The Best Alternatives to Facebook Groups 

The reasons to explore alternatives to Facebook Groups have never been more obvious. But where are you going to take your people next? Let’s look at your options.

For the past decade, Facebook Groups have been the most obvious way to build an online community. Whether it was for something fun and casual like following the LA Clippers or more professional like supporting a paid online course, no one was going to criticize you for using a Facebook Group. 

But that was a simpler world. 

Today, the reasons to look at evaluating options for alternatives to Facebook Groups are overwhelming. From data privacy to politics, clickbait, and uncomfortable business practices, your members are open to Facebook Group alternatives like never before. Sure, the rationale that “everyone’s already on Facebook” may still be true, but how many people actually want to spend time there?

Beyond the obvious headlines, for brands, creators, and entrepreneurs, there are three very good reasons to explore alternatives to Facebook Groups today: 

Reason 1: You can’t reach your people

Did you know that for any of your posts, you only reach between 1%-5% of your members or followers in a Facebook Group? On a Facebook Group, there’s no way to reach everyone with an important message or new content, even when you’re the group admin. 

Worse, when your members do see updates from your Facebook Group, they are smashed together with everything else in someone’s newsfeed: political news stories, updates from friends or family, recommendations for other competing groups, and more. 

This noisy, cluttered experience may be fine for a casual interest, if you’ve got a program or membership that’s bringing people together to master something interesting or important together, this lack of control is a dealbreaker. 

Reason 2: You can’t charge

If you’re thinking about using a Facebook Group to run a paid membership site or sell online courses, you can’t. There’s no way to charge for access to a Facebook Group.

As more people are willing to pull out their credit cards to join paid communities or access an online course, Facebook’s limitation on payments is pushing many group admins to look at Facebook Group alternatives that let them charge. 

Reason 3: You can’t add online courses or “mastermind” groups

The last reason to look at alternatives to Facebook Groups is all of the features that you want to add to organize your community and make it more valuable to your people. 

This might be in the form of using your free community to launch a paid online course or a paid “mastermind” group for people who want more time or attention. A Facebook Group doesn’t allow for either one of these options. And today, there are emerging alternatives to Facebook Groups that are built for just this type of flexibility.  

How Do I Evaluate Alternatives to Facebook Groups?

When you look at alternatives to Facebook Groups, you want to evaluate your options on the following criteria:

  • Can I brand it as my own? You want to be able to use your own branding and domain name on whatever platform you choose.
  • Is it available on both web and mobile apps? It’s 2020. You want to make sure that any alternative to Facebook Groups you choose is instantly available to you and your members on iOS, the iPad, Android, and both the desktop and mobile web. 
  • Will my members like it? You want to ensure that your Facebook Groups alternative is well-regarded, well-reviewed, and offers your members the core features they expect. While no alternative will be perfect, it should offer you and your members more than they’re able to get with a Facebook Group. For example, online courses, mastermind groups, and direct monetization should all be musts in your evaluation. 

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3 of the Best Alternatives to Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups Alternative #1: Slack

Slack, a business productivity tool used for work teams, is the most common alternative to Facebook Groups that has emerged in the past five years.

Pros: 

  • People are increasingly comfortable using Slack because they use it at work. 
  • Slack is instantly available on the web and mobile apps. 
  • Slack is great for small groups that already know each other.  

Cons:

  • You can’t brand Slack as your own.
  • There’s no direct monetization features in Slack. 
  • There are no online courses or sub-groups in Slack. 
  • It’s not designed to introduce people who don’t know each other.
  • It charges per member, so it can get expensive quickly. 

A Slack team has worked pretty well as a Facebook Group alternative, but newer options are quickly making it obvious where the gaps are with Slack. 

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Facebook Groups Alternative #2: WhatsApp

The second most common alternative to a Facebook Group in 2020 is WhatsApp, a mobile app without a website that’s also owned by Facebook. 

Pros: 

  • No one will freak out if you say, “hey, let’s use WhatsApp for our group.” 
  • It’s strongest for international groups.

Cons:

  • You can’t brand WhatsApp as your own.
  • You have to set up your own separate community website. 
  • There’s no direct monetization features in WhatsApp. 
  • It’s not designed to introduce people who don’t know each other.
  • It’s owned by Facebook. 

A WhatsApp group text is great for family or friends, but as a Facebook Group alternative, it’s hard to see how it works. 

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Facebook Groups Alternative #3: Mighty Networks

The newest Facebook Groups alternative is a Mighty Network, a Squarespace or Wix-like website builder that comes the closest to offering everything you get with a Facebook Group but under your own brand (including an option to get your own branded native mobile apps).

Pros:

  • You can offer a Mighty Network under your own brand.
  • You can reach 100% of your members (who will love it)
  • It has the most comparable set of features to a Facebook Group.
  • Online courses, mastermind groups, and more are available in your Mighty Network. 
  • It’s designed for people who don’t know each other to meet and build relationships. 
  • You can directly charge for access to your Mighty Network or online courses or mastermind groups within your Mighty Network. It’s flexible. 
  • It’s not owned by Facebook. 

Cons:

  • When you move to a Facebook Group alternative like a Mighty Network, you lose some of the traffic Facebook may send you. But you make up for it with deeper, richer member engagement. Still something to consider.

The Winner: Mighty Networks

Today, the hands down best alternative to Facebook Groups is a Mighty Network. Especially if you’re looking to grow a digital business with online courses or membership subscriptions, no other platform has the breadth or depth of features as a Mighty Network

Create your Mighty Network today. 

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