While online communities aren’t new, they’re becoming more and more common. From the pandemic and the isolation it brought to new technologies like augmented and virtual reality that promise new ways to connect, we’re seeing new value in online interactions like never before.
In particular, online communities have become a keystone for supporting creators in the ever-evolving creator economy.
Whether you’re a creator or an entrepreneur, it can be intimidating to choose the right social community software. You’ll want a platform that supports your creativity, grows with you, and enables your community to thrive. You don’t want the platform you choose to limit your community or your earning potential.
Ahead, we’ll break down what exactly is social community software, what to look for, and of course options to choose from.
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In this article...
What is social community software?
Social community software is a platform that lets you build an online community.
Sounds simple, right?
On the surface, yes, but remember what you are trying to do: create a space where you cultivate human connection and relationships. You need a platform as invested in that mission as you are. On top of that, as a creator, you can make money from your online community and build a flourishing business, so you want to choose software that makes that intuitive.
What to look for in social community software?
If you’re just starting out and planning your journey towards building an online community, choosing the right platform will make all the difference. The best social community software will easily give you the ability to build a community from the ground up and then scale it to thousands of members.
The right platform will allow you to spend time on what matters most — serving your community and engaging with your members, not wasting time on the backend or tech side of things.
Instead of relying on separate platforms to piece together your community, why not look for an all-in-one community platform that lets you get everything done, no coding required?
Here are some features you should keep in mind when choosing a social community software:
- Features that keep your members engaged like live streaming and content options (text, video, polls)
- A platform that can grow with you (think about what your community could be, rather than what it currently is)
- Accessibility (aka a community app) — you want your members to be able to access your community on any device, at any time, anywhere they are
- Monetizing — look for a platform that gives you options to monetize your community (e.g. memberships, subgroups, and courses)
- Community analytics — so you get to know your members and tweak your community to continue to grow it
5 Best social community software options
1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is an all-in-one community platform and online course builder that gives you the ability to build, monetize, and grow your community. Mighty Networks has a ton of features (more than any other community platform) to keep your community engaged (all under your brand):
- Discussion boards, polls, surveys, and Q&As
- Create blog post-style articles
- Post live and recorded videos
- Host virtual events and livestreams
- Create small groups and gated content
This social community software gives you options for monetizing your community like creating membership plans for your community, subgroups, and courses. You’re also not limited to charging solely in USD; you can choose your home currency if needed.
It’s also really easy for members to access your Mighty Network — whether it’s on a desktop/laptop computer or mobile device (you even have the option of getting your own branded native mobile app when you upgrade to Mighty Pro).
It’s the ultimate social community software for building and growing a thriving membership base.
- You can create a Mighty Network under your brand
- Lots of ways to keep your community engaged (e.g. polls, Q&A, group chats)
- Powerful, yet easy to use
- Apps for every device (iOS and Android)
- Unlimited members, hosts, and moderators
- Options for monetization (multiple currency choices)
- Online courses, mastermind groups, and more are available for your community.
- Designed for individuals who don’t know each other to meet and build relationships
Tribe is a white-label online social community software for larger companies who want to integrate a community into their existing website. This means that it’s not really designed for small creators in mind. Tribe essentially gives their users a space to ask questions, start discussions, and share content on the company’s site and their own native mobile apps (under their brand).
Unfortunately there aren't any options to monetize with Tribe (e.g. paid memberships, monthly subscriptions, gated content), and there isn’t an option to build courses — essentially Tribe is a good option for big businesses who want to offer a forum.
- Customizable app for enterprise
- White-label customer community (where members can ask questions, share content, participate in polls — on a company’s website and their native mobile app)
- You have the ability to customize, moderate, and view analytics of your community
- Not an all-in-one platform, so you can’t build courses
- The mobile app is only available with the more expensive enterprise plan
- Limited community features
- No ability to directly charge on Tribe for subscriptions or memberships (have to use a third-party app like Zapier)
3. Kajabi Community
Kajabi is an online course platform that has a complex set of marketing options for selling those courses like email campaigns and landing pages. This platform has a separate community option — Kajabi Community — which can be found within the Kajabi Dashboard. Kajabi Community gives you a basic forum function where you can organize conversations by dividing them into topics and lets you add a community to a course you’re creating.
- You can customize and brand your community
- Lets you create discussion posts and comments
- Can be linked to your Kajabi course
- The community has very limited functionality (e.g. can’t host a virtual event)
- Kajabi is more expensive than most of its competitors
- Steep learning curve for getting used to this social community software
Discord is a primarily text-based social community software for members to interact with one another. Since this platform was created for gamers to collaborate, it also has options for voice and video chatting. Discord is easy to use and accessible on mobile devices and web browsers. Creators can build communities that are separated into their own “channels” based on specific topics. You can essentially create a community “hangout” space for your members.
- Easy to create a Discord server
- Free to use
- Robust features for voice chatting and great text functionality
- As your community grows, it becomes more difficult to moderate
- Limited tools for growing a community (wouldn’t be a good option for growing a business)
- Limited functionality outside of chat options (e.g. no options to host virtual events or build online courses)
If you’ve done a deep dive on the internet, we mean one where you spent two hours of your life reading and seeing people’s cringy fashion blunders, chances are you’ve ended up on reddit. This social community software is essentially an online forum dedicated to discussions of all kinds and where millions of people go for funny GIFs, absurd conversations, and even political news. The “communities” (previously known as subreddits) that this platform allows you to create are free — where you can add posts, comment, and get notifications (in the discussion forum). Users can also upvote their favorite posts or comments (which will be seen at the top of the page).
Two of the biggest downsides to this platform are that you need to have been a user for a while to even get approved to build a community (even then you can’t just build whatever you want because reddit controls it) and you can’t monetize.
Like some of the other options on this list, reddit is accessible on every device.
- A lot of people are already using reddit and it’s free
- Decent forum function with upvoting and downvoting
- Available on desktop and mobile devices
- Very basic…not much more than a forum (no options to increase community engagement like livestreaming, courses, or videos)
- Not able to monetize
- reddit owns and controls everything (meaning no room for customization)
- When you have a big community, it gets harder to engage with members in a genuine way
- Takes time to even create a community on this platform (especially if you’re new)
If you’re looking to build an awesome community, there are some great online social community software options with comprehensive features, room to grow, ability to customize, and monetize to turn your community into a business.
The best way to build, grow, and monetize your online community is with Mighty Networks! There’s so much you can do to keep your community engaged from creating discussion boards, polls, and surveys to hosting virtual events and livestreams. Not only that, but with a Mighty Network you have options to monetize your community from membership plans to subgroups and courses.
Ready to start building your community?