Over the past few years, Slack has become one of the most popular collaboration tools. Thanks to said popularity, as well as its convenience and ease of use, more and more companies are looking for ways to make Slack a part of their automation workflow. And, considering the popularity and versatility of Zapier, It’s no surprise that many are looking at a Zapier Slack integration to boost their productivity. In fact, Slack is a tool I use in my Zapier consulting business to keep all alerts in one place.
If you want to improve your business processes and team collaboration, in this guide to elevating your productivity with a Slack Zapier integration, I’ll show you why you should give the integration a try. You’ll see sample Slack automation ideas, use Zapier to automate notifications and stay up-to-date with key events in your business. Lastly, you’ll learn how to fix some of the integration’s common problems. But first, let’s look at all the benefits of connecting Slack to Zapier.
Why Integrate Zapier and Slack?
There are many benefits to automating your work. You can do more in less time, save money, and focus on things that matter – just to name a few.
But, in this section, I’ll focus exclusively on key benefits that are focused specifically on Slack’s Zapier integration:
- You can stay on top of what’s happening in your entire business in one place.
That’s right – By integrating Slack with Zapier, you can turn your workspace into a handy “notifications center” for your entire business.
And it’s not just you who can stay on top of everything. With the right channels and alerts, your entire team can get automated notifications when it matters the most.
- You can go beyond Slack’s 10 apps limit.
Zapier is not the only tool you can integrate with Slack. The platform offers dozens of native integrations called Slack apps.
But, there aren’t as many of them as what you get with Zapier. And if you’re using a free Slack plan, you can’t use more than 10 apps.
- You get to connect Slack to one of over 5,000+ apps.
Zapier is THE most popular tool of its kind. It offers several thousand native integrations. This means it’s going to be hard to find a tool in your tech stack that you WON’T be able to connect to your Slack workspace.
Moreover, you can easily connect thousands of other apps thanks to webhooks and a custom integration builder.
- You can build more advanced automation workflows.
Slack offers its own workflow builder. But, while it allows you to build simple automations, it’s not as advanced as Zapier. Plus, the workflow builder is only available to paid Slack users.
The last point is probably the most important one. After all, if you’re automating, why stop at simple workflows? The more you automate, the more you can achieve in your business.
Of course, if you aren’t using Slack yet and are still contemplating the switch – here’s a quick video on how Slack can improve external communication:
Couple the power of Slack with Zapier and you can get even better results!
So, now that we’ve reviewed the key benefits of integrating Slack with Zapier, let’s jump right into the integration itself!
An Overview of the Slack & Zapier Integration
At its core, the integration between Slack and Zapier allows you to:
- Send messages straight to Slack for events happening in your workflow.
- Trigger the workflow whenever something happens in Slack.
If you’re on a free Slack plan (which is pretty popular, especially among smaller teams), you need to have at least one free slot in the Slack app inventory.
Once you connect the two, you’re ready to roll! One of the great things about Slack Zapier integration is that its developers give us plenty of room for customization.
While there’s no point in going deep into all of the options, let’s take a quick look at the way you can send messages to Slack.
Whenever you set a Zap to send a message to Slack, Zapier can send it either as a particular user or as a bot. You can configure this right in the action step settings:
In the latter, case, the message will look something like this:
Interestingly, you can open the Zap editor by clicking a button right in your Slack workspace. In fact, Zapier will suggest you some useful automation workflows that you can build to improve your communications:
Of course, the suggestions are usually pretty basic. Many times, Slack will be a part of multi-step, robust workflows. But before we get to Slack automation workflow ideas, let’s look at Slack Zapier triggers and actions.
Slack Zapier Triggers
Compared to other apps, Slack developers were quite generous. First, there are plenty of triggers to choose from.
And, what’s important is that they’re all instant. This means they’ll trigger your Zap the moment a particular event happens:
As of writing the article, the list of triggers includes:
- New Channel. Triggers the Zap whenever a new Slack channel is created.
- New File. This fires the automation when a new file is uploaded to your workspace. Perfect if you want to archive files in a Google Drive folder (you could even have separate folders for different channels).
- New Mention. Triggers whenever a username or highlight word is mentioned. Useful if you want to automate communication with your team.
- New message posted to Channel. This will start the automation when you post a message to a specific channel.
- New message posted to private channel. This is similar to the above but works for private channels or direct messages to multiple people.
- New public message posted anywhere. This triggers the Zap whenever a new message gets posted to any channel.
- New Pushed Message. This will start the automation whenever you click the “Push to Zapier” option in your Slack workspace.
- New Reaction Added. This is used to start the workflow whenever someone adds a reaction to a message in a public channel. While it may sound basic, it can be used for things such as voting.
- New Saved Message. This will start whenever you save a message. For some automations, this may be used in place of “New Pushed Message”.
