5 Ways To Use Pinterest For Your Business

By now, you’ve probably heard of the content sharing and discovering platform called Pinterest. It’s a great social media tool that lets users finds, share, and save content from a wide range of interests, from DIY projects to discovering delicious new recipes. But did you know that it’s also a great tool to integrate into your business’s social media branding strategy? Check out the top five reasons why you should get started using Pinterest for your business.

Create Relevant Boards

When you pin your content, you want it to be easy to find for anyone who stumbles upon your profile page. The best way to help followers find what they’re looking for, place your content into relevant boards. Are you a restaurant? Create boards divided into categories like Appetizers and Desserts to show off your dishes. Pet Supply Store? Divide your boards by different pets or types of products (food, toys, etc.). The more precise you make your boards, the easier you’ll make it for your customers.

Use Great Visuals

The Internet is a tapestry of eye-catching photos, gifs, memes, artwork, design and more. Customers are much more likely to engage in your content if it’s visually appealing. In fact, 40 percent of people will respond better to visual information rather than simple text. Pinterest is a great place to show off your visuals; it’s practically built around that idea! Use vivid visuals with engaging photos or artwork to get your customers’ attentions.

Make Your Pins Inspiring

Pinterest is a place where people go to get inspiration for their next big passion project, or new hobby. So, make sure to make your pins inspiring to your followers! This means pinning fun DIY projects, recipes, inspiring quotes, and great products. People can find inspiration from many different sources, so experiment to see what gets you the most repins and likes.

Engage With Customers

Customers love to know that you appreciate them and are paying attention to what they post on your content. If a customer repins your pin, comments on something you’ve posted, or likes your pin, it’s totally okay to engage with them. It shows your customers that you’re not just a faceless zombie; you care about what they have to say, too!

Share Influencers Content

Do you know your influencers? You should! These are the people or businesses that work in the same market as you. It’s a great idea to share your influencers content on your own page, or like their content — especially when you first start out. This helps you build a relationship with your influencers, that could ultimately benefit you in the long run.

5 Ways To Stand Out In A Competitive Market

With an increasingly saturated market taking up consumers’ minds every day, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the competition. For every Starbucks, there are 10 other coffee shops that boast the same flavors, the same atmosphere, the same free in-store Wi-Fi, at the same — or close to the same — price point.

So, how can your business hope to stand out in this increasingly competitive, increasingly overfilled market? Check out some of these tips and you’ll be doing better than a majority of the businesses already out there.

Pay Attention To Your Competition 

To find the best strategies for what’s working and what’s not working in business, you need not look further than your own competition. What are other businesses doing that’s working or not working? How can you learn from their shortcomings, or improve on what they’re doing right? If you’re not trying to stand out from your competition, then people are going to go to them for what they need, rather than your business.

Get To Know Your Customers

How are you supposed to cater to the needs of your customers if you never interact with them? Try talking to your customers, and seeing what they want from your business. This could be through online surveys, social media, or the good ol’ fashioned “let’s get coffee and talk” meetings.

Expand Your Network

How many times have you heard the word “networking” and rolled your eyes in a dismissive manner? As overused and cringe-inducing as that word has become, it’s still an important one. The more successful people you know, the more successful your business is likely to become. So, expand your contact book, and you’ll be getting new opportunities to expand your business in no time.

Have A Good Social Presence

Social media is everywhere these days. Literally, everywhere. By this point, you should already have a couple of social profiles set up to help you connect with your customers. The best way to use these accounts — besides promoting your business and answering customer’s questions — is by having FUN with your accounts. Customers don’t care too much about seeing info presented to them in a stiff, robotic manner; they want to be entertained, as well. Use fun pictures, share some funny gifs, and show your customers that you’re much more than just a business.

Be Yourself

Above all, just try to be yourself, man! People are generally distrustful of business owners when they see them as stark, tense, serious figures. They’ll see through your facade, and accuse you of being fake and unapproachable. Relax, and interact with your customers on a real level, like any normal human being having a conversation with another human being would act. They’re more likely to trust you and be repeat customers if they feel like they can approach you and your business.

11 Business Travel Hacks To Make Your Trip Easier

Traveling for business trips can be a beast with many stress-inducing, grueling, scary heads. Solve one problem, and you’re still facing hundreds more, that are waiting to ruin your trip and cause more stress than your dwindling sanity can take.

It doesn’t have to be this way though! If you travel a lot for business — whether it be for conferences, summits, client meetings, etc. — these 11 travel hacks will keep your trip stress-free, and pleasant!

Roll Up Your Clothes – In any travel situation, saving as much space as possible is a must. Rather than folding your clothes like a retail store, roll them up to make small clothes logs. This saves a ton of space in your suitcase, plus it’ll keep them from getting wrinkled in transit.

Travel Size Toiletries – When you’re trying to save space, it doesn’t make sense to bring your entire bottle of shampoo, lotion, or body wash with you. Make a pre-packed bag of travel size bottles to grab and go!

Bring An Extra Charger – One of the worst things in the world is having low battery on your phone or tablet, losing your charger, and being forced to shell out $20+ for a new one. Bring a travel only charger — or an external battery charger — just in case you find yourself in a tight spot with low or no battery.

Use Airport Time Wisely – Layovers suuuucccck; but they don’t have to be complete time wasters. Use a long layover to answer some important emails, take care of some last minute tasks, or schedule some future meetings for when you get back from your trip.

Beat Jet Lag – Jet lag from international travel can really kill your entire trip, especially if you spend the whole time trying to recover from it. If you arrive in the morning at your destination, try to avoid sleeping immediately, and go to sleep sometime in the evening. If you arrive at night, go to sleep as soon as you can.

Book Hotels With Free Breakfast – Who doesn’t love free food? When you’re booking a hotel for the week, try to find one that offers complimentary breakfast. It’ll save you time and money in the morning (just try to avoid the eggs).

Get A Corporate Card With Great Benefits – Unlike Whose Line Is It Anyway?, where the points don’t matter, the points you get while traveling really do matter! Getting a good corporate card that offers great benefits and points opportunities will pay off in the long run, and you’ll love the money you save with one!

Pack A Snack – Airport food is expensive, so try to pack your own snacks on your carry on bag. If you’re looking for something a little stronger than a complimentary soda, you can also BYOB on your trip, as long as the liquid meets the TSA size requirements.

Download Some Travel Entertainment – Are you behind on Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory, or want to check out that new documentary Blackfish? Download some entertainment to your computer or tablet! It’ll be perfect for long plane rides or layovers.

Pack An Extra Bag – Accidents happen, and losing your entire bag of luggage at the airport on your first day of a trip can be a real bummer. That’s why packing an extra bag of essentials — such as extra toiletries or clothes — can really help out when unforeseen events occur.

Great Travel Apps – There’s an app for everything these days, and travelling is no exception. Great trip planning apps, like TripIt, making planning easier, and others — like Google Translate and Duolingo — can help make international travel less of a culture shock.

Tips On How To Make The Most Of Your Business’s Facebook Page

So, you’ve started a brand new business, and you’re looking to get connected with your customers through the Internet and social media. With all the social platforms out there to choose from, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Should you use Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? Facebook?

The answer to this question all depends on what you feel most comfortable with, based on how familiar you are with each platform. But by and large, the most common, and most used social platform out there, is Facebook. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social platform available, and chances are, your customers are one of those billions of users.

Knowing these facts, the reason to join Facebook becomes obvious. If you want to connect with your customers, Facebook is the way to go! Check out these tips on how to setup a Facebook page for your business, and how to manage it to get your customers involved!

Setting Up Your Page

Setting up your business page on Facebook is super simple, thanks to Facebook’s easy to use controls. Assuming you already have a personal Facebook account, the first thing you’ll need to do is login to your account. Then, click on the options dropdown menu on the top right side of the blue heading. Look down the list until you see “create page,” and then click on that option.

