If you are trying to launch or grow an online community, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about Facebook Groups. Facebook seems easy and accessible. It’s tempting to think that it might be a good place to build your community.
But that’s not the case. Actually, Facebook has a lot of challenges from usability to data privacy issues that make it difficult to build a meaningful community there. Chances are you’ve joined Facebook groups in the past and literally never stepped foot in them again.
A good community platform should give you control and let you build a beautiful place your members will love (and won’t sell their data).
So whether you’re creating a community of baseball enthusiasts, a professional community of accountants, or a space to teach something you’re the master at, this post will give you 7 great alternatives to Facebook Groups to consider.
And if videos are more your speed, we have an awesome video comparison on this topic as well. Click the image below to tune in!
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In this article...
Why do you need alternatives to Facebook Groups?
Today, many creators and entrepreneurs 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.
Here are some great reasons to explore alternatives to Facebook Groups today:
You can’t reach your members
Let’s start here. For any post in a Facebook group, you only reach between 1%-5% of your members or followers. That should bug you as a creator. People join your group to get the benefit of it, and you can’t even reach them–even if you’re the admin.
Even when your members do see an update from your group, it’s competing with a sea of cat videos, political rants, and their grandma’s pictures of her birds. Oh, plus there’s the 15 other free Facebook groups your members probably joined that they never visit.
If you’ve got a program or membership that’s bringing people together to master something interesting or important, this isn’t going to happen.
The best Facebook Group alternatives let you engage and reach your members with your amazing content, and actually TELLS them once it’s up..
You can’t monetize
So you want to build a community. What if you want to earn some income for your time and effort? What if you want to teach a course to your members?
Unfortunately, Facebook Groups doesn’t have a lot of 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.
Facebook is great at asking you the creator to spend money on advertising, but when it comes to getting paid for your hard work, they don’t have much to offer..
And the good news? People are willing to pay for a space that helps them transform their lives or master something interesting. But Facebook doesn’t let you do this.
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.
You can't customize
Facebook groups are easy to set up. But at the end of the day, one of the reasons they’re so easy is that your group will ALWAYS look like Facebook’s brand.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a company, a creator, or just a passionate Host who wants to bring people together, you won’t be building your own brand on Facebook. You’ll be building theirs.
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.
You can't add courses
Online courses are a fantastic way to help grow your audience and your brand. You can use them to scale your impact and even earn money!
Facebook Groups has no options for creating and hosting online courses. But some of the alternatives to Facebook Groups do! That makes it a HUGE plus for you as a host, because whether you’re thinking about it now or you’d like to have the option in the future, it’s great to have a platform that lets you sell courses too!
You can't add subgroups
A big group is powerful, but let’s be honest. Sometimes the real magic happens in the smaller conversations. That’s often where deep connections are formed.
Facebook Groups doesn’t let you do this either. But some of the alternatives do! For example, if you wanted to host a paid “mastermind” group for different members of your existing group, Facebook wouldn’t work. But some of these would!
You have no control
Australia-based Thea-Mai Baumann was surprised when her Instagram account was recently deactivated, potentially costing her thousands of followers. It was disabled 5 days after Facebook announced its name change, and only reinstated once the media reached out to Meta (AKA Facebook) for comment.
When you build on a platform you don’t control, you’re always at the mercy of others. Some digital marketers call this “digital sharecropping.”
If 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, and they can shut you down any time they want
People are avoiding Facebook
With the recent scandals of Facebook data being used in political disinformation campaigns in both the U.S. and the U.K., there’s a lot of suspicion directed at the platform. More and more people are boycotting it outright. And, it goes without saying, you don’t want to build a community on a platform some members will refuse to join
You're competing for attention
Like we said above, the traffic on your Facebook page is an avalanche of things competing for your attention, mixed in with the maximum amount of ads they can possibly show you before you get fed up and go somewhere else (seriously). It’s not a place you’ll be able to effectively win the attention and engagement of your members.
No matter how good your content is, there’s just too much noise.
6 Questions to Evaluate Alternatives to Facebook Groups
So, we’ve talked about the reasons to be looking for an alternative to Facebook. How do you figure out what the best alternative is?
Well, for a start, the best alternative to Facebook Groups should do the things Facebook does well, but also improve on the stuff it doesn’t.
Based on the points above, here are some of the things we’re watching for:
Can I customize it?
Like we said above, Facebook doesn’t really let you customize your brand, unless you count adding a custom header image. Wouldn’t it be great if a community platform actually let you build your own brand instead of someone else's? What if you could get the look and feel you want?
That’s what we’re looking for in Facebook alternatives.
Does it have apps?
Let’s be honest. We shouldn’t even be considering a community platform that isn’t available on any device your members have. American adults spend 4 hours a day on their cell phone and mobile use has grown 460% from 2011-2021.
Your members need mobile access. End of discussion.
Can I use it to monetize?