- New Team Custom Emoji. Probably the most useless trigger – it starts the Zap whenever a custom emoji is added to a team.
- New User. Fires the workflow when a new user joins your organization for the first time.
What’s important is that all of the above are instant Zapier triggers. This means they’ll start the workflow the moment the particular event happens.
Available Slack Zapier Actions
If you think there are plenty of triggers, let me assure you that the choice is just as generous in the Slack Zapier actions department:
I’ll skip the API requests actions and list only those unique to Slack:
- Add Reminder. Adds a reminder to yourself or a teammate. This is excellent if you want to add a reminder for yourself outside of Slack (but still want to see it in the workspace).
- Create Channel. As the name suggests, it creates a new channel.
- Invite User to Channel. Invites an existing user to a channel. Useful especially in any onboarding automation workflows.
- Send Channel Message. This action sends a message to a channel of your choice.
- Send Direct Message. It sends a direct message to a user or yourself from a chatbot. Messages to yourself come in handy if you want to get urgent information straight to your “personal” Slack inbox.
- Send Private Channel Message. Sends a message to a private channel of your choice.
- Set Channel Topic. Does exactly what you think it does 🙂
- Set Status. This will update your Slack status to a given text and emoji. Comes in handy if you want to set different statuses depending on what you’re doing (and automate that).
- Update Profile. This can be used to update basic profile information, including name or title.
On top of the above actions, there are also several Search Slack Zapier actions:
Find Message. This enables you to find a Slack message using the Slack Search feature. Note that if you’re on a free plan, you can’t access messages older than the last 90 days.
All the other Search actions let you search for users. You can choose to find a Slack user by:
- Email address
- User ID
That’s about it when it comes to options available on the Zapier side of things. Now, let’s take a quick look at one available right in your Slack workspace.
Slack Push to Zapier
Ever got that feeling that you came across a message that you’d like to turn into a task or save into an “idea vault”? With Slack Push to Zapier, you can do that in a single click.
The Push to Zapier feature allows you to manually pick a message that you want to send to Zapier. To do that, you need to select the message that you want to use in your automation workflow and then click the “Push to Zapier” option:
Of course, for the automation to work, you need a Zap with the “New Pushed Message” trigger. Speaking of Zaps – now that you know all the Slack Zapier actions and triggers, let’s jump right into automation workflow ideas.
Slack Zapier Workflow Ideas
With so many triggers and actions available (and thousands of apps available in Zapier), the number of possibilities is endless. In this article, I’ll go across several that I believe are the most useful for all kinds of small and medium businesses.
Send Slack Alerts for New Form Responses
If you’re actively generating leads for your business, you know how important it is to respond to incoming submissions ASAP. By integrating Slack with Typeform and Zapier, you’ll get an alert the moment someone submits the form.
And what if you’re running an eCommerce store?
In this case, nothing is stopping you from using a Shopify Zapier integration as a trigger instead. This alert is useful in all kinds of customer-facing areas – from eCommerce to sales and lead generation.
Of course, the workflow can go well beyond just the two steps (for example, you can collect customer emails, send them a customized confirmation, and even segment them based on the data they provide).
Give Project Management a Boost
With Slack, you can speed up your task creation and project management. First, you can send team members a quick DM each time a new task is created (and assigned to them) in your favorite project management tool.Note that to make the automation work, I used a Zapier Lookup table to assign usernames to IDs that are used to DM users in Slack.
What’s interesting is that if you choose to use ClickUp, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the available triggers.
By using ClickUp’s webhook, you can make Slack a part of your ClickUp – Zapier workflow.
The power of Slack lies in the fact that you can create an automation that works the other way around. Simply speaking, you can use Slack’s “Push to Zapier” feature to create a new task from a new message:
Thanks to this automation you’ll never miss a task idea (even if you plan to schedule that task for later). And, you can create that task with a simple click!
Send Automated Payment Alerts to Your Slack Channel
A payment that didn’t go through is never a good experience – neither for you nor for your clients.
Sometimes, that’s due to the client using the wrong credit card details. However, often, this can be caused by technical issues such as incorrect data being passed from your forms. Whatever the case, the sooner you react to it and resolve the issue, the higher the chance that you prevent the potential customer from leaving.
With Zapier, you can get all payment alerts straight to a Slack channel of your choice. In fact, it’s one of the simplest Zaps. Naturally, you can expand it with steps that add new clients to an email list or keep a log of all transactions. Here’s a sample successful payment Zap:
And here’s an idea of a failed payment automation. As you can see, the Zap both sends a Slack message and adds it to a special log in a Google spreadsheet:
That way you can keep a record of all failed payments, watch for any patterns and resolve bugs faster.
Import Email Details from Gmail to Slack
One of the worst things you can do while working is to keep checking your inbox. Email is a huge distraction that makes you jump between different tasks and lose focus. But what if you’re waiting for a few very important emails?