From here, Facebook will guide you through the easy to follow steps for creating a Facebook page for your business. They’ll ask you questions such as the industry your page is for, what type of info you’d like to include on it, how to share your page and get more followers, plus a ton of more helpful information. Click here if you want to go ahead and get the process started for creating your own page.

How Can You Use Your Business Page?

Your Facebook page will work as your personal, online connection to your customers. That means, your customers will be able to send you personal messages, write on your Facebook wall, leave reviews of your business, and ask for help when they encounter a problem.

It’s also a great tool for helping your business get discovered. Besides searching for your website, people will also look to see if you have a Facebook page. With a Facebook business page setup, customers will have no problem finding, and liking your page to stay up with all your announcements and exciting content.

Facebook also makes it easy for you to check your page analytics right inside your business page. Facebook calls these analytics “insights.” In the same way that you’d check Google Analytics reports for your website traffic, you can check your Facebook page’s traffic to see how well your marketing strategies are working. It’s a good measurement to test how interested people are in your business, and the products you might be selling.

To put it plainly, if you aren’t utilizing a Facebook page for your business, you’re wasting valuable, and absolutely free, marketing opportunities.

Managing Your Page

Now that you know the how and why of setting up your Facebook page, here’s what you need to do to maintain it.

Make sure you’re authentic with your customers, and share articles, products, and stories that you genuinely care about. They’ll know if you’re just sharing to stay active. Connect with your customers by posting things that they care about, too.

Respond quickly to messages and inquiries from your customers. Whether it’s a personal Facebook message, or a complaint posted on your Wall, responding quickly is usually the best option. If someone is publicly ridiculing your company on your Facebook page, make sure you respond quickly and respectfully to their complaints. This shows you have faith in your business, and know how to cater to customers’ needs.

Checking your analytics also helps, because it gives you an idea of what’s working, and what’s failing to get grab your customers’ attentions. Once you find out what types of posts are getting the most activity (including likes, shares, clicks and comments), you can figure out how to replicate these types of posts. It’s all about keeping your content consistent.

Facebook has made great efforts to establish itself as one of the premier social media platforms for helping businesses. With these tips, you’ll be getting great traffic and user interaction in no time! For more info, check out Facebook’s tips on managing your business page.

How Your Brand’s Colors Affect The Way Customers See You

Many of the most popular brands around the world can be easily identified by one defining characteristic: color.

Color brings about strong feeling and emotion, just by the shade or hue that is used, and a lot of the biggest brands know this fact. Studies have even been conducted on colors, that show they convey different emotions.

Check out some of these most commonly used colors, and examples of the businesses that use them in their branding.

Red:

Meaning — Passion, energy, power

Who uses it — Huge businesses that have been around for ages — such as Coca Cola, The Virgin Group, and Nintendo — use red to establish their dominance at the top of their markets. But by using red, they also show their customers that they have great passion in what they do.

Orange:

Meaning — fun, youthful, optimistic, comfortable

Who uses it: One of the biggest children’s entertainment brands in the world is the Nickelodeon network. Using orange makes them instantly recognizable to kids as the place to watch their favorite cartoons and fun TV shows.

Yellow:

Meaning — Friendliness,  happiness

Who uses it: When thinking about brands that use yellow in their branding, one of the first things that come to mind is McDonald’s. Their golden arches, which can also be interpreted as a friendly and inviting smile, has been a place for people to experience a friendly environment for years. It’s no wonder they call their kids meals Happy Meals.

Green:

Meaning — youthfulness, nature, growth

Who uses it: Brands that want to attract the younger crowd — one that’s looking for natural, organic, environmentally conscious companies — usually incorporate green into their branding. Starbucks, Whole Foods and Fresh Market use green to show their commitment to freshness, while brands like John Deere use it to invoke a feeling of growth and nature.

