My Company Is Using Slack to Build a Community During the Pandemic. Here’s What We’re Doing and Why.

Published on July 15, 2020

Networking is a great way to grow your business, expand your role, and share knowledge and ideas in your industry. Meetings, coffee hours, drinks after work, and even golf outings used to be the norm, but those days are in the past. Now, we have to let technology lead the way and rely on the virtual world to keep us connected every day.

While working remotely, you’ll want to keep your existing work relationships strong, but you’ll also want to make and build new relationships to expand your business in the face of a recession. On a personal level, we’re all longing for human connection in addition to our quarantine crew, so it’s important to be empathetic and kind when you reach out to new and old working relationships. Ask people how they’re doing to avoid the sometimes pushy attitude of “me-first” networking. Instead, figure out how to strategically connect in ways that make sense.

Sure, there are Zoom calls and phone calls to help you network remotely, but don’t overlook the advantages Slack has for networking. At Hawke Media, we were already using the work communication platform within our company before the pandemic to stay connected and keep our team in sync. We’ve decided to expand our Slack community outside our company during the pandemic to cultivate new, high-level relationships.

What is the thought process behind our decision, and why should you get on board with Slack communities? Most simply, our businesses still have to make money even though there is a lot going on in the world right now that makes it harder. The pandemic is not going to end in the near future. Slack allows us to strategically build and maintain relationships, whether it’s increasing the Rolodex of brands we work with, expanding thought leadership opportunities, increasing appearances on podcasts, or starting a weekly Zoom happy hour for networking in our industry.

Slack for networking

Slack, which is a massive community, is an easier and more direct way to check in with someone than email. Per The Verge, Slack reported back in March that it had more than 12 million daily users. That number has likely grown rapidly since March. Slacking someone can spark the longer discussions that lead to phone and Zoom calls where business happens, or sometimes it can even happen right on Slack.

It’s important to look for commonalities and consider why someone would want to connect with you when reaching out on Slack. Are you in the same industry and both looking to expand your partner content? Is your company looking to get some press from a recent initiative and you happen to find a leading journalist who focuses their writing on a similar topic?

At Hawke Media, we want to make those connections for ourselves and help other amazing companies make the same connections. This is why we started the Slack community we’re calling Brand Club. The original idea of creating a community Slack channel came from our Quarantine Conference, which we hosted in April. Our 2000+ attendees spanning 16 global time zones used the Slack channel that we created for chatter during the conference. They wanted to continue networking when the conference ended, so we migrated the channel over to a new name to allow those rich conversations to continue.

Why Brand Club? Simply put, we want to gather brands into a sort of “think tank” for growing and expanding. The community is encouraged to ask questions, test ideas, solicit opinions, and share successes and failures. Brand Club is a space to rethink, supported by the collective knowledge of your peers, how you work and transform how your brand does business.

Brand Club, operating on an invitation-only basis, enables the top minds in marketing, advertising, entrepreneurship, and commerce to participate in curated events, discussions, and multi-platform experiences (taking it off Slack!). Members will have a unique experience, as the community is an ongoing experiment where we’ll try out ideas. No doubt we’ll run into some roadblocks along the way, yet we’ll still come together to better ourselves and this new community. You can apply to join the ranks of entrepreneurs who have successfully scaled companies, industry-leading brands, and experts who have done what you’re trying to by filling out the form.

CEO & Founder Erik Huberman is a member of Grit Daily's Leadership Network. He launched Hawke Media in 2014, which is now valued at over $150 million. As a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert, Erik has been recognized by his industry peers through honors and awards including, Forbes Magazine’s 30Under30, CSQ’s 40Under40, and Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers.

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