Are you looking to build an online community that thrives with engagement?
It’s easier said than done, but we’ve got you covered.
Creating a community is easy, but sustaining it tough.
You need to provide ongoing value to members, foster a sense of connectedness among the community members, and be that invisible string that holds the beads together.
This may not be possible unless you’re using a robust community platform that provides you the right tools to make it enjoyable.
That’s why we’ve comprehensively used, tested and reviewed top community platforms for you.
Let’s dive in.
|Circle.so – Editor’s best pick||Premium||$49/mo|
|Mighty Networks – Powerful online community + courses||Premium||$39/mo|
|Passion.io – Powerful community within the mobile app||Premium||$97/mo|
|Kajabi community – Best for Course Creators||Premium||$149/mo|
|Thinkific – Best for Creators and Educators||Freemium||$49/mo|
|BuddyBoss – Best for WordPress||Premium||$228/year for 1 site|
|Hivebrite – Best for Enterprise Companies||Premium||$500/mo|
|Bettermode – Best for SaaS Startups||Premium||$599/mo|
|Discourse – Best for self-hosting||Premium||$50/mo|
|Slack – Best for Professionals||Freemium||$8.75 per user/month|
|Discord – Best for Techies and Indvidiuals||Freemium||$9.99/mo|
|Telegram – Best for casual chit-chat||Free||NA|
|Facebook Groups – Free and powerful community platform||Free||NA|
Circle.so – Top community platform
Circle is an all-in-one community platform for course creators, content creators, founders, and solopreneurs.
Its co-founder & CEO, Sid Yadav, has previously worked for Teachable (a leading course platform), which enabled him to fast-track Circle’s growth with his experience.
The best thing about Circle is that it constantly introduces the most important features to start, grow, and engage a community, bringing like-minded people together.
With their recent introduction of Courses and Community AI feature, it’s making it easy for its users to avoid juggling between multiple platforms to learn and engage.
- Chat Space, DMs, Group Chat – You can create a public Chat Space for discussing different topics. Additionally, you can have private conversations by DM-ing members or starting group chats with selected individuals.
- Courses – Circle recently introduced the course feature, allowing you to create immersive and personalized courses within your community. This eliminates the need for a separate subscription to another LMS platform and simplifies managing multiple platforms for your course and community.
- Events and Live Streaming – Circle provides its own live streaming service for hosting meetings, events, and webinars. This eliminates the need for integrations like Zoom or other expensive webinar software. You can encourage member engagement during live streams through direct messages and group chats.
- Community AI – Circle now offers Community AI for their Business Plan customers. This feature enhances content creation for community managers, facilitates better connections among community members with activity scores, offers automated transcriptions for all videos, and includes a Circle Bot 🤖 to help you find the right resources for your community quickly.
- Workflows – Circle’s workflows automate repetitive tasks for community managers. It functions similarly to Zapier for community engagement. Whether it’s welcoming new members or sending bulk messages privately, you can accomplish these tasks using the Workflows feature.
- Detailed analytics – Analyze your community’s performance, including average daily active members, monthly active members, top members, active topics, active spaces, and popular days/times.
Circle.so (review) premium pricing starts at $49/mo. It provides all the basic features you need to manage a small community. If you need features like white-labeling, CSS customization, and live streaming features, go with the professional plan at $99/mo.
- Circle also enables you to create courses right inside your community. They also launched a drip feature for structured and scheduled courses. Each lesson in your course also comes with a ‘comment’ section so members can directly post questions and reply to others under the lessons.
- Circle’s custom single sign-on capability allows users to log in to your community from the platform they are in. For example, students using Teachable can access your Circle’s community using Teachable credentials itself.
- Circle has iOS and Android apps for its users, although the Android app might not have everything as it’s still in development. For more feature comparisons and the latest updates on mobile features, check out this post.
- Completely white-labeled platform enabling you to take brand consistency to the next level.
- Weekly Email Digest – A weekly email digest keeps members informed of community activities (rather than spamming their inboxes).