We touched on this above, but it’s really not fair that big social media platforms gladly accept all your hard work creating content and give you nothing in return. One of the key components of an alternative to Facebook Groups is that you should be able to monetize it if you want.
Can it grow with my community?
When you have 10 members in your Facebook community, you get access to a set of features. If you have 10,000 members? Same features.
Scalability and adapting for growth isn’t really a thing with Facebook Groups. Your options for organization to keep everything and everyone straight are few.
Will my members love it?
Will my members love it? You want to ensure that your Facebook Groups alternative is well-regarded and well-reviewed. 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.
Does it replace ALL the Facebook features?
Finally, your alternative to Facebook should be able to replicate the things that Facebook does well. For example, having the ability to live stream if you want to or to schedule posts should be built in. There’s no point in switching to an alternative that has half the functionality.
7 Alternatives to Facebook Groups
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 often 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 are 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.
The second most common alternative to a Facebook Group in 2022 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 less-common in North America, but really popular around the world
- It gives you some of the same reaction features that Facebook does.
- You can’t brand WhatsApp as your own.
- You have to set up your own separate community website.
- There are 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.
Another Facebook Groups alternative is Mighty Networks, 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).
Mighty Networks 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 on 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.
- Livestreaming, native video upload, video storage, and both direct & group messaging
Mighty Network Cons:
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If you spend any time on the internet, then you’ve probably heard of reddit. If you’re looking for an alternative to Facebook Groups to house your online community, reddit does offer some of the features of Facebook for free on the form of groups (AKA subreddits)
- Easy to set up your online community subreddit.
- The forum function works well, with upvoting and downvoting and good organization for conversations
- If users want an ad-free experience they can pay a small fee.
- It’s open-source, so it’s a very flexible community space.
- When you have a big community, it becomes much harder to engage with your members in meaningful ways.
- Due to the nature of the platform, your subreddit will have to grapple with spam often.
- Reddit is mainly a text-based forum, with no options for video, live streaming, courses, or anything else you’d want for a great community.
Kajabi has become a household name for creators and entrepreneurs interested in starting digital businesses. The Kajabi platform allows you to deliver great online courses and comes equipped with a robust assortment of tools and features to monetize and market your content.
Kajabi has a community feature that lets you add a discussion forum to your courses. A Kajabi Community could be a good alternative to a Facebook Group.
Kajabi Community Pros:
- Highly customizable to fit your own personal branding.
- You can create discussion posts with their own comment feeds.
- You have the “Member view” ability, so you can see what your community looks like from the eyes of your members.
Kajabi Community Cons:
- While Kajabi is considered one of the best course platforms on the market, its community functionality is very basic
- Kajabi is one of the most expensive alternatives to Facebook Groups, so it’s not the right choice for all businesses.
- There is a steep learning curve for getting comfortable with the platform software.
LinkedIn has about 740 million users, and is considered the top social network for professional activities like building your personal network and finding a job. It also has something called “LinkedIn Groups” which are similar to Facebook groups. Users can join the groups, take part in conversations by posting text or video posts, and engage with each other.
LinkedIn Groups Pros:
- Like Facebook, Linked in is a major social media network and a lot of your members may be there.
- The group is easy to create and the sharing functions are good (you can add photos, videos, and polls.
- People are used to LinkedIn being a professional platform and discussions can be more respectful than on other platforms (obviously there are no guarantees).
LinkedIn Groups Cons
- The algorithm is really bad for group material, and it almost never shows your members group activity on their timeline.
- There’s no way to monetize your group.
- Live streaming on LinkedIn is extremely complicated, requiring an approval and third-party software.
- LinkedIn has a course platform, but you have to apply to teach one very few are approved. Even if approved, your course wouldn't be connected to your group.
Discord has become another popular alternative to Facebook Groups because of its ease of use and availability across mobile devices and web. On Discord, similar to Slack, your community will primarily communicate through text and voice chats that are separated into their own channels.
- Easy to create your own Discord server and incredibly user-friendly interface.
- Robust tools for text and voice chat.
- Free to use while also offering affordable upgraded plans for more features (although none of them are essential).
- While it’s easy to use and offers voice and text chats, it’s not the best at creating a community space that grows with your business.
- Can’t offer many experiences. If you’re interested in online courses or virtual events, you’ll need to utilize another platform.
- Hard to manage your community as it grows bigger.
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.
Here are just a few of the many options you have on a Mighty Network:
- Offer paid memberships.
- Have your own branded app that is accessible in the App Store and Google Play store.
- Utilize an “activity feed” feature to make it easy for members to keep track of all the awesome content you’re providing.
- Anyone in the community can create posts on discussion boards.
- You can live stream within your community, upload videos, images, and audio clips.
- You can have free small groups or charge for access.
- Create polls, quizzes, direct & group messaging, and surveys.
- Build online courses.
Plus, your Mighty Network is available across the web, iOS, and Android which gives your members flexibility and accessibility to how they interact with each other and your content.
Sounds pretty great, yeah? Check us out!
Ready to start building your community?