Blue:

Meaning — calmness, logic, trust, communication

Who uses it: Many of the most popular social media sites — such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — use blue as a way to invoke trust and communication in user’s minds. While many tech companies — like Intel, Dell, and Skype — use it to show off their logical, progressive company goals.

Purple:

Meaning — luxurious, royalty, leadership

Who uses it: Lots of candy companies, such as Cadbury and Wonka, use purple to entice people to divulge in their decadent products. Others, like FedEx and Yahoo, use it to convince customers of their leadership abilities.

Pink:

Meaning — feminine, loving, nurturing

Who uses it: Pink is often used in branding when trying to appeal to female customers, such as in Cosmopolitan, Victoria’s Secret and Barbie, but it can also be used to showcase a brand’s loving and nurturing nature. Charities, like Susan G. Komen, use pink for their Breast Cancer Awareness month activities, which definitely invokes a loving feeling to those affected by cancer.

Colors can be much more than simple cosmetic choices; they can also give customers a subliminal idea about your company, before they even walk into your store. Think carefully about colors before branding your business!

17 Inspiring Quotes From Famous Entrepreneurs

The road to being a successful entrepreneur is a bumpy one, filled with potholes, loose gravel, and iced over streets. When you set out to start your own business and brand yourself, you’re most likely going to face the inevitable feeling of failure; probably more than once. What you do after that failure will result in how your business will fare in the future.

Have I depressed you yet?

Well then, check out some inspiring quotes from famous entrepreneurs, that are guaranteed to invigorate your passions and get you on the right track to success.

1. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs, Co-founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc.

2. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t — you’re right.” – Henry Ford, Founder Ford Motor Company

3. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” – Scott Belsky, co-founder Behance

4. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.”– Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

5. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney, founder Disney

6. “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” – Arianna Huffington, president and editor- in-chief The Huffington Post Media Group

7. “It is always the start that requires the greatest effort.” – James Cash Penney, founder and CEO J.C. Penney

8. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

9. “Show me a person who never made a mistake, and I will show you a person who never did anything.” – William Rosenberg, founder Dunkin’ Donuts

10. “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.”  – Dave Thomas, founder Wendy’s

11. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”– Bill Gates, founder and CEO Microsoft

12. “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos

13. “Always deliver more than expected.”– Larry Page, co-founder Google

14. “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.”– Mark Cuban

15. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

16. “If you never want to be criticized, for goodness’ sake don’t do anything new.”  – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com

17. “Do, or do not. There is no try” – Yoda, Jedi Master

Tablets And Business: 4 Ways These Devices Can Help Your Company

Since the introduction of the Apple iPad in 2010, tablets have been quickly replacing personal computers as the main device used to accomplish daily tasks, and Web surfing.

The ease of using a handheld device that can accomplish many of the same tasks as a PC makes tablets a great tool for a number of things. Even businesses are starting to jump on the trend wagon.

More and more businesses are now using tablets to accomplish lots of different things, including handling money and editing documents. Here are some ways that you can use tablets to help out your business.

Point Of Sales System

Your Point Of Sales — or POS — is vital for any retail business; it’s how you manage your money. With traditional POS systems, the device has to be set up in a certain part of your store, and customers are required to come to you to purchase an item.

However, with tablets, you can make any spot  in your building a POS. All you need is a tablet, a credit card reading device, and an app tied to a bank account. There are lots of card readers out there that make this easy, such as Square, PayAnywhere, and Intuit.

Edit On The Go

Tablets make it very simple to edit documents, spreadsheets, and even PowerPoint presentations when you’re out of the office, and away from your work computer.

With different file sharing apps, like Google Drive and Dropbox, you can access your important files anywhere, and make changes that will be saved when you return to work.

Staying home for an illness, or due to extreme weather conditions? Tablets can help you stay productive when you can’t afford to miss work.

