Happy Slack-Aversery to US — Here’s What We’ve Learned.

It’s been just over a month since my company launched it’s first open Slack channel. Happy Slack-aversery to us! This marks an important milestone for us because it means we finally have two things we’ve desperately needed — data and real experience. 30 days into launching our channel we know more information on what it means to have an open channel.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

(1) Bigger isn’t always better.

Sorry Texas, you may not have this one in the bag. In the first 30 days we have had a large rush on joining our channel (the lion’s share in the first 5 days), except that only a small percentage of users are active day to day.

That may sound scary — but it’s actually on par with the industry.

On average 90% of a community are actually lurkers while 1% are power users and 9% are casual contributors. Based on those stats, our community is growing healthily, but we want to do better.

Going forward in building community, we will endeavor to focus on the quality, and not the quantity of new members.

(2) There is an ebb and flow to conversation

This is something we’ve been able to confirm with admins of other Slack channels. No joke — I’m in a Slack team with other Slack admins who talk about Slack. Meta- right? They confirm this, which is consistent with what we’ve seen in our channels.

(3) Leveraging Physical Events is the Easiest Way to Generate Activity (And Excitement)

Live is in. We’re seeing it across all social networks, and Slack is no different. Case in point — one of the most successful events we’ve hosted in our Slack channel is an AMA with one of our VPs of Marketing. We were able to bring people together over a real-time conversation.

Moving from asynchronous to live is a great first step to community building, but it goes further than that.

An even better community building tool is the anticipation of an “in real life event”. The concept of a real event allows people to take the hypothetical online world, into the more real offline. This finding makes sense, since the networks and networking have a tangible end goal. This IRL finding has been both confirmed by fellow Slack team administrators as well as in teams I’m a part of for upcoming events.

(4) People want to talk about HubSpot. It’s the most common thread that ties us together.

Go figure. We launched a team to talk about Inbound marketing, but the most common thread about which people have questions is HubSpot. More specifically, we’ve seen questions relating to HubSpot CRM, setting up workflows, purchasing HubSpot, how to get cheap HubSpot (aka Leadin!).

While we’re trying to be conscious of keeping this open community, we do want to make sure we learning and adapting to this need and learning from our community. More on this to come as we run further experiments.

(5) Running a Slack Group Takes A Lot of Time (Kind Of)

Admittedly, this is kind of a lie. Running a Slack group takes at minimum a few minutes of the day. These are used to check in, pose some questions, make sure things are getting answered. It takes more time to run the community well — to organize events for the channel, call users into the conversation and make sure that there is activity 2–3x a day. This can be a challenge if it running a community is not your full time job, and may require the assistance of moderators.

Now that we finally have some data we’re excited to start applying these learnings to making our Slack community even better, but there is so much farther to go. I’m excited to see what the next 30, 60 and beyond days have coming for Slack.

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