Messaging apps can be great productivity boosters. Messaging apps give teams a lightweight real-time communication channel that makes it easy to ask quick questions that shouldn't be in an email. There are hundreds of team messaging solutions to choose from. This week Facebook added to the growing number of tools with the launch of Workplace by Facebook.
With new messaging apps popping up every week, it can be impossible to know which one to choose. And once you choose an app, there are still pitfalls that need to be navigated. That's why we're going to help you narrow down your options, avoid the common messaging pitfalls, and get your team on a more productive track with these 8 tips.
Agree on why your team needs a messaging tool in the first placeChances are your team has been working without a messaging tool. That means there's not an intrinsic need for one, but you might want one to suit a specific purpose. Agreeing on why your team needs a tool up front will help guide the search for a solution.
Choose the right messaging platform for your team.There are 1000's of platforms to choose from. Chances are most of them aren't going to be the right fit for your team. Understanding why your team needs a messaging platform will help you narrow down some of the options. Keep going further into the why, and start identifying specific features your team needs that will help you zero in on the ideal solution. For example - if you team needs video capability, then that will help narrow down your solution. Not all of the popular apps offer group or even 1-to-1 video chat capabilities.
Dollars and centsLots of tools have a free tier, but pay attention to limitations to free like a limit to the number of users, or a number of messages. Large groups will roll through message caps quickly, and you won't be able to go back and search through older conversations without upgrading. Do you really want video chat? On certain platforms, video requires a paid account. Make sure to take this all into consideration before your team commits.
Outline the structure before creating a team accountMap out which channels or teams you want before creating them. You may have channels for each department or team like Marketing, Sales, Customer Support etc. Avoid creating channels for every project each department is working on. If you have too many places to share information, it's hard to find the right information at the right time. Also - make sure that channels have different people. There's no reason to have five channels all with the same five people.
Create a checklist for new usersWhat skills does each team member need to get on board? Put together a quick checklist of what each person should know - this will be a great tool to have for a roll out.
Assign an ambassador or team of ambassadors for the toolDesignate a team member, or a few team members to be the evangelists for the tool internally. A team messaging tool won't stick around if you don't get the team on board. Having a point person or point people will make it easy for team members to find help if they need it.
Set office hoursMessaging gives you unprecedented access to your coworkers. Don't abuse it! Set up in-office hours and out-of-office hours so you can have some quiet time to recover between workdays.
Don't forget to have some funAll work and no play makes Slackbot a dull boy. Create a place for off topic and water cooler channels. These channels are a great place for your team to share fun links. Don't force anyone to subscribe to these channels though.
That's it! We hope these tips help your team be more productive with whichever chat app best fits your team. While we have your attention - you should read our guide on how Samepage stacks up against perennial team messaging favorites Slack and Hipchat. Spoiler - we do a lot more than just chat.