Manage Time

When employees are working on a wage pay grade, keeping track of their hours is very important. Tablets can help with this as well, thanks to different apps that help to manage time tables even when they’re away from the office.

Apps like Toggl, Timr, and TSheets have apps that work with tablets, so employees can keep track of their working hours, whether they’re traveling for work, or just working from home.

Display

Tablets are great for displaying all sorts of things on a crisp, high definition screen. You can use them for displaying pictures of products in your store, or have your online catalog open so customers can order items that are either sold out in your store, or not available in store.

If you run a restaurant, tablets can be great for allowing customers to order menu items, get drink refills, or order desserts. Chili’s is one of the most recent adopters of tablet technology for restaurants. Each table at the restaurant has a personal tablet on it, that has options to reorder items, play games, ask for your waiter, and pay your bill.

Whether you use an iPad, Microsoft Surface tablet, or Android tablet, these devices can really boost your productivity, and show your customers that you care about new trends in tech!

Stuck In A Tough Situation? Here’s How To Handle Bad PR

When you’re running a business, good public relations can be one of the biggest assets for the future of your thriving company. No matter if you’re a huge, multinational operation, or a small business just getting your taste of the world around you, PR can be a saving grace.

Eventually, your company is going to face an instance of bad PR, whether that be from a local newspaper that writes up a less than flattering article about you, or a public mistake that shines a bad light on your business. Everyone faces bad PR at least once in their company’s lifespan, so it’s important to know what to do with the inevitable occurs.

Here are some tips that can help your business out when you’re stuck in a tough spot.

Have A Plan

The first step to handling any bad situation is, of course, to have a straightforward and well-thought-out plan. When a bad PR situation occurs, knowing what you need to do first to remedy the disaster is key in preventing further apocalyptic consequences.

Think about how bad PR could affect your business, and build a plan around preventing the most probable scenarios.

Elect A Spokesperson

When disaster strikes, you can’t expect someone to take up the charge of speaking to the media or customers to tactfully explain why the disaster happened.

That’s why you always need to make it someone’s job to be the company spokesperson. This person will have to know the company very well, and be able to work under extreme pressure and scrutiny. Hire a public relations school graduate if possible, but if you’re a small business who can’t afford to hire a specific person for that job, elect someone with great speaking and management skills.

Get To The Problem First

When a PR disaster does occur, you always want to be the first person to get to the problem, ahead of all the news outlets, social media users, and haters out there who are going to automatically jump down your throat with a negative spin on the situation.

By releasing a statement first, on your own terms, you have the advantage of telling your side of the story instead of having to play defense. The ball will be in your court.

Spin It Positively

After getting to the problem before anyone else has a chance to, you can turn a negative problem into a positive solution.

You want to be able to spin the perceived problem in a positive way. Even if you just tweeted out on your personal social media account your hatred for a certain high ranking member of the government, you can cover your tail by issuing a positive statement.

This could be in the form of a public apology on your website, through a press release, or through social media. An apology might not seem like a positive spin, but it’s much more positive than keeping silent. When you’re completely silent about an issue, than people really start to think you’re up to no good and can’t be trusted.

It’ll Go Away Eventually

Yes, the bad PR is terrible and stressful in the first few days after it occurs. But just remember, this is the Internet age, and while news travels fast these days, it also dissipates fairly quickly.

In a few weeks, no one will even remember the negative attention that your company got, the customer that left that nasty review on your website, or the terrible comment you got on your Facebook page.

Remember that time DiGiorno Pizza tweeted an offensive tweet about domestic abuse? Of course you don’t, because people forgot about it a few weeks after it happened. You really have to be searching specifically for a news story about that incident to find any info on it, because no one is talking about it anymore.

Eventually, something else more interesting and more scandalous will come along, and no one will even remember your bad PR.

Bad PR stinks, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. As long as you’re prepared for the inevitable, you’ll come out on the other side stronger, and more confident in your business than you were before the disaster!

