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April 19, 2024
XX min read

What is a Slack Bot? The Definitive Guide [2024]

Slack is a well-known communication platform that connects a company’s teams, no matter where they are. However, to use it effectively, you need a Slack chatbot. Which begs the question, “What is a Slack bot?” 

Slack bots are programs that automate routine tasks, such as sending files, images, emoji reactions, etc. In a nutshell, they automatically react to certain keywords in a Slack conversation or direct message, which makes your work faster and easier. 

But there’s more to chatbots than meets the eye… 

In this article, you’re going to learn what a Slack bot is, how it works, and what it can do for you; moreover, you’ll see some great examples of Slack bots that you’ll find easy to use and very helpful. 

Let’s dive in.

What is a Slack Bot?

A Slack bot is a useful tool for simplifying your business operations through automated commands. This means the bot can send replies automatically by reacting to specific keywords in a Slack channel or DM. 

In a nutshell, a Slack bot can manage certain mundane tasks, such as: 

  • Sending reminders and notifications for an event or project
  • Collecting and analyzing data
  • Sending information like pictures, files, etc. 

You can do all this directly on Slack, so you don’t have to leave it to receive the information you seek from other sources. In fact, Slack integrates with many of your favorite tools you use daily, such as Asana, Salesforce, Zoom, Google Drive, etc. 

Slack bots can benefit Slack users because they optimize your workflow and streamline collaboration between your team members. Instead of bothering another colleague with a question, that person can ask the bot through a common Slack channel. 

Usually, you can search for a specific bot or create one yourself using Slack APIs; but we can talk more about that later, so stay tuned. 

For now, let’s see how Slack bots work. 

How Do Slack Bots Work?

Slack has more than 100 million monthly visitors, according to Similarweb — and maybe not all know what a Slack bot is and how it works.

But you can be part of the percentage that does know how it works. Mostly because you’re reading this article. 

So, Slack bots work by setting triggers, actions, and conditions. 

The trigger refers to a question, a word, an action, or a slash command that signals to the Slack bot that someone needs help. Which prompts the bot to spring into action. 

In the action phase, the Slack bot will do everything in its power to help you. This could be sending a message back, setting up a task, or sharing the requested file. 

But there’s one more thing left: condition. This sets how the chatbot acts and decides what to do. It looks at its conversation partner and assesses what they need, so it can offer the most relevant response. 

Here’s an example:

If you’ve talked to the Slack bot before, it’ll use the chat history and previous interactions to pick up where you left off seamlessly. 

But if a new person uses the Slack bot for the first time, the conversation will start with a welcome message and an explanation of how it can help. 

Hopefully, everything is clearer now. Moving forward, let’s discuss what Slack bots can do. 

What Can Slack Bots Do?

Slack bots can do different things like automating manual human resources tasks (remembering birthdays and anniversaries), collecting all knowledge files in a single place, or creating tasks for projects. 

In fact, 87% of Slack users say that this tool makes them more productive, which is why you should invest in a Slack bot. 

But how many things can it do? 

Overall, a Slack bot’s capabilities depend on its use case. Here are the most common types: 

  • Knowledge management: Some Slack bots like Guru help companies manage and store your company’s knowledge. Others allow you to create polls to get employee feedback or get instant answers to search queries. 
  • Human resource management: There are lots of Slack bots that take care of HR tasks, such as onboarding new employees or fostering a more positive work environment. Aloha, Donut, and Birthday bots are some good examples.
  • Project management: Slack bots like Asana or Trello help you manage your projects directly in Slack. You can create tasks with a slash command or get real-time notifications directly in a Slack message or channel. 

You can also use Slackbot for video meetings or automating workflows. It all depends on your needs. 

But let’s see these bots in action by exploring some good examples. 


What are Some Examples of Slack Bots?

In this section, we’ll explore some good examples of Slack bots that’ll boost your productivity and simplify your life. We made sure to pick a tool for each of the use cases mentioned in the previous section. 

Without further ado, let’s dig in! 

1. Guru

Guru is a marvel of technology. 

It acts as an enterprise AI search, a knowledge base, and an intranet, which connects all your apps, docs, and chats. But it also allows you to get instant answers without leaving Slack through its Slack integration.

Together, this power couple makes it easy for you to identify, capture, share, and access your company’s collective knowledge. You’ll keep a finger on the pulse and search for crucial information without leaving Slack. 

Take a look at this video to see Guru and Slack in action. 

 Or read some reviews: 

[...] We additionally love the Slack integration since that’s where most of our work gets done/talked about.” 

Use cases: Knowledge management. 

Curious about Guru and how it can simplify your life? Try it for Slack today

2. Zoom

Zoom took the world by storm, allowing many remote teams and people to connect more easily via this collaboration tool. Even today, it’s a necessity for organizing meetings and events through video or audio calls. 

Zoom easily integrates with Slack, allowing you to start a video meeting via the /zoom command in any channel, private group, or direct message. In addition, you can easily share a whiteboard with your users, where they’ll see a preview of the file if they have access or receive notifications when you share it. 

The ability to create a Zoom meeting from within Slack has massively improved our meeting quality.”  

Use cases: Video conferencing and meeting. 

3. Trello

Trello is a productivity platform that replaces time-consuming spreadsheets with boards, to-do lists, and cards so you can improve collaboration among your team members.

Together, these two tools work to boost collaboration and communication by linking your workspaces without switching apps. All you need to do is paste a Trello link into a channel and the app will automatically show key info about the project like comments, members, etc. 

These integrations allow users to connect Trello with their existing workflow, sync data, and enhance productivity by bringing multiple tools together.” 