- It lacks gamification features like badges, rankings, achievements, points/scores, etc. If you want to reward people for their engagement, then you are out of luck. Nevertheless, there are various workarounds. Here is an example of gamified onboarding for new members made by the Never Board Learning Community.
Bottomline: Circle.so is the top platform you can consider to create a valuable community for your business. You can host your memberships and courses on platforms like Teachable or Podia, and use Circle solely for building communities for your business. Its live streaming, white labeling, automated moderations, and single sign-on features make its community more powerful.
Mighty Networks – Powerful online community + courses
Mighty Networks is an affordable online course creation & community platform. It has a native course builder to create and sell your courses, so you don’t need to spend money on external platforms like Teachable.
Mighty Networks (review) has a special feature called a built-in ambassador program where you can incentivize your members to invite new users, thus growing your community.
You can ask your members to bring new members, and as a reward, you can:
- Offer a discount to purchase products in your store.
- Give them branded badges/feature them (like an ambassador of the week)
- Give them free access to your next event.
- And much more.
Refer to this guide for more on ambassador levels and how you can custom reward them.
- Community features – It offers features such as member profiles, private direct messaging, group chats, member categories, and more. Its matchmaking feature connects members based on their interests or location, facilitating networking.
- For example – Bloggers in your community can network with other bloggers, build relationships, and exchange ideas, increasing user engagement and encouraging participation.
- Courses – Create and sell cohort-based courses or single courses with a feed or chat (or both!). Utilize the built-in course creation feature to monetize your knowledge.
- Mobile apps – Mighty Networks provides white-labeled iOS and Android apps. Customize the apps to match your branding and send branded in-app notifications to keep students informed about course/community activities, events, offers, etc.
- Live streaming – It has native live streaming, similar to Circle. It also integrates with Zoom for hosting live meetings/events to connect with members in real-time. Unlike Circle, Mighty Networks supports unlimited hosts, moderators, and members, regardless of your chosen plan.
- Custom domains – Purchase domains directly from Mighty Networks, thanks to its integration with Google domains.
- Integrations & Analytics – It offers native integrations with Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Pixel for tracking traffic and user behavior analytics. Additionally, Mighty Networks has its own Analytics tool called Mighty Insights, which provides insights into community and Spaces activities.
- With Mighty Pro, you can create custom-branded apps. Enjoy full control over app customization, app store listings, and more.
Mighty Networks pricing starts at $39/mo, and it charges 3% transaction fees. This plan lacks Zapier APIs & workflows, analytics & member data, and online course features. To avail of these features, go with their business plan at $119/mo (this plan charges a 2% transaction fee).
If you need your own app with listings in Apple & Google Play stores and branded app notifications, you need to purchase Mighty Pro (Contact the support for the pricing details).
- It has a native course builder, so you don’t have to purchase external courses/membership platforms.
- To enhance a student’s learning, you can create dedicated communities for each course.
- It is possible to create your own custom-branded mobile apps.
- It has a member matchmaking feature for networking.
- On its lowest plan, it lacks many important features like Online courses, Analytics, and integrations with Zapier and other apps. But, if you’re only looking to engage your community members, Mighty Networks does the job for you even on their lowest plan.
- Charges transaction fees on its plans (3% on the lowest plan and 2% on the higher plan).
- It lacks gamification features like points/badges/rankings for community engagement.
Bottomline: If you are mainly into courses and need dedicated communities to take your student’s engagement to the next level, Mighty Networks would be the best choice. With Mighty Pro, you can create your own custom-branded apps and have full control over their design and customization. It is best for course creators, teachers, and coaches.
Passion.io — Powerful community within the mobile app
Passion.io is a new LMS app creation platform that has a community feature built in. You can sell the courses for a one-time fee or charge a subscription fee.
You can offer any of the lessons for a free preview. This would be really helpful for lead generation (offering free content in exchange for their email addresses).
You can create a dedicated community for the products you make. For the community to be available for users, first, you need to enable it while setting up the product.
