The 5 Best Alternatives to Facebook Groups
After almost a year of social isolation, you've decided to start a new community. You know there's others out there looking to connect, it's just a matter of gathering them and building a business around it. Your first thought is to create a Facebook Group, but using Facebook as a base might deter new members. So, what are the best alternatives to Facebook Groups?
Why leave Facebook?
Facebook isn’t necessarily the best place to create, engage, and grow a community. For many, privacy is a priority, yet the social network’s record has left users lacking trust. Facebook Groups themselves leave a lot to be desired. As a community manager, you don’t have access to your own data, and peer to peer messaging is not permitted amongst members who aren’t Facebook friends. This limits the growth of organic meaningful connections that drive your community forward.
Managers have also looked for alternatives to Facebook Groups because of how the site's features change frequently. For example, group chats were removed with little to no notice. There are also plans to remove the “get together” function, a feature which is used to create a quick event or gathering. Not only do managers have limited control of how their community is organized, key features can be removed overnight.
There are also real concerns about reach. It’s reported that just 1%-5% of members or followers are reached by the average post. The social network has been criticized for its layout, and it’s not certain that members read and engage with the posts that matter. The website’s algorithm can be confusing, which further complicates productivity for community members and managers.
Customization is another reason why community managers search for alternatives to Facebook Groups. It’s not possible to organize content with subgroups or categories, and your only other option is having pinned threads at the top of the group. Facebook’s singular template just isn’t customizable enough for millions of online communities.
Lastly, monetization on Facebook is a key issue. The social network has tried to market itself towards businesses and entrepreneurs, but there’s still room for improvement. You can’t implement direct monetization for your community, such as adding a charge to enter a Facebook Group. That means there’s limited options to run a paid membership, or even provide online courses. This has left many managers searching for alternatives to Facebook Groups, aiming to move their community to a platform with more options for monetization.
The five best alternatives to Facebook Groups
Slack is a popular app for business communication, and has been used by many professionals in different industries. It’s fairly easy to use, with an organized layout and discussion channels. The ad free app can also be enhanced, with options to add third-party tools and extensions. Use the free option for 10,000 messages and 5GB of storage space. The paid plan is a $6.67 charge for every member. Another downside is that Slack groups aren’t ideal for building a sense of community where you truly get to know the members. Slack has room to improve for event management too. There are also limits with customization and moderation, so do your research before you consider moving your community to Slack.
A platform that needs little introduction, Reddit remains a popular social network and forum for communities. Founded back in 2005, the website has stayed relevant thanks to being free to use, open source, and easy to navigate. The site has grown organically, thanks to popular public “subreddits,” which are filled with content that gets indexed on search engines. There are also options for managers to select privacy of their subreddit, with the choice of Public, Restricted, and Private settings. That said, Reddit leaves a lot to be desired in terms of customization. The ad free paid plan is more appealing, coming at a cost of $5.99 per month.
Panion is a relatively new platform, yet it’s already proven to be an innovative service for community managers. First off, it’s free, with an easy-to-use, ad free app and web service. This option comes complete with tools for basic community-building, engagement and analytics. A unique feature is Panion’s artificial intelligence, which is used to bring users from around the world together, uniting them over shared interests. This boosts connectivity between members, and can help you get more traction and activity in your community. There are two subscription plans. The first, ‘Growing,’ offers community-building consulting, segmented messaging and detailed analytics. The second, ‘Scaling,’ comes with API integration, custom analytics, and more. Panion is a unique ad free platform that allows community managers to use innovative technology to help create, manage, and grow communities. It's safe to say that Panion is one of the best alternatives to Facebook Groups.
Patreon has become a popular place for creatives to build and grow membership-based communities. Online content creators like YouTubers have created Patreon pages for their community to pay for exclusive ad free content. The site offers monthly subscriptions, different membership options, as well as analytics to monitor your community. Patreon has three packages, Lite, Pro, and Premium, all with different tools to suit the community managers needs and requirements. However, not everyone is passionate about Patreon. Some have criticized the company’s content guidelines, while others have found problems with Patreon’s lack of built-in promotional tools.
Groups.io is a retro alternative to Facebook Groups. The forum-style site has a layout some may call dated, but it’s actually reasonably user-friendly for beginners. After creating a group, you’ll receive messages to guide you through group configuration. All your group’s customization can be done in the Settings page. There is also a built-in chat service, hashtags and a calendar to organise community events. It’s free to use, and you can create groups with no limit on members. However, pay extra for added storage space and other features. For all its positives, Groups.io also has some issues. Mainly, the content guidelines mean that Groups.io may delete posts without warning, which many users have taken issue with. You may have to do your research before you consider moving your community to Groups.io.
Though Facebook is still used by millions of users, community managers have long been looking for alternatives to their Groups feature. If you are a community manager looking for alternatives to Facebook Groups, now is the perfect time to choose a different platform. When doing so, consider which features are most important to you as a manager. You can get started by downloading our free app, or visit our website to learn more. Choose Panion as the essential alternative to Facebook.