Slack’s Social Potential
On the “About” page of Medium’s website, the company’s prestigious roster of corporate publishers is featured, including BMW, Intel, and Starbucks. Since 2015, each of these companies have used Medium to host their blogs, grow their audience, and reach new potential leads.
Slack, the much-loved business communication app, has been the most dedicated to the Medium community. While many companies either infrequently post or have abandoned their Medium blog for their own site’s altogether, Slack frequently updates theirs with fantastic entrepreneur success stories, startup features, productivity tips, and app updates. As all content strategists know, blog commitment is key for growing and securing an audience. Slack surely has it, and in less than five months the company acquired 121K Medium followers.
This is particularly impressive, given that Medium doesn’t allow any users (even corporate ones) to pay for enhanced distribution of their posts, and in turn offers very surface-level post analytics. While Medium does have a brand blogger feature, it is ultimately uninterested in sacrificing post quality for ad revenue, and posts can only become popular in feeds organically through user likes. But it’s a double edged coin. On the brighter side, this system guarantees that when a post by a brand is popular, readers trust it will be of quality and by association, may increasingly trust the brand itself. This also means that the audiences are inherently interested and committed readers, and thus most likely to convert.
Still, every digital content strategy needs data to be successful. So Slack doesn’t stop with their marketing efforts at Medium, and this is where they demonstrate their content-optimization genius. Instead of posting on a regular Medium blog page, Slack has utilized the branded blogger features which, though minimal, allows them to make a “Medium Publication” and lets them secure their own personalized URL (without the Medium name) in order to stay brand consistent. In turn, this consistency allowed them to distribute their blog posts on Facebook too, getting post data whilecompounding their Medium and Facebook audiences.
Slack’s most recent Facebook post, including their personalized hyperlink to their Medium blog: http://www.slackhq.com
Now that they’re distributing on Facebook too, Slack’s strategy is put to the test: will it be able to truly influence Facebook audiences enough to grow a meaningful community, one that eventually translates into leads? Judging from the length of their most recent post description (above), there’s some work to be done. But if Slack’s team regularly keeps up with their content creation, uses stronger headlines and post descriptions, micro-targets their posts, and enlists external resources that help them quantitatively track audience content preferences, they’ll have useful data and significantly grow their disproportionately modest 48k Facebook following (compared to their number of users).
Even better, these steps will lead to social media success not just on Facebook, but on Medium too. This data Slack could receive from their post analytics, such as audience preferences, traits of enticing headlines, and strong content topics, will not only grow a large Facebook audience but also inform content creation that better appeals to their smaller but high-quality Medium audience. In this way, Slack can double the likelihood that their readers convert to leads by optimizing two platforms. Here, they have the opportunity to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Let’s see how they perform.