Gifs Are More Than Just Fun; They Can Really Help Your Business

If you’re as active on the Internet as you should be in this day and age (and you really should be), then chances are you’ve come across the mythical, magical, Harry-Potter-moving-picture-esque images known as Gifs.

Gif (pronounced “jif,” no matter what your friends might say) is an image file type that’s short for Graphic Interchange Format, and can be used as both a static image, or a moving image. The latter is really what sets gifs apart from other file formats, because they allow an image to move like a short video clip, but with a much smaller file size, and a constantly looping format.

Source, www.giphy.com

In recent years, gifs have exploded all over the Internet, thanks to their popular use on social sites like Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter, and, recently, Facebook. So, how can your business use gifs to its advantage? Check out these fun tips on gifs for business.

What’s Up With Gifs?

Truthfully, you probably won’t be using gifs unless you already have a social media account on one of the big 3 social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest — sorry, ‘Grammers, Instagram doesn’t natively support GIF animations yet).

One of the most popular places you can use gifs is Twitter. Some of the bigger name businesses have been catching on to the trend for quite some time, and have found some fun and creative ways to use them.

Gifs are amazing!

Source, www.giphy.com

One of the biggest reasons to use gifs is that they show your customers that you’re paying attention to Internet trends. Why is this important? Why do you need to cater to the young whipper snapper millennials with their fancy moving pictures, and iced chai mocha lattes with non-fat soy milk?

Really, you don’t. You can go through your entire company’s lifespan without using a single Gif. But if you do use them, you’ll show your customers that you’re fun, that you’re not just an unreachable money machine, pumping out products and calculating overhead costs 24/7, 365.

But there’s also a proper way to use gifs. It’s unproductive to post gifs without context, or without reason. Typically, gifs are used to compliment an idea or statement that you’re already tweeting out.

For example, if I was tweeting something fun about being ready for an upcoming holiday, such as the 4th of July, I would compliment the tweet with a gif of fireworks going off.

Source, www.giphy.com

Or, if I was looking to get a funny reaction from customers, I could post a gif of this firework scenario gone wrong. If people like it, your tweet will be retweeted, favorited, quoted and maybe get some replies.

Source, www.giphy.com

All of these things will make your social media traffic go WAY up. The more RT’s you get, the more people are going to see your company’s Twitter account.

Gif Etiquette

But like everything else in the world, there’s something called “too much of a good thing.” So be careful you don’t post gifs with every post. People get tired of repetitive content very quickly, and will soon unfollow you if your gifs are posted too much.

You also need to make sure the gif you’re posting isn’t going to have a negative impact on your followers. Something that might seem like a harmless tweet, might in fact put a bad image in the minds of some people (literally).

Quality of gifs is also a big part of their effectiveness. Tumblr has a knack for producing lots of gifs, but with really poor quality. People don’t like to see low quality photos, so why would they want to see low quality gifs? But thankfully, there are plenty of sites out there that produce great gifs. Check them out.

Where Can I Find Gifs?

These sites are great for finding the perfect gifs for whatever situation you need. Most have easy download options, and share options, so you should have no problem finding the right gif.

  • Giphy – Probably the best gif finding website out there. They literally have gifs for every situation. I’m not kidding. Every. Situation. Plus, their search option is super effective and easy to use. Just type in any keyword, and Giphy will pull up a gif that’s related to that keyword.

Source, www.giphy.com

  • Reaction Gifs – If you’re looking for gifs that express certain moods, or emotions, than Reaction Gifs is your personal glass case of emotion. From anger to sadness to joy, they  have gifs that perfectly express every feeling.

Source, www.reactiongifs.com

You can even make your own gifs, if you’re feeling really dangerous. Websites like imgflip, gifmaker.me, and makeagif are all great, easy to use sites. You can even use Photoshop to make your own gifs, but that should be reserved for the photo editing pros in your company.