Passion.io’s (review) community features are quite different.
Their features include:
👉 Unlike other tools in this blog post, Passion.io lacks a few important community features like channels, spaces, direct messaging, or private group features. But, hey, you get a rock-solid mobile app platform
- Engagement features – It has features like push notifications, exercises, sequences (series of exercises), etc. You can assign group-based challenges for the members to take their engagement to the next level. Such challenges motivate and inspire other community members to do more.
- Sequences or Lessons – With its sequence feature, which is similar to lessons, you can assign multiple exercises to users. This would be very helpful for niches such as health, fitness, spirituality, art, etc., in which you would assign a series of exercises to work on daily to stay consistent with learning.
- Goal-Tracking –Passion.io has a unique goal-tracking feature that allows users to track their performance. This helps users identify their weak points/struggles and improve them.
- Has built-in live streaming, eliminating the need for external services.
- Supports an unlimited number of courses or coaching. You can sell as much as you wish.
- It has custom branded & completely white-labeled iOS and Android apps.
- Apps work well with Android, iOS, laptops, televisions, desktops, and many more.
- It seamlessly integrates with 3,000+ services like Stripe, Typeform, Calendly, Zapier, and more. Keep an eye on their roadmap to view all its features.
Watch the demo video here:
Passion.io (full review) lowest pricing starts at $97/mo, and it is limited to 100 subscribers, 100 videos, and 1000 push notifications/mo. It charges a 3.9% fee with PassionPayments. Its ultimate plan costs $297/mo, and it provides the best value.
- Creating apps is fun. It is very easy to get started.
- Provides pre-made templates for app creation. The templates include an audio app, fitness app, etc. Or you can build an app from scratch.
- You can design the welcome screens and sales pages using its builder.
- Excellent device compatibility. The apps are compatible and accessible on iOS, Android, laptop, TV, desktop, etc.
- There are no channels, spaces, direct messaging, or private group features on Passion.io.
- You can create only one app even in its higher plan at $297/mo.
- They charge a 3.9% fee with PassionPayments.
- It lacks gamification features like badges, scores, and achievements.
Bottomline: Passion.io is the best LMS app creator for course creators and teachers. You can use its communities alongside courses for student engagement. Its exercises & sequences, goal tracking, push notifications, etc., make learning fun.
Kajabi community — Best for Course Creators
Kajabi is one of the leading and most expensive brands in the eLearning industry. With Kajabi you can sell courses, memberships, and communities as well.
Kajabi recently acquired Vibely to enhance its community functionality.
Now they have reworked their community module to add various gamification features such as challenges, badges, and leaderboards.
Additionally, you now have the ability to create community meetups using Kajabi events and much more.
All these features make Kajabi stack up against specialist community tools very effectively.
- Gamification and accountability features – Kajabi has updated its community features, adding accountability mechanisms like challenges, accomplishments, meetups, points, badges, and more. You can schedule community meetups using Kajabi’s Events feature. These features work with the automation engine to assign points to community members based on their behaviors.
- Community email templates – Kajabi provides templates that you can customize to send email notifications when:
- Admin creates a new post,
- Members leave comments, and
- For community connect requests.
- Mobile apps –Kajabi has a mobile app (both iOS and Android) where students can access their courses, memberships, and communities on the go. You can remove Kajabi branding, but you can’t completely white-label the apps. With the mobile app, you can send:
- Community Mention Push Notifications
- Mention Specifically Push Notifications
- Announcement By The Creator Of The Product
- Analytics – When it comes to analytics, the community dashboard displays the number of new posts and new members over a chosen time duration. You can integrate Kajabi with tools like Google Analytics to get detailed reports.
Kajabi’s (read full review) lowest pricing starts at $149/mo, and it restricts you to create up to 3 products and 3 funnels. That’s it. Even its highest plan at $399/mo allows you to create only 100 products and 100 funnels.
🚧 If you solely need a community platform, it won’t be worth the money.
