Building a community online is a hot topic these days. With social media playing the game by their own rules, it’s important to find your own place to build a community. So what are some of the alternatives to Facebook groups?
Why building a community matters?
Building a business online comes down to gathering your audience, your people around you and your content.
While social media does a great job at helping, at the end of the day you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Instagram is my personal favorite when it comes to showing up but there is no community aspect plus following all the algorithm changes can be just plain exhausting… Plus, the overall reach is way smaller than it potentially could be.
Having a community space online, can be a great way how to build authority, show up for your audience and grow trust. It’s your space and you can set YOUR rules!
This can definitely come in handy once you want to launch your products.
Are we talking about free or paid community space?
Your community space can be both free or paid. You can also include various access levels and guide your audience from the free space to the paid one.
Having a free community space definitely can be helpful to building trust and growing your inner circle, however, often lower-paid Membership might be an even better way to go as you will get only dedicated people in there (you know, those who actually want to commit!)
Ultimately, it’s up to you, whether you decide to host a free or a paid community space.
Alternatives to Facebook groups to build a community
Why not to use Facebook groups to build a community?
Many successful coaches, course creators and business owners have used Facebook groups to build a community. So why not to follow the lead?
There are quite many reasons but let’s start with the most important one:
IT’S NOT YOUR OWN SPACE
Facebook is a social media just like anything else. Their control and own the content and people on the platform. They can make the final call about blocking someone, deleting your posts or banning the group altogether.
Plus, you never know what can happen with it tomorrow. With Meta changing and updating their platform, groups, as we know, them might come extinct altogether. Or they can come new rules in place that can get your specific group banned or altered.
That’s definitely one of the key reasons why I suggest checking out the alternatives to Facebook groups.
There are other reasons to consider as well though:
- People are getting tired of Facebook. This might heavily rely on your target demographics but many millennials are ditching Facebook altogether and we’re seeking more intentional ways to spend out time online. Much of Gen-Z doesn’t even have accounts on Facebook altogether…
- Alternatives can offer more fun features. As we’ll explore in a bit, alternatives to Facebook groups often offer easier to manage platforms and more fun features to offer for your audience.
- Your course and your community can all live on one platform. It’s always a good idea to simplify your customer journey. Instead of making your audience hop from platform to platform, have it all in one space!
Let’s review the alternatives to Facebook groups.
Circle is where Your Course Creation Membership lives and I consider it to be the ultimate online community platform. It’s not only one of the best alternatives to Facebook groups but also – a great alternative to many other platforms as well.
With Circle, you have a chance to easily build your own online forum space but it also has the features like:
- Live Streams and Rooms (use it instead of Zoom!)
- Video, audio and text content uploads
One of my favorite things about Circle? You have the creative freedom to set it up in a way that works for you.
With various Spaces, you can give different levels of access to your audience and manage various tiers of your membership.
A major downside of Circle is the fact that you CAN’T build sales pages directly on the platform. This means that you must have a separate website where to do that or you can use the checkout link directly instead.
A platform with forever free option! Yes, that alone is an amazing selling point but there’s quite a lot besides that…
Payhip gives you a chance to set up a variety of products, along with having your own community space. This gives you a great platform to host all of your digital offers in one place.
Here will be a full Payhip review for online coaches.
BuddyBoss is a theme for self-hosted WordPress websites so for you to use it, you will either have to use your existing self-hosted WordPress website or start a new one.
Please note that starting a self-hosted WordPress website from zero takes slightly more tech skills than getting started with any of the pre-built platforms. However, having a self-hosted website means that all of the setup, content and ownership is fully yours, which is not the case with any of the other platforms.
It might not be worth it if you’re seeking for quick-to-implement solutions.
One of the best features of BuddyBoss is its affordable pricing – it’s only $228/yearly which comes down to less than $20/per day.
For that, you’re getting a full forum space with various features:
- Lessons and courses
- User groups and profiles
- All the usual features like posts, likes, comments, etc.
- Unlimited everything!
Make sure to check them out!
Interested in managing all of your business in one place? Podia might be the perfect fit!
Podia offers you a chance to create your website, set up and sell a course, and community space – and you have a chance to get started for free.
Podia is very simple and straightforward but it has several powerful elements of an all-in-one business platform.
If you’re thinking about not only having an online community but also selling your courses and beyond, this platform might be a great choice!
Thinkific primary is an online course platform so it might be more relevant to use if you have online courses to sell along with your community access or as a part of your funnel.
However, they do have various quite amazing features to consider and reasons to choose Thinkific over other community platforms.
On Thinkific you can:
- Sell digital courses
- Manage your community forum
- Go Live
- Build landing pages
My personal experience with building a community space and leaving Facebook groups
I used to use Facebook groups A LOT, both for my own business growth, as well as for my online community.
However, the setup never clicked with me.
One of the reasons why I started searching for alternatives to Facebook groups was the fact that I wanted to avoid this social media altogether… I had no joy showing up there and it was always incredibly distracting.
I knew that a big part of my audience feels the same way! Therefore, I decided to MOVE.
Now, when it comes to moving your community space, be ready for some resistance. Not everyone will be fully in and not everyone might understand the benefits of it at first. But if you manage to “lure them in”, it’s mostly a success from there on!
I personally LOVE having my community on Circle. As I also host my courses there and do regular Lives, it really has become my one go-to stop for my membership and offers. I love that I can put my focus on one platform, instead of hopping from one to another…
Would I have done anything differently? No. It think the move was quite a success, most of my audience was excited for the new features and the community space is more active now than it was ever before!
Follow @coursecreationlab for more inspiration and tips.
Ready to take the leap and make your online community happen? Join us in Your Course Creation Membership!