Just make sure to credit the source of the gif from one of these sites when you use them on your blog or website. Gifs fall under the Fair Use doctrine, but like anything else, it’s important to credit the source.

Gifs are great, and they show your company can be fun, humorous, and creative. So don’t be afraid to use a gif in a post every once in a while.

Using Slack In The Office

 

Slack is an online office messaging app that has been called the future of communication between employees in the work space. It has even been touted by publications like The New York Times, Bloomberg, and The Verge as the messaging app that will eventually kill off email.

So, if you’re looking for a better way to communicate with your employees, co-workers, or employers, check out these facts on Slack!

Communication Across Multiple People

Slack is a San Francisco startup that launched in August 2013. Since that time, it has amassed a total of more than 1 million active monthly users, with a company value of more than $2 billion.

It’s safe to say that Slack will continue to grow in popularity, and make its way to every company, whether a small company of less than 50 employees or a huge corporation of thousands of workers.

Slack’s main purpose is to simplify and optimize communication between employees. Rather than having countless meetings, sending countless emails, and having countless miscommunications, Slack aims to be an app that always keeps you connected with your company.

When you sign up for Slack, you’ll be able to add as many employees to the app as you want to the software. Once they’re signed up, employees can chat about projects; share files, images and documents; leave comments and suggestions on other’s projects; and even chat with each other on non-work related topics, allowing co-workers to build relationships faster, and have better communication between each other.

Channels

The main way Slack accomplishes this great connectivity is through its channels. Channels are message groups that can be divided into numerous topics, including a general company channel for announcements, specific channels for projects that teams are working on, and even a random channel for fun, stress-free communication.

Anyone can create a channel, give it a purpose, and add co-workers onto that channel. Some channels share messages and files between all employees using Slack, others only share messages with the people that have been added to those channels. So you don’t have to worry about muddling up communication in the general channel.

If you’re not looking to create an entire channel to communicate with a co-worker, Slack’s got you covered there as well. They have a direct message option, similar to Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger, that allows instant messaging between two employees who don’t need to share a message with the entire channel.

There are even private groups to discuss projects and other business without speaking with an entire channel.

Extensive Search Capabilities

What happens when you need to look up a conversation you had with a co-worker three months ago about the new marketing plan you’re supposed to launch this month? If we’re talking about searching to find an email from three months ago where you discussed the plan, you’ree going to have a difficult time getting there (especially if you delete your emails as often as I do).

That’s where Slack’s brilliant search function comes in. Simply search for a certain keyword or name of a project, and Slack will scour its archives to show results for every time that word was used in a channel, or in one of your DMs and private groups.

You’ll never have to worry about trying to recall what was talked about in that meeting all those months ago; you’ll have instant access to it with a simple keyword search.

Sharing Files

When you share files in Slack, they appear directly in your channel stream. For example, if I need to share a blog graphic I’ve created for a new blog post (let’s say this post), all I need to do is find the channel where the blog post is being discussed and upload the file. My co-workers will instantly get a notification that I’ve uploaded a new file, and they can add comments underneath the graphic to offer suggestions if it needs editing.

Besides file sharing, you can also create text snippets — to share certain paragraphs of an important document — or you can create a long post inside of Slack, perfect for creating company wide announcements.

App Integration

What better way to get efficient and optimize work than by integrating all those other apps you use on a daily basis?

Slack offers integration for a lot of the most popular tools and software that companies use every day, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Twitter, and IFTTT.

By integrating these apps, there’s no need to ever have to exit Slack. Plus, they have a great mobile app that allows users to communicate with their team, even when they’re not at the office (don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to use it during your vacation or on the weekends. You can mute notifications when you’d rather not be bothered).

If you’re worried about adding another expense to your company budget, don’t be! Slack is completely free to use for as many people as you want to add (although, they do offer a paid version for much larger companies looking for more features).

Slack is on its way to killing email for good, and, for some people, that’s an answered prayer they’ve been wanting for quite some time.