- It has courses, coachings, Events, email marketing features along with a community. For example: You can sell community as an upsell for courses or memberships.
- Their communities feature integrates really well with their automation engine, allowing you to set various automation rules (triggers and actions), to automate courses, digital products, Kajabi events, and community features. All their features integrate nicely with each other, giving rise to new use cases.
- It has a mobile app, and you can send push notifications for engagement.
- The pricing is very costly and not affordable.
- The lowest plan lacks advanced automations, access to a code editor, and the ability to remove Kajabi branding. To get these features, you need to spend $399/mo.
Bottomline: Kajabi is an all-in-one digital selling platform that also comes with a really feature-rich community feature that integrates well with their course creation, coachings, email marketing, and webinars functionality. With the recent updates, it’s comparable even to specialist community tools.
Thinkific – Best for Creators and Educators
Thinkific (review) is an LMS platform to create and sell courses, build and host communities, and monetize through memberships. It’s similar to Kajabi but super affordable and has a free plan! This is best suited for up-and-coming creators and educators who are just starting to monetize their audience.
- Branded communities – Create communities and customize them completely with your name or brand. You can sell these communities as part of your subscriptions or as an independent product. You also get to create separate landing pages to convert your visitors into community members.
- Community features – Create spaces for live events, tag members, and send notifications so your members don’t miss out on anything.
- Integrations – They have a wide range of product integrations with apps like Zapier, Google Analytics, Zoom, MailChimp, and more. You can check all the integrations here.
- White-label customization – You can completely white-label your courses and communities on Thinkific.
Thinkific has a free plan if you’re just getting started. You can create 1 course and 1 community with 2 spaces. Also, you can invite unlimited students even on their free plan.
If you want to host unlimited courses and have more than 2 spaces for your community, go with their Basic plan that starts at $49/mo.
- You can sell your community as an independent product or as part of your courses on Thinkific.
- With over 1000+ apps to integrate on Thinkific, the lack of a few features, like conducting live events, can be overcome easily.
- It has a free plan to build 1 course and 1 community. If you’re a beginner, going with Thinkific makes a lot of sense.
- If you’re looking to host only a community, this might not be the one for you.
- Even on their lowest premium plan, you can only create 5 spaces per community.
- Lacks gamification features and other engagement tools.
Bottomline: Go with Thinkific if you want to sell courses and have a community as an add-on. The best thing about Thinkific is that it comes with a free plan, so you can experiment more before you invest anything into your community.
BuddyBoss – Best for WordPress
BuddyBoss is a premium WordPress plugin that helps you build highly engaging online communities and sell your courses, memberships, digital downloads, etc., all from a single platform.
With BuddyBoss you can create your own social networking communities, like that of Facebook, and integrate it with GamiPress to gamify the community activities with badges, assigning points, adding a ranking system, and much more.
It integrates well with WooCommerce, LMS platforms like LearnDash, Memberpress plugins, and also with other WordPress plugins. Also, it integrates with Zoom for live streaming.
- Custom Member Dashboard – One of the best features of Buddyboss is that you can create a fancy custom member dashboard or learner dashboard using Elementor (review) to boost user engagement.
- Profiles, Friends, and Followers – Your members can create profiles, view other members, follow, and friend each other. This helps with increasing engagement within your community.
- Native iOS and Android Apps – BuddyBoss offers native iOS and Android apps (can be white-labeled). It also supports:
- Push notifications – For boosting engagement on demand.
- In-app purchases – To use their card stored with their app stores and reduce friction
- Community features – Supports forum discussions, social groups, private messaging, group messaging, activity feeds, live events, etc.
- Online Courses – You can sell single courses or course bundles by integrating with LearnDash or LifterLMS plugins.
- Social search – It has a search bar to help members find things quickly.
- Email Notifications – You can create custom notifications inside the platform using its customizable email API.
- Buddyboss also allows you to integrate with more than 1000+ apps and software for your unique needs.