In this case, you may want to use Zapier to send those emails to Slack. For example, if you’re using Gmail, you can import entire messages straight to your Slack workspace:
As you can see, I used a “new labeled email” trigger. That’s because Gmail allows you to automatically label emails containing certain keywords or coming from a specific email address.
This, in turn, allows you to filter through the messages and send Slack alerts for the most important ones. Of course, that’s not the only thing you could automate with Slack and the Gmail Zapier integration. And, let’s not forget that you can always use Zapier filters to filter through those messages too!
Send Alerts About Twitter Mentions (or Other Social Media Alerts)
Next, let’s look at handling social media. The very basic thing you can do is send yourself direct messages whenever a specific social media event happens. For example, you can send direct messages each time a word or user gets mentioned on Twitter:
Setting similar automation for your key social media platform allows you to be one of the first that responds. All that without disrupting your workflow and leaving the workspace jumping between different social media profiles looking for alerts.
Archive Key Ideas in a Notion Idea Vault
The next Slack Zapier automation workflow can be used to archive key ideas your team comes up with for further processing.
For example, let’s say you’re discussing an important issue and someone has a brilliant idea of what to do with a particular area of your business in the future. It’s a great idea, but it’s not urgent.
By connecting Slack to Zapier, you don’t have to worry that you’ll miss it. Simply use the “Push to Zapier” option and add it straight to your idea database in Notion.
Then, you can come back to it whenever you have the time, without interrupting your work. Of course, if you’re serious about using Notion in your business, don’t forget there’s a lot more you can achieve with a Notion Zapier Integration.
Use Zapier to Push Slack Messages to a Personal Notebook
Similarly to the above, you may come across an idea that you don’t want to add to a shared company Notion database. Instead, you can choose to add it to a personal notebook such as OneNote:
As a business owner or manager, these ideas may not be actionable the moment they pop up in your head. But they can be extremely useful down the road, once you grow your business. And with a Slack Zapier integration, you can save them in seconds!
Naturally, the above are just sample workflows. There’s a lot more you can do with Slack and Zapier – and the key to success is to understand your automation needs and keep experimenting!
Common Slack Zapier Problems
Sometimes, while building or testing your Slack Zapier automation workflows, you’ll run into unexpected issues. Here’s a quick overview of the most common problems and available solutions:
Error: Could Not Add Service
This error is commonly experienced by teams that are actively automating their workflows but are using a free version of Slack – it means they’ve reached the limit of 10 integrations.
To go around it, you can:
- Upgrade your Slack account to a paid version (can be expensive, especially if you invite multiple users).
- Disconnect one of the integrations (and, ideally, use Zapier to automate that work instead!)
Slack Channel not Showing Up in Zapier
This common problem can be caused by permission issues. First, whenever it happens, make sure that you review whether the user you used to connect Slack with Zapier has access to the channel.
Then, review connection settings. Please note that you may have to reconnect Slack altogether in the apps menu.
Slack handles, mentions, and usernames are not working in Zapier-generated messages
This issue is caused by formatting. Due to how Slack and Zapier handle the data they exchange, you need to give Slack “an extra hint” about the text you’re sending. More specifically, you want to:
- Add a “@” before a username and wrap it in two angle brackets < >
- For group/channel mentions, you want to add an exclamation point (so !everyone or !here) and wrap them in two angle brackets < >
- For emojis, you want to wrap the name of the emoji in colons.
- To make links clickable, you want to wrap them in two angle brackets < >. If you want to add anchor text, separate it from the link with a pipe character |.
Note that if you want to send channel names as links, you need to select “yes” from the dropdown menu when configuring your Zap:
The Zap doesn’t trigger for a new message
Two things that could be causing the issue:
- If your message is preceded by an indentation, Zapier will treat it as an attachment and not a regular message. Attachments are all messages sent by other integrations, slash commands, or bots.
- Your Slack account is experiencing problems with the connection. In this case, review permissions or try to reconnect the account.
Boost Your Productivity with a Slack Zapier Workflow
Slack is an amazing collaboration and communication platform with dozens of native integrations that can give your productivity a significant boost.
However, if you want to unlock its true potential, you want to connect it to a third-party platform such as Zapier.
Slack’s Zapier integration comes with several very useful triggers and actions which you can use to connect Slack to one of over 5,000 apps.
And, with the right workflows, you can easily turn your Slack workspace into a notifications and communications command center, skyrocketing your productivity.
The good news is, you don’t have to set everything up yourself – that’s where a Zapier consultant like me comes in. To find out how I can help you harness the power of Zapier automation, schedule a quick discovery call, and let’s talk about your automation needs.
Hey, I’m Jacek. I’m the founder and Chief Automator at Clickleo.com
I’m on a mission to help you use automation to reclaim your time and achieve more in your business.
You can find out more about me – and why I started Clickleo – over on this page