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Comparing Slack's free and paid plans for community management
Feb 6th, 2023

Comparing Slack's free and paid plans for community management

Slack is a go-to platform for many organizations seeking a place to host their community. However, as of September 1st, 2022, Slack made changes to its free plan and announced a price increase on its paid tiers. Many community leaders want to understand what these changes mean for them and their members, and which Slack plan has the features they need for managing their new and existing communities.

This guide for community leaders examines the Slack tiers and compares the free vs. paid plans. In this guide, you will learn:

  • What makes Slack an excellent tool for community management
  • How the community features available on Slack’s Free and Pro plans compare
  • Ways to enhance your approach to building and managing a community on Slack

TL;DR Slack Free plan vs. Pro plan

Slack’s free tier makes staying connected with your community members easy but with certain limitations. The Slack Pro plan has increased functionality for connecting with members and managing your community but at a price point.

Before we dig into the details, here's a high-level overview of how Slack's free and paid plans compare.

Free planPro plan
CostFree$7.25 USD per person/month
Message historyAccess to the last 90 days of messagesUnlimited message history with a searchable archive of conversations
IntegrationsUp to 10 integration with apps and servicesUnlimited integrations with other apps and services
Member communicationAudio and video clips, 1:1 voice and video callsAudio and video capabilities for up to 15 participants at a time, with screen sharing
AnalyticsBasic membership and activity metricsAdditional analytics on channels and member activity
StorageFiles from the last 90 days 10GB per member file storage
Additional featuresCustom sidebar sections
Custom workflows
Member name and email address management

Why Slack for community management?

Many people are familiar with Slack because they use it for work, which is why Slack is a common choice for companies looking to host and nurture a thriving B2B community.

Building a community on Slack allows organizations to bring users, developers, customers, prospects, and influencers together to learn and exchange best practices about a topic or product. Slack community management features have helped companies use the platform to grow strong communities with thousands of members while creating meaningful and deep relationships. Successful communities, in turn, benefit the business by driving product feedback, adoption, and growth.

Slack is great for text-based chatting and organizing conversations into threads, but it is not the only platform to facilitate community and community conversations. Other community platforms like Discord enable your community to communicate in numerous ways, whether via text, audio, or video.

If Slack is your platform of choice, here is everything you need to know about its tiered offerings.

Community features available on Slack’s free tier

Slack’s free tier gives community managers and members the basics in terms of staying connected and engaged with each other. The free tier offers channels, direct message capabilities, and Slackbot integrations—albeit with some limitations.

There are clear benefits and limits to the community features available at this level.


Slack’s free tier allows for unlimited messaging, but messages are only available for 90 days.


Members can communicate freely and access chat history from the past ~3 months, so content and context from recent conversations is readily available.


Capping message history to 90 days was one of the changes rolled out in September 2022.

With message access limited to just 90 days, community members and leaders lose historical conversations and knowledge sharing. This cap limits the free tier’s use as an ongoing knowledge repository for the community.


Slack’s free plan offers up to 10 integrations with other apps or services.


Community teams can add apps to their workspace and connect to other tools and services to enhance their members’ experience. Some common integrations include tools like Google Docs and GitHub—which can be helpful collaborating on community content and code—or Zoom and Donut, for events and programming that keep members engaged.


For community managers, the 10 integration limit isn’t necessarily a deterrent from the free tier—most communities won’t need more than 10 apps.

But for internal business teams who use Slack as a primary form of communication, unlimited integrations are great for productivity and collaboration.

Audio and video calls

Text-based messaging is core to all of Slack’s plans. Slack’s free offering also provides a platform for 1:1 voice or video calls between community members.


Slack’s basic or freemium plan offers audio and video clip sharing as well as 1:1 huddles. Audio and video clips can be used for quick community updates or paired with screen sharing to walk a member through a new feature or use case. Huddles allow members to go from typing to talking or video calling in just one click directly inside Slack.


Huddles are a great feature—but they can only host a maximum of two participants on the free plan, restricting the functionality of live chats. For larger communities that want to host video meetups in Slack, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan or find another video solution. Live screen sharing, a potential support use case, is also not available on the free plan.


The Slack Free plan provides basic analytics about the membership of your workspace, but you’ll need to upgrade for more in-depth insights.


The free plan includes basic analytics on membership and messages, including:

  • All-time usage of messages sent, file storage used, apps and integrations installed
  • Active members, or how many people posted a message or read at least one channel or direct message (sliced weekly and daily for the past 30 days)
  • Public and private message analytics to understand where your members have conversations, and where messages are most commonly read.


While these analytics are a good start, many community managers find they don’t provide the depth of insights they need to deeply understand the health of their community on Slack or what action to take next.

The Pro plan provides additional data like membership and activity by channel or member.

An intelligent community growth platform like Common Room can provide more robust analytics for Slack and across all of your community channels—more on that below.

Community features on Slack’s Pro plan

The Slack Pro plan offers more features, but at a price that community leaders may find to be out of their budget.

The investment for Slack’s Pro plan is $7.25 USD (per person, per month), which can be cost-prohibitive for larger communities in particular. For example, a community with 10,000 members would pay $72,500 monthly.

The cost of the Pro plan is more feasible for smaller communities like deeply engaged invite-only communities or communities of practice.

The Pro tier enhances the community features of the freemium plan with:

  • Unlimited message history, including a searchable archive of all conversations. This upgrade in message history is often the primary selling point for community leaders and teams as it provides a valuable knowledge repository where you and members can find conversations and information that was previously shared in the community.
  • Unlimited integrations with other apps/services, which benefits teams that want to engage their Slack community with a multitude of tools.
  • An additional 10GB of storage per member for more file sharing.
  • Audio and video capabilities for up to 15 participants simultaneously, including live screen sharing. This is an essential upgrade for community teams who want to use Slack’s native audio and video capabilities to run intimate events like new feature workshops or tutorials.
  • Deeper analytics on channels and member activity. With the Pro plan, you can see both basic analytics on membership and messages as well as more detailed insights on file sharing, channels, and members. For community managers, the channel analytics are helpful because they allow you to see which are your most popular channels and measure their activity over time. The member analytics are also useful as they allow you to understand who the most active members in your community are.

In addition to enhancing the basic features of Slack’s Free plan, the Pro tier also offers some additional community management features, like custom sidebars, custom workflows, and user groups in Slack.

Custom sidebar sections

The Pro plan allows you to organize your channels, direct messages, and apps into custom sections on your sidebar. Custom sections are unique to you and will not affect what other community members see.

Customized sidebars can enhance the member experience by giving community members control over their Slack view, making it easier for them to stay on top of the channels and conversations they’re most interested in.

Custom workflows

With the Pro plan, you can automate multi-step tasks or processes that run in Slack or connect with other tools and services. This can save community teams time and energy.

A few examples of how custom workflows can help speed or automate community tasks:

  • Send information to a Google Sheet. This use case might come in handy for things like collecting community feedback, tracking support requests, or managing a nomination process.
  • Moderate a live Q&A session. Give your community the opportunity to hear from company leaders or spotlight a member by hosting a live Q&A session in Slack.
  • Provide an anonymous suggestion box. Use this workflow to give your team the ability to create anonymous suggestion prompts that can provide a safe place for community members to share hard-to-deliver feedback.

Slack user groups

User groups in Slack is another feature that comes with the Pro plan. User groups allow you to add members to specific cohorts, like “moderators” or “ambassadors.” You can then easily communicate with those members via @mentions (the same way you would tag an individual member) or automatically add them all to a new channel.

As indicated above, user groups in Slack can be a useful feature for managing ambassador and champion programs or other cohorts in your community.

Community features on Slack’s Business+ and Enterprise Grid plans

After the Pro tier, there are two more Slack upgrades, and while these two levels don't necessarily lend themselves to community the way the Freemium and Pro plans do, it is still important to know what's out there.


Like the Pro plan, Business+ can be prohibitively expensive for larger communities at $12.50 USD (per person, per month). Business+ offers everything the Pro plan provides, plus another 10GB of storage per member and some additional features that can enhance the community experience, including:

  • 99.99% guaranteed uptime
  • Data exports for all messages
  • Compliance features

Enterprise Grid

This tier is truly meant for internal enterprise collaboration, not necessarily community building.

Like Business+, Enterprise Grid builds off the features of the lower tiers. At this level, you can customize Slack to meet your specific regulatory requirements and get access to a designated customer success team. The price will vary based on your specific needs.

At a glance: Slack’s free vs. paid plans

The tier you choose should depend on your community’s needs—but before deciding on potentially costly Slack upgrades, consider the possibility of other platforms or tools and their benefits and limitations.

You can also consider an intelligent community growth platform that can optimize whichever Slack tier you are already using.

Common Room enhances Slack community management

Regardless of which Slack plan you decide is right for you, Common Room can help you supercharge Slack your community through added intelligence, automation, and reporting capabilities.

Common Room can enhance your Slack community management with specific features that augment Slack’s native capabilities in:

  • Message retention and consolidation into a single view
  • Enhanced member profiles
  • Automated workflows for community engagement
  • Advanced analytics

Message retention and consolidation

While Slack’s paid offerings are the only way your members will have ongoing access to the community’s historical conversations (from 90+ days prior), Slack also offers the ability for your team to keep this data through exports. This functionality, which is available with the free plan, ensures your team will always have a record of community activity and the insights members have shared.

Common Room also captures this data (without any exporting), and combines it with member activity from all your community sources to give you a single view into all the conversations and activity happening across your community—current and historical.

Enhanced member profiles

This unified, more comprehensive view applies to member profiles as well.

Common Room uses machine learning to detect if two (or more) community member profiles from different sources are the same person and combines them. This AI-powered functionality gives you a single, enriched view of each of your community members with data from Slack, Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub, and even business applications like Salesforce or HubSpot.

The result is a single, robust profile for each of your members with key information like their role, email address, company, location, and other usernames from across community channels.

Automated workflows and integrations

Common Room also lets you automate and scale community engagement with workflows. The feature enables community teams to save time on manual outreach and ensure consistent and high-value engagement with members, while still keeping that human touch.

Using customizable templates, teams can craft and launch engagement campaigns over Slack. Common use cases for workflows include welcoming and onboarding new members, re-engaging inactive members, messaging a specific cohort of users, and sending a survey question.

Advanced analytics

As your community grows, Common Room helps you stay on top of trending topics across Slack and all of your community channels.

With AI-powered natural language processing, Common Room topics synthesizes all community conversations into a digestible format to serve up what the community is talking about, trending themes, and sentiment changes related to each topic. These insights can help you monitor and measure the community's response to key events, identify members’ frequently asked questions, and gain insights to inform business decisions.

Common Room’s reporting functionality can also enhance your ability to understand and track the growth of your community on Slack and across all of your community channels. You can see your community health at a glance, including total membership, activity, and engagement rate as well as regional participation, response rate (are member’s questions being answered) and sentiment.

By combining community data with customer and product data, Common Room also makes it easy for community leaders to demonstrate the community’s impact on business. For instance, you can show how engagement in the Slack community accelerates deal close or how members who participate in the community are more likely to become or remain customers (customer acquisition and retention).

Next steps

To learn more about how Common Room can enhance your community efforts on Slack, read Supercharge your Slack & Discord communities by integrating with Common Room. If you’re ready to get started today, you can also try the platform for free or request a demo.

For more on Slack community management, check out our ultimate guide with tips on where to start, best practices, and guidance for making key decisions.

To chat strategy with 1500+ community and DevRel professionals, join us in our own Uncommon Community Slack.