If you’re a creator who has built a community online, then you’ve probably considered using a Facebook Group. But we are living during a time where much more powerful platforms exist to build a thriving community.
Whether you created your community around something casual like following a sports team or something professional like a health & wellness business there are great alternatives to Facebook Groups out there.
Ahead, we’re going to explore why people are looking for new community platforms and look at some great alternatives to Facebook Groups you can consider.
Why are people looking for alternatives to Facebook Groups?
Today, many creators are looking for Facebook Group alternatives and for good reason. It seems like more and more each day Facebook is in the news for something: data privacy to politics, clickbait, uncomfortable business practices…the list is long.
But the good news is that most people—including your members!—are open to Facebook Group alternatives like never before. They just need to be told what they gain from moving somewhere else.
Beyond the obvious headlines, for brands, creators, and entrepreneurs, there are 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 casual interest, but 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.
The best Facebook Group alternatives will put the control back in your hands when it comes to notifying and communicating with your members. When you build your community outside of Facebook, you’re creating your own private network for your content and your members. Do you know what that means? Fewer distractions from all the noise Facebook’s algorithm creates and more interactions with and between your members.
Reason 2: You can’t charge
The next reason creators are seeking out alternatives to Facebook Groups is that Facebook doesn’t give options for monetization. So 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.
This is a critical miss from the platform as a whole. Facebook is great at asking you the creator to spend money on advertising, but when it comes to making money they are quiet. More and more people are willing to pull out their credit cards and join paid communities and online courses. Even if you’re not interested in these avenues right now, why not have those options available to you in the future?
The best alternatives to Facebook Groups will provide you with more control, features, and ways to monetize your business. When you choose an online community building platform you’ll be able to choose how you make money and create recurring revenue streams for your content.
Whether you’d like to create a paid subscription, hold a paid virtual event, or teach an online course, these are all great ways to rejuvenate old content and make money while doing it.
Reason 3: No customization
Another one of the many reasons that creators have flocked to Facebook Groups in the past is that they are easy to set up. In fact, you could probably create a group page in minutes. But what you gain speed you lose in customization.
Facebook Group pages are so easy to set up because they barely give you any control over how they look, what you can implement within them, and how they evolve. The best alternatives to Facebook Groups give you a beautiful framework to build off of and make the community space your own.
Oh, and that whole bit about how easy Facebook Groups are to launch? The same is true about the private network you can create on an online community platform.
Reason 4: 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.
Reason 5: You have no control
When you choose to build a community using a Facebook Group you’re giving all the power to Facebook. Think of it this way, with a Facebook Group your community will always be governed by what Facebook deems appropriate.
What might that look like in reality? A simple example would be that Facebook changes its aesthetic from time to time and you don’t have a say in how that affects your community. Pretty much any Facebook Group alternative will give you the control to determine when and how your community changes.
On top of that, Facebook doesn’t even give you control over your member data, and we’ve already seen how they’ve gotten in trouble because of privacy issues. In fact, when your group reaches a certain number of members Facebook will give you an aggregated report which shows you your analytics in generalized terms
The best alternatives to Facebook Groups will provide you the information you need to make smart decisions about your business.
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 2021. You want to make sure that any alternative to Facebook Groups you choose is instantly available to you and your members on iOS, Android, and both 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, you should be able to host virtual events, sell online courses, create mastermind groups, and monetize your community.
3 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Facebook Groups Alternative #2: WhatsApp
The second most common alternative to a Facebook Group in 2021 is WhatsApp, a mobile app without a website, which is also owned by Facebook.
- No one will freak out if you say, “hey, let’s use WhatsApp for our group.”
- It’s strongest for international groups.
- 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.
Facebook Groups Alternative #3: Mighty Networks
The newest Facebook Groups alternative is a Mighty Network, an online community platform 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).
- 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.
- 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.
We think what we’ve built at Mighty Networks provides a much better experience than what you’ll get at Slack, WhatsApp, or on a Facebook Group.
We’re the best Facebook Group alternative because we give you greater control, customization, and growth potential. Here are just a few of the many options you have on a Mighty Network:
- Offer paid memberships, build online courses.
- Have your own branded mobile app that is accessible in the App Store and Google Play store.
- Discussion boards, polls, and Q&As.
- You can post recorded videos (Update: live video is now available!), images, and audio clips.
- You can have free small groups or charge for access.
Better of all, your Mighty Network is available across the web, iOS, and Android which gives your members flexibility and availability to how they interact with each other and your content.
Sounds pretty great, yeah? Check us out!