Use cases: Project management. 

4. Aloha

Aloha is a friendly onboarding bot for growing Slack teams but it also helps busy managers. It’s highly useful when you’re introducing new hires into your community because it prompts them to introduce themselves and break the ice through a scheduled message. 

Plus, it helps new employees get familiar with your operations by offering guidance on whatever channel they use. Which, in turn, helps you build a positive company culture, set standards, and avoid interruptions. 

Use cases: New hire onboarding. 

5. Zapier

Zapier is a workflow automation platform that allows you to automate your workflows and build no-code applications. 

In general, the Zapier + Slack integration saves users a lot of time. 

Mostly, it helps us centralize different events happening between the apps we use inside Slack. New interview request? Notification on Slack.” 

You can set automated workflows in a few minutes, letting you bring social media algorithms, calendar events, and new leads directly to a Slack chat. Moreover, you can create automated to-do lists whenever you save a Slack message. 

Use cases: Workflow automation. 

How Can I Install a Slack Bot to My Workspace?

More and more users are joining the Slack workspace every day. According to GP Bullhound, the number of monthly active users on Slack is expected to reach 79 million by 2025. 

But not everyone knows how to install a Slack bot. Which is where we can shed some light. 

Usually, users can add the bots of apps they like via the Slack app directory. Here, you can search for the app or service you already use. Another method is to search for the bot directly in Slack.

Scroll down the left menu until you find the Apps section. There, you’ll have an Add apps button. After clicking the button, you’ll be able to search for the bot you want.

So, you’ve selected the bot you like. Click the Add button. Your default browser will open the tool’s page in the Slack directory. 

On this page, you only have to click Add to Slack on the left of the screen. A pop-up will appear that will ask you to give the bot permission to operate in your Slack workspace. 

And voila — that’s all! Now, you’re ready to configure the bot however you want. 

In the next section, let’s talk a bit about the difference between a Slack bot and a Slack app. 

What is the Difference Between a Slack Bot and a Slack App?

The main difference between a Slack bot and a Slack app is their purpose and how they operate. 

A Slack bot is a program that interacts with users via natural language. Its purpose is to offer automated custom responses to user questions, send reminders and notifications, and share information whenever the user needs help. 

On the other hand, a Slack app does more than just respond to questions; it can include other functionalities, such as interactive messages. 

In a nutshell, Slack bots can be a part of an app. But not every single app has a bot. The apps that do have Slack bots usually post notifications into a Slack channel, like project updates. 

One more thing before we go — let’s see how you can create your very own Slack bot. 

How Can I Create a Slack Bot?

So, you wanna create your own Slack bot? Awesome! Be warned, though: it does require a bit of tech-savviness, especially since you’ll be working with APIs and Requests. 

But we promise we won’t go too technical. We’ll keep it simple.

There are two different ways to create a bot for Slack. The first one is using Slack API and scripts. Here are the steps you need to follow: 

  1. Go to and log into your Slack account. When done, click on Create an app. 
  2. Select From scratch and a pop-up will appear. Name your app and choose the workspace you want to use it in. 
  3. Click the Bots box — here’s where you can start creating your bot.
  4. After clicking on Review scopes to add, scroll down till you find Bot token scopes. Here, you can give the bot permission to send files or write messages into Slack channels by adding chat:write, etc. 
  5. Is the bot ready? Then, click Install to workspace and Allow. After this step, you’ll have a Bot User OAuth Token which you’ll use to send messages.
  6. Last step is to create the channel where you want your bot to operate. Just use the /invite @<botname> command to get started.

If you don’t want to bother going through all these steps, then you can use the second method, which is to use a no-code tool like Flow XO, Zapier, or other chatbot software. 

Turn Slack into a Searchable Knowledge Base with Guru

So, what is a Slack bot? Simply put, it’s a better way to do work, as it enables your team to be more productive by automating mundane tasks. Plus, it has sooo many uses! 

You can send gifs, welcome new employees with just a template — anything is possible! 

But a Slack bot helps your business most when it organizes your knowledge. 

Which is only possible, of course, with Guru. With this combo, you’ll be able to make searching for relevant information easier and transform every bit of conversation into content your team can access easily.

We can talk about Guru for hours. However, we think signing up and getting hands-on experience with it would be your better option.

Key takeaways 🔑🥡🍕

What is a Slack bot?

A Slack bot is an automated program that runs within the Slack messaging platform, designed to perform various tasks and interact with users. These bots can be programmed to respond to specific commands, provide information, and integrate with other tools and services to streamline workflows and enhance productivity. Slack bots can be custom-built or installed from the Slack App Directory, offering a wide range of functionalities such as scheduling meetings, generating reports, and managing tasks.

What is a Slack bot used for?

Slack bots are used to automate tasks, provide quick access to information, and improve team collaboration within the Slack platform. They can be programmed to handle a variety of functions, such as answering frequently asked questions, sending notifications and reminders, integrating with third-party tools, and facilitating team interactions. By streamlining processes and providing instant assistance, Slack bots help teams work more efficiently and productively.

What's the difference between a Slack app and a Slack bot?

A Slack app is a broader term that encompasses any application or integration that extends the functionality of Slack, including bots, slash commands, and webhooks. On the other hand, a Slack bot is a specific type of Slack app that uses conversational AI to interact with users through chat, responding to commands and queries in a human-like manner. In essence, all Slack bots are Slack apps, but not all Slack apps are bots.

Written by
Christine Richardson
Search everything, get answers anywhere with Guru.

Learn more tools and terminology re: workplace knowledge