How to install a bot on Slack

Learn how to make onboarding easier with the help of the Donut tool for Slack.

How to install a bot on Slack

Bots are there to make your life easier. They can answer questions, onboard new clients or staff, and much more. When you combine bots with one of the most powerful collaboration/communication tools on the market, you can create an incredible platform. 

That's what I'm here to show you today—the synergy of a bot with Slack. The bot in question is Donut. Donut is a tool that can take your Slack collaboration to the next level with:

  • Multiple Slack pairing channels for different office locations, teams, or interests; 

  • Customized intro messages, frequency, or group size;

  • Insights on team connections;

  • New hire welcomes, and introductions to to onboarding buddies or other teammates;

  • And more.

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic download)

What you'll need

Things you'll need to make Donut work are:

  • A Slack account

  • A Slack workspace that allows the installation of apps

  • The Slack desktop or web-based client

How to install Donut

To install Donut, log onto your Slack interface of choice (I'll demonstrate with the Slack desktop app). Once you've logged in, click the + button under Apps (in the left sidebar). In the resulting window, type donut in the search field. When Donut appears (Figure A), click Install.

Figure A


Searching for Donut from within the Slack desktop app.

Your default web browser will open to the Donut app page (Figure B). Click Install and, when prompted, click Allow to give Donut the proper permissions.

Figure B


The Donut app web page.

And that's all there is to the installation of Donut. If you go back to the Slack desktop (or web-based) client, you'll see donut listed in the Apps section.

How to use Donut

Now, how do you use Donut? The first thing you'll want to do is create a dedicated donut channel. Click + next to Channels in the left sidebar and then, in the resulting window (Figure C), type the name of the new channel (say, donut or onboarding).

Figure C


Creating a new channel for Donut.

With the new channel created, click on it and then, in the text area at the bottom of the window, type:

/invite @donut

You will then see a Finish Setup link appear in the channel (Figure D).

Figure D


You're almost finished.

Next, Donut will allow you to customize the app settings, create an automatic welcome message, and more (Figure E).

Figure E


Customizing Donut is quite easy.

If you click Customize Settings, you'll then be able to create an intro message, set group size and frequency of user pairing, integrate a Google Calendar (not available in the free plan), and enable pairing across departments (also not available in the free plan). If you click the Yeah, Set It uUp! button, a web page will open where you can customize the welcome message for all new members of the channel (Figure F).

Figure F


Customizing the welcome message for new members.

Click the Enable slider for Welcome New Joiners and then click Customize Message. In the resulting editor (Figure G), you can create the perfect message for anyone that joins your new Slack channel.

Figure G


The welcome message editor.

Available plans for Donut

You didn't think this would all come for free, did you? Of course, Donut does have a free plan. That plan allows you to pair 24 people per onboarding round and invite new hires to your onboarding channel. 

If that plan isn't enough, you can opt for the Standard plan with allows you to pair unlimited people, set custom group sizes and intro messages, use advance pairing logic, and integrate your Google calendar. That plan is $49/per month. 

The final option is the Premium plan, which gives you everything from the Free and Standard plan, and adds unlimited targeting, fully customizable messages, and use of Donut's full library of connections programming, such as onboarding best practices.

If you're looking for a way to make Slack even more efficient for the onboarding of staff and users, Donut is certainly a solid option. It'll take some time to get the most out of this app, but once you have it working smoothly, it'll make onboarding new hires and collaborators exponentially easier.

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa