You text mom, your kids, your significant other. What are you using for instant messaging both inside and outside your company? Are your sales teams messaging each other and external clients, using just whatever IM app they happen to have? Does it connect with your in-house systems? Is there a record of the conversations?

If no, then you can definitely ramp up your IM performance with flexible tools. Since mobile has rocketed to be a top communications channel, options abound for incorporating IM into your toolset in a meaningful, trackable way.

 

Convo is a secure messaging app offering a threaded, newsfeed format that’s easy for individuals and groups. With Convo, go beyond IM with in-context discussions that get saved like emails threads, but faster. Your individual feed keeps you informed and up-to-date with the people that you work with every day.
BEST FEATURES: Convo can integrate with 700+ apps that you already use, so you can communicate with every team you’re working with, all from one place.
PRICING: Free to get started up to 20 users. Upgrade to plans starting at $5 per month peruser.

 

Campfire by Basecamp is a web-based platform you can use to send and receive messages instantly between individuals and groups. Exchange IMs, share documents and media files anytime from web or mobile. Configure Campfire into private chats for partners, clients, in-house colleagues, or project teams on the fly.
BEST FEATURES: Campfire lets Basecamp teams use the same central hub for IM, group chat, sharing media and code.
PRICING: Right-sized Basic, Plus, Premium and Max plans from $12 per month to $99 per month.

 

Slack is the popular collaboration and instant messaging system primarily designed for software developers, now using extensive integrations make Slack a great solution for teams of all kinds. Slack itself offers dozens of built-in integrations in addition to third party apps that integrate with Slack.
BEST FEATURES: Slack uses channels to sort chats and alerts by group or topic, by public, invite-only or special teams. Messaging includes text, or docs, media files and code.
PRICING: Free forever with basic features. $6.67 per person monthly for Standard, and $12.50 for Plus.

 

HipChat is a powerful, secure and reliable IM tool that uses @mentions to thread chats by topic. With added features such as video calling and screen sharing, HipChat keeps the workflow moving without having to switch between IM, email, screen sharing and drop boxes.
BEST FEATURES: Integrates with services like JIRA, Bitbucket, GitHub, Asana, Google Hangouts, Zendesk, and 150+ more. Custom emoticons and HipBots, animated GIFs, RSS feeds, and Twitter notifications.
PRICING: Free forever basic version. Upgrade to Plus for $2 per month per user.

 

Jive Chime features a real-time instant messaging application for individuals, in-company groups or external client support. It’s easy to set up public and private chat rooms as permanent hubs, or on the fly. IM works with other Jive communication modules.
BEST FEATURES: Dashboard shows when people are online, offline, or away. Read Receipts with every message.
Provide administrative rights to users in an organization as needed.
PRICING: See vendor for details

 

Symphony is a secure messaging application that uses Signals based on #hashtags, $cashtags, rooms, and users. Reduce the number of communication systems by managing all IMs and Chat Rooms in one feed, exchanging messages and files with people inside and outside the company. Symphony offers secure user authentication, expression filtering, and legal disclaimers.
BEST FEATURES: See your feed how you want it. Pin important chats, pop-out or re-size windows.
PRICING: Free forever with limited features. Upgrade for $15 per month per user.

 

Teamwork Chat is an instant messenger app that uses @mentions to thread direct messages and chats by topic or by user. Keep track of multiple conversations with Teamwork Chat’s timeline, rooms, and people sidebar tabs. Create tasks and projects. Quickly notify the team using @all and @online, or @mention teammates directly.
BEST FEATURES: Reply to conversations from your email. Enhance messages with emojis.
PRICING: Free forever for two projects and 100MB space. Right-sized plans start at $49/month for unlimited users.

 

Glip is a suite of business collaboration tools featuring IM, video chat, file sharing, task management and shared calendars. Glip is flexible, integrating easily with popular apps and services such as Evernote, Dropbox, GitHub, Google Drive and others.
BEST FEATURES: IM and group chat comes with file sharing, task management, video conferencing and shared calendar.
PRICING: Free forever limited version. Basic is $5 per person, per month. Pro is $10 per person, per month.

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