Slack is pretty quickly becoming the go-to enterprise communication tool.
Over 18 million people use the app every day to collaborate and communicate with each other. And while Slack is great for keeping in touch with your team, it can also be used to automate mundane tasks with the help of bots.
Want to learn how to create a Slack bot of your own? Don't know how to code? No problem! It's actually quite easy to create a simple bot without any coding knowledge. And in this 100DaysOfNoCode guide, we'll be showing you how.
What Is a Slack Bot?
One of the things that makes Slack such a great professional communication tool is its impressive collection of integrations (called Slack Apps).
A Slack bot is a very specific kind of integration (or Slack App) that's designed to interact with users via Slack's core messenger feature. Rather than clicking buttons or scrolling through menus to access features, users can chat directly with the bot using commands or natural language prompts.
It's a way to build an app with a bit more personality and character than a basic web or mobile app. And the best part is, you don't need any coding experience to create one!
Why Create a Slack Bot at All?
If you're using a messaging tool, what's the easiest way to get information or perform tasks? By chatting! With a Slack bot, you can automate routine conversations and tasks so that you don't have to spend time repeating yourself or manually entering information. You can simply ask the bot for what you need, and it will take care of the rest.
One of the best things about a Slack bot is that's always online and ready to answer questions or take requests. This means that you can provide your team with the information they need, at any time of day. No matter what timezone they're in, your Slack bot is always ready to help.
Ease of Setup
Creating a Slack bot doesn't require any coding experience at all. Anyone can follow the steps we'll be covering in this article to create a bot that can interact with users and help them access the information they need.
Zapier is the tool that's going to allow us to create our Slack bot without writing any code. It's a powerful automation platform that you can use to connect apps that otherwise wouldn't be able to interact with each other.
To get started, head over to Zapier and sign up for an account.
Unfortunately, you can't create multistep automations on Zapier's free plan. Since we'll need at least two steps for our Slack bot, you'll have to upgrade to one of Zapier's paid plans. There is an automatic free trial for new users, though!
Step 2: Create a New Zap
A “Zap”is just Zapier's proprietary name for an automation.
To create one, click “Create Zap” from your dashboard and choose Slack as the trigger app to start with. This will take you through a series of steps that allow you to set up the automation that will become your bot.
Step 3: Configure the Trigger App (Slack)
Configuring the trigger app means selecting the action that will initiate your automation. The process is pretty simple:
Choose the “Event”. This is the kind of action that will trigger the automation. For this guide, we're going with “New Public Message Posted Anywhere”.
Link your Slack account. Pretty self-explanatory. This allows Zapier to connect with your Slack workspace.
Define your trigger. This is basically asking if you'd like other Slack bots to be able to trigger your Slack bot. This is up to you, but we'll be entering “no”.
Test your configuration. This just checks to make sure everything is working properly so far.
Once your trigger app is fully configured, it's time to move on to the first action.
Step 4: Configure the First Action (Filter by Zapier)
Filter by Zapier is a built-in Zapier app that lets you scan data coming in from the trigger app (in this case, Slack) and create an output based on the parameters you set.
For our Slack bot, we'll be filling in the three parameters as follows:
“happy birthday”. This one is totally up to you. Enter the text that your Slack bot will be listening for. For example, “weather” or “status report”.
Step 5: Configure the Second Action (Slack)
Now it's time to configure the bot itself—the app that will be responding to our trigger.
For this, we need to do three things:
Choose Slack as the action app.
Link your Slack account. Again.
Decide what the bot will do. This is the fun part where you get to decide the response that your Slack bot will give when it gets triggered. For example, you can have it send a message in response to the trigger, or you can have it post an image or other media.
That third step is really open-ended. Zapier is a super versatile tool, so you can do just about anything here. For this simple Slack bot template, we're just going to have our bot send a birthday reminder to the team when someone says “happy birthday @[username]” in one of our channels.
When you hit test, you should get a message in Slack from your bot. If everything looks good, hit “Publish Zap” and you're done!
Get Creative With the Power of No-Code Tools
No-code tools open so many doors when it comes to automating processes. With just a bit of setup time, you can have complex systems running with minimal maintenance required. It's a pretty amazing feeling when you realize just how much you can do without writing a single line of code.
If you're curious about learning more, 100DaysOfNoCode can help. Whether you're looking to join the no-code movement or build an MVP, we have the resources, coaches, and experience to get you there.