason to help you.

How do you gain this goodwill?

Be active, helpful, ask questions, and contribute a lot of value.

Find out what the members need and are struggling with, and give it to them generously, without expectations.

Be a genuine and authentic member of the community, and good things will come to you.

Don’t go in expecting something in return. Just let it happen.

Once you are accepted and liked by the community, start asking for help yourself.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect

Asking for favors has the effect of making people like you. This is known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect.

The reason?

When we help someone, we justify it to ourselves by convincing ourselves we did them a favor because we liked them.

According to Benjamin Franklin:

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

Don’t act like you know it all. Ask for help.

More importantly, make friends. Real friends.

We like doing business with people we like.

The more you are accepted and liked by the community, and the more you help people, the more people are going to want to return the favor.

They can return the favor by becoming a customer of yours, offering you help, partnering with you, or even investing in your business.

The possibilities are limitless. You have no idea who you’re going to connect with in these communities.

Not only that, you’re probably going to learn so much in these communities that your business will grow regardless.

None of this will happen if you simply try to make money off the community.

This will only happen if you are someone the members in the community care about and want to connect with and help.

The principles for growing your business using private Slack communities is the same as any other community-based platform, such as Reddit (which I wrote about here):

1. Listen

Soak it all in. Learn how the community operates, and what they care about. Assimilate yourself accordingly.

2. Be active in the community

To be accepted by the community, you must be a member of the community. That means being active and contributing value.

3. Be helpful, relevant and valuable

Be a nice person. Make friends. Help people.

You can’t know how to help unless you’re familiar with the community’s needs and struggles.

In addition, you should only be joining communities you can actually contribute value to, and that your skills are relevant to.

4. Be humble and honest

Again, be a nice person, don’t be a know-it-all, and ask for help when you need it.

Avoid presenting yourself as a “brand” as much as possible.

Be a real person. Be someone other people like and want to get to know.

This goes back to my point about offering value, and benefiting the community.

This has the inverse effect of also gaining you customers.

However, wait do this until AFTER the community has accepted you, otherwise it looks spammy.

8. Don’t me a marketer. Be a member of the community.

Change your mindset. Don’t let your only purpose be to sell your stuff and make money. Genuinely care about the community, and its members.

By doing this, you will grow your business in ways you can’t even imagine.

Looking for Slack Communities to Join?

Here are the Top 10 Private Slack Communities for Entrepreneurs.

Originally published at on February 17, 2016.