BuddyBoss pricing starts at $228/year for 1 site. If you have an agency and want more site usage, go with its higher plans. The pricing is quite high, but it is worth the features offered. For courses and memberships, you must purchase additional plugins (like LearnDash or Wishlist Member), which adds up to the cost.
- As a WordPress plugin, you can extend its flexibility by integrating it with other plugins and extensions.
- Job Boards is a special feature on Buddyboss enabling your members to find jobs and apply for them.
- It is a completely white-labeled solution(best for agencies).
- Has custom-branded mobile apps to increase student engagement. It offers an add-on service for creating, customizing, and deploying your mobile app.
- No built-in support for courses & memberships. You need to integrate with LearnDash or LifterLMS to enable online courses and with other membership plugins for an additional fee, increasing the cost.
- It requires technical knowledge if you encounter any issues with other WordPress plugins.
- The performance of theBuddyBoss theme depends on your hosting provider’s RAM size too. As it’ll be a personalized community, there’ll be some pages that can’t be cached, which in turn causes load on the servers, causing poor user experience. RAM of more than 1GB is good to go with.
Bottomline: If you are using WordPress, BuddyBoss is the best plugin you can use for communities and selling products as well. The best part of BuddyBoss is its flexibility. You can integrate it with any WordPress plugin and extend its functionalities. But it’s not affordable.
Hivebrite – Best for Enterprise Companies
Hivebrite is best known for creating communities for Small and Large Enterprise companies, Non-Profit organizations, and Education businesses.
- Customization – If branding is important to you or your company, Hivebrite has amazing features to customize, starting from colors and fonts to creating landing pages. You can also extend your visibility with their SEO feature and public pages.
- CRM integration – Keep your member data always up-to-date with a number of different CRMs, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Blackbaud CRM, and Raiser’s Edge NXT.
- Monetization – Along with selling memberships, you can also monetize your community through ticketed events, merchandise sales, donations, and more.
- Mobile apps – Create your very own branded mobile and host it on the App Store and Google Play with your name, your logo, your colors, and your brand.
Hivebrite recommends you book a demo to get a quote. They clearly want to target only companies. Although pricing is not everything, this makes it a difficult choice for others to consider Hivebrite seriously. However, we did some research and found that the pricing starts at $500/mo. That’s a lot!
- They have all the required community features if you want superior customization.
- Great monetization features like the ability to receive donations.
- Integrates with social media like Twitter and Facebook so your members don’t have to create a separate profile.
- They also have mobile push notifications to keep your members up-to-date on what’s happening in your community.
- Hivebrite is mostly meant for large-scale companies.
- Unclear about pricing details. One needs to go through their demo call to get a final quote.
Bottomline: Go with Hivebrite if you’re a large company that needs a lot of customization and hands-on service. It’s a bit strange that they had to hide their dashboard behind a Demo call and were uninformative about their pricing structure.
Bettermode (previously Tribe.so) — Best for SaaS Companies
Bettermode, which was previously known as Tribe.so, is one of the best block-based community-building platforms that comes with spaces, tags, a rich composer, a moderation panel, an activity feed, notifications, member access, and much more.
One of my favorite features of Bettermode is that they provide 10+ pre-made templates for creating spaces, similar to channels based on your unique needs, or you can customize it on your own. With these templates, you can create discussion spaces, event spaces, FAQs, Ideation spaces, and more.
- Community features – For communities, it has features like spaces, discussion boards, activity feeds, member profiles, community search, etc.
- Gamification – Unlike tools like Circle.so or Mighty Networks, Bettermode has good community gamification features like points, badges, scores, and leaderboards. These features motivate members to participate in the activities and stay on top actively. You also have the flexibility to create your own custom badges. Some of the examples include – VIP members, members of the week, top performers, etc.
- Courses & Memberships – If you want to offer memberships and courses to your members, Bettermode has native integrations with Outseta and Memberful. These integrations help you to sell your content and monetize your community.
- Customization – Bettermode has superior customization features to design spaces, landing pages, member profiles, and more. You can completely white-label your community and move it to your custom domain or sub-domain.
