[GUIDE] How to Trigger Zaps at ANY Time with Slack Reminders

  • 23 September 2021
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[guide] How to Trigger Zaps at ANY Time with Slack Reminders

 

Reminders

Reminders are great!

Reminders get info out of your head and prompt you when scheduled.

If you’re using Slack and not taking advantage of their Reminders feature, then you’re missing out!

(Read more about Slack Reminders: https://slack.com/help/articles/208423427-Set-a-reminder)

 

Apps

These apps will be covered in this how to guide for scheduling Zaps to process at set dates and times.

  1. Delay by Zapier
  2. Schedule by Zapier
  3. Google Calendar
  4. Webhooks (ADVANCED)
  5. Slack

 

Use Case

  • You want to trigger a one-off Zap on command at a future time. (Slack)
  • You don’t want to trigger the Zap now. (Webhooks)
  • You don’t want to trigger the Zap on a set schedule. (Schedule by Zapier)
  • You don’t want to clutter your GCal with Events that trigger Zaps. (Google Calendar)
  • You may want to have your Zap triggered +/- 30 days in the future. (Delay by Zapier)

 

Solution

Slack Reminders to the rescue!

Plus, Slack is free to use.

See options below for the different approaches and shortcomings.

 

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Option 1: Delay by Zapier

Using Delays in Zaps can be useful, but only if delaying for a period of time in the near future. (under 30 days)

 

Limitations

Delay by Zapier has limitations to be aware of.

  • Delay For: Note that the maximum we can hold a task is for 1 month, so you won't be able to set the Delay For trigger for longer than 4 weeks.
  • Delay Until: Note that the maximum we can hold a task is for 1 month.
    • If the date passed into the Delay Until field is greater than 1 month from when the zap triggered, it will error out.
  • Delay After Queue: Note that the maximum we can hold a task is for one month (31 days).

 

###

 

Option 2: Schedule by Zapier

Zaps can be triggered on set schedules, but those will trigger repeatedly unless the Zap is turned OFF.

 

Schedules

  • Every Day
  • Every Hour
  • Every Week
  • Every Month

 

Help: https://zapier.com/apps/schedule/help

 

###

 

Option 3: Google Calendar

The Google Calendar Event Start trigger can be used to trigger a Zap, but that means cluttering your Calendar and may impact your availability.

 

Zapier Community Topic

Guide on how to create a long delay with Google Calendar to trigger a Zap:

 

Use Google Calendar's New Event Start Trigger to Create a Long Delay

Help Article: https://zapier.com/help/doc/google-calendar-tips-tricks#use-google-calendars-new-event-start-trigger-to-create-a-long-delay

 

###

 

Option 4: Webhooks

Webhooks can be used to trigger a Zap on demand when invoked by a designated URL.

NOTE: This is an advanced approach that uses technical concepts.

Help: https://zapier.com/apps/webhook/help

 

###

 

Option 5: Slack

Slack Reminders provide the flexibility for scheduling and managing when you want Zaps to trigger.

  • Quick to create with a Slack slash command (/remind)
  • Easy to manage (view/complete/delete) with a Slack slash command (/remind list)
  • Can be applied to different Slack Channels
  • Can be set to be recurring at desired intervals
  • Can be structured to include additional data that can be used in Zaps

 

TIP: Learn about Slack Slash Commands: https://slack.com/help/articles/201259356-Slash-commands-in-Slack

 

Reminder

Overview of the structure for a Reminder to a Slack Channel.

 

Example of how to structure a Reminder:

 

Confirmation

Make sure you get a confirmation from Slack that the Reminder has been set correctly.

 

BONUS: See and manage your Slack Reminders (Upcoming, Recurring, Past & Incomplete) with this handy shortcut slash command: /remind list

 

Zap

Example of a simple Zap that is triggered by a Slack Reminder.

 

Steps

  1. Trigger: Slack - New Message Posted to Channel
    1. Pick your desired #channel
  2. Action: Filter
    1. See screenshot below for conditions
    2. This is key!
  3. Action: Twilio - Send SMS
    1. Include contents of the Slack Reminder message

 

Step 1

Trigger: Slack - New Message Posted to Channel

 

Step 2

Action: Filter - Conditions & Criteria

 

Step 3

Action: Twilio - Send SMS

 

Results

Example results when the Zap triggers and runs!

 

Slack Channel Reminder

Example of the Reminder sent to the Slack Channel at the designated date and time, which then triggers the Zap.

 

Zap

Check your Zap Runs for triggered Zaps, possible errors/issues, and details about the DATA IN/OUT for each step: https://zapier.com/app/history/

 

SMS

Example of the SMS that was sent by the Zap and received by the end user.

 

Recap

There you have it, the power of Slack Reminders!

How will you use Slack Reminders to trigger Zaps?

TIP: When in doubt, test it out.

 

Tips and Inspiration contributed by: Troy Tessalone - Automation Ace


6 replies

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@nicksimard You may be interested in this.

Not a real solution.

This isn’t really a solution for triggering with a reminder, if you have to memorize adding an arbitrary channel into the payload of any reminder effort. It might as well read

/remind #elephants to do something 

and then you tell zapier (or ...) to watch the #elephants channel. All this is doing is watching a channel and looking for ANY post in it, then filtering for the arbitrary word, which could be “artichoke”. 

Also, if you use the “remind me about this” menu option on a message, this effort will get completely lost on those types of reminders.

What we REALLY need

...is a workflow or external trigger (like Zapier) that occurs any time ANY reminder is set, and it needs to include a few data points, like message ID, reminder due time, origin of reminder time, reminder payload, reminder channel, etc. 

That would do a lot for us. Slack reminders are a great thing, but the “Later” box would be an awful productivity application to rely on solely. We need to get these into a real app like todoist or akiflow or marvin or trello or something. Want to see people taking greater advantage of reminders, add this kind of reach to their functionality...

Userlevel 7
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Hi @chrspurser 

Best to submit feedback and feature requests for Zap app triggers/actions via a ticket to Zapier Support to be logged: https://zapier.com/app/get-help

Hi @chrspurser 

Best to submit feedback and feature requests for Zap app triggers/actions via a ticket to Zapier Support to be logged: https://zapier.com/app/get-help

 

Oh I did. I thought maybe my incomplete though could help others chime in with ideas… :) 

Userlevel 7
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@chrspurser 

fyi...Zap app triggers/actions are limited to what the app API/webhooks support.

Yep - they sure are. 

I’ve been engaged with Slack a bit today and while they do not have a native way to do this right now, they mentioned it might be possible by custom method via their API.  Its outside of our current available ingestion, so if anyone takes this on and has any luck, I’ll be curious to see what is made of it.

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