Hello again Automatter friends!
I was working on the next installment in the Find-Decide-Win series and I figured out a neat trick that I couldn't wait to share. Think of this as a quick how-to that expands what's possible with Zapier and Slack. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek into what’s in store for Decide.
Recall in Two Steps Forward, One Step Back that you can use a new Airtable record as a trigger to start a new channel in Slack and then message or modify it however you want. In that example, sending a company into due diligence creates a dedicated Slack channel and then changes the channel’s topic.
Now let's say you have another activity that you want to trigger a message to the corresponding Slack channel. Say it's a record created in a separate view or a separate table. If you head over to our Automatter Ventures CRM, perhaps I just recorded a new meeting with a company that’s in diligence and I want to alert everyone in the appropriate dedicated channel.
Zapier doesn’t magically know which Slack channel needs the message. It must be determined programatically with the information attached to the new trigger, not the first trigger. How do you do it?
At first I thought I’d use the same information I used to create the channel. But while Slack takes care of conforming new channel names to its standards, they won’t do the same for selecting an existing channel.
There’s a hint here: “If you use a Custom Value, you can also use the channel ID.” In addition to the channel name, every Slack channel has a unique ID. In fact, I used it in my example from Two Steps Forward, One Step Back:
When Zapier creates a Slack channel, it can access the unique ID — but it can only do it within that Zap. So how do we get the right unique ID into the other Zap? How do we (programatically) change the channel?
You don’t do it in Zapier.
You do it in Airtable.
You add a field to your first record for the Slack ID and you add a step to the end of your earlier Zap to update the field with the right ID.
In Airtable, you can link a record in one table to a record in another and use that link to automatically look up the value in a field.
With the correct ID attached to the record that’s triggering our Zap, we are golden.
Thanks for reading. If this helped you, taught you something you didn’t know, or got you interested in the more puzzle-like aspects of no-code and low-code automation, let me know on Twitter.