- Design – It excels over other community platforms with its community blocks. You can use these blocks (like CTAs, filter tags, accordion, iFrame, leaderboard, etc.) and create customized community space. This gives you more control over designing the communities as you visualize them.
- Security & Spam filters – They also provide good security features. To avoid spam, it has a keyword blacklist, post-hiding capabilities, and profanity blocking. This will prevent spammers from joining your community, giving you peace of mind.
- Engagement tools – Recognize and reward your community members with badges and automatic leaderboards. You can also privately message (or automate it with Zapier) your members to appreciate them for their active participation.
- Integrations – Bettermode has a good number of native integrations. It integrates with Google Tag Manager, HotJar, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Discord, MailChimp, Intercom, Mixpanel, HubSpot, etc. There are also API, Zapier, and Webhooks available to connect with the tools you need.
The premium pricing starts at $599/mo. Compared to other tools on this list, the pricing is quite expensive.
- It has an intuitive interface, and you can create a flexible top bar for easy navigation.
- Its community block builder helps you to create unique and customized communities as you wish.
- For spam protection, it has a keyword blacklist and profanity blocker. You can provide the keywords based on your niche to automatically flag posts.
- It has native integration with Google Analytics and gives rich analytics to analyze how your community is growing.
- Lacks iOS and Android apps.
- They lack a live streaming feature, which might be important for community managers.
- The pricing is expensive and not affordable for all.
Bottomline: If you just need a decent community platform for your business you can go with Bettermode. Its block-based community builder, embed tools, spam prevention, and gamification features are worth your investment. They are working on releasing features like – mobile apps, events, and live streaming.
Discourse — Best for self-hosting
Discourse is an open-source platform that helps people to manage their communications. It can be used as a mailing list, discussion forum, chat room, and more.
You might notice that in Discourse, the conversations cannot be organized as posts. So, you will have all the conversations in the same space.
- Community features – It has dynamic notifications, single sign-on, community moderation, one-click upgrades, etc.
- Engagement –For engaging community members, it has badges, emojis, social logins, topic summarization (similar to a weekly digest in Circle.so), etc.
- Security & Spam filters – You can enable two-factor authentication for your members and spam blocking (has Akismet spam protection).
- Mobile apps – Discourse has iOS and Android apps to manage the discussions on the go.
- Integrations – You can integrate Discourse with chat platforms like Slack, Telegram, and Rocket.chat to send notifications on the community activities to keep informed on what’s happening in the community.
- Monetization – You can further monetize your community by advertising. You can integrate with ad platforms like Google Adsense, Amazon Affiliates, Google Ad Manager and earn a recurring side income.
Discourse has three premium plans, with the lowest costing $50/mo. It limits to
- 50k monthly page views
- 10GB storage
- 50k monthly email
If you go with Discourse premium (pricing starts at $50/mo.), you will get many integrations like chat integration, Github, subscriptions, canned replies, etc. You also get a mobile app with all premium plans.
Bottomline: If you need an online community with professional community features, Discourse would be the best solution to go with. It has spam protection, community moderation, gamification, and single sign-on features. Its interface is outdated, lacks channels/spaces (demotivating the users to engage), and has very few community engagement features.
Slack – Best for Professionals
Slack is best known as an online work chat app and employee engagement tool, but you can also start and build a community for free.
On their free plan, you can invite unlimited members to your community and organize any topic as a separate channel. However, you can only view the last 10,000 messages in the community on their free tier. You can upgrade to their premium plan, which comes with other features like more storage, app integrations, and group calls.
They also recently introduced a feature called “Huddle” that allows you to do video and audio calls with the community members. This is available only on their Pro plan.
One of my favorite features on Slack is that you can integrate with apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Notion, etc., to organize documents and your work which makes it easier to collaborate with other members.
Slack has a free plan for you to get started. But, you need to upgrade to their Pro Plan, which starts at $8.75 per user per month, if you need features like:
- Unlimited message history
- Unlimited apps and workflows
- Unlimited lightweight, voice-first huddles
- Secure work with other companies using Slack Connect channels
- Unlimited canvases with 30 days of version history
- Organize topics by creating unlimited channels.
- Unlimited members even on their free plan.
- Easy-to-use interface.
- Video and Audio calls to quickly brainstorm with community members.
- Directly record video from the platform instead of uploading it.
- Less customization for your brand
- Doesn’t come with a few important community features like live events, gamification features, and engagement tools.
- Their pricing might be simple but the cost grows exponentially as your community grows.
Bottomline: If you are looking to host a community for professionals who already use Slack and are familiar with it, consider going for this. However, if you’re someone looking to “grow” their community, this might not be for you as their pricing structure is not really supportive of it.
Discord — Best for Techies and Individuals
Discord is an online chat platform for gamers, techies, individuals, and teams to connect with their fellow members. Previously, it was a gaming platform. Later, it extended towards tech niches like Bitcoin, education, businesses, etc. Whatever your niche is, you can get started with Discord for building communities free of cost.
It has servers (similar to spaces) with channels to collaborate with other members. Using its voice, video, and text channels, you can connect and talk with other members sharing similar interests.
It also comes with direct message and group message features. Discord has its premium subscription server called Nitro. With this, you can customize your Discord tag, use custom emotes, upload large files, and get discounted Server Boosts.
The Discord Nitro Basic costs $2.99/mo, and it comes with features like profile badges, custom emojis, bigger uploads, and much more.
Bottomline: If you want video and voice channels with community moderation features Discord is the best platform to get started for free. If you are in a gaming or tech niche, it suits you best. Nowadays, people prefer Discord communities to Facebook groups as it is distraction-free, and you can organize all the conversations on servers as separate channels.
Telegram is one of the highly secured messaging apps that is making users switch to it from other messaging platforms like WhatsApp.
For communities, it has groups, channels, screen sharing, audio & video chats, group calling, secret chats, direct messaging, etc. The best part is you can add up to 200,000 members to its channels. You can make the groups/channels private/public. For community moderation, you can add multiple admins and restrict what access they have.
There are no spam filters in Telegram. Some keywords and external links can be blocked to prevent spam, but little can be done. So you need to put in more effort to monitor the community to avoid the spam content.
Bottomline: Telegram is the ideal solution to manage your communities on the go. It has enough features to moderate your community. But it lacks spam filters like that of tools like Bettermode. But it gets the job done. For engagement, it has a good number of features. Also, you can use Telegram Bots to automate tasks (like you can use Bots to export the data in Telegram to Google Sheets for easier analysis).
Facebook Groups are one of the most widely used and easy-to-use community platforms. Nowadays, everyone has a Facebook account, so it is easier for people to find and join groups on Facebook.
Top brands like Kajabi and Thinkific have hosted their private communities on Facebook itself. The customers of these platforms will likely be interested in joining these communities, and they can ask their queries/problems and get solutions from company owners or other customers.
To manage the group, you can add moderators and welcome messages when new members join. You can take a look at the group’s insights to see how the members are engaging. You can use Facebook Live to connect with members in real time and have live QA sessions to provide more value for customers.
There are several disadvantages to using Facebook groups for building communities:
- You have no control over the organization of posts and how your groups should appear.
- Facebook wants its users to stay on its platform. Due to their algorithm, there will be more distractions with their ads, newsfeeds, and posts. As a result, users will lose focus, affecting community performance.
- Suppose you’re using Kajabi to host your courses and memberships and Facebook groups for your community; users may find it hard to switch between platforms, adding friction.
Bottomline: As Facebook has more distractions and very few community features, you can consider hosting your communities on other platforms. If you want a free solution, you can consider Discord or Telegram, as there will be fewer distractions. Use Facebook groups as a part of lead generation and later invite your users to your communities hosted on other platforms.
Conclusion: Which to choose? 🏆
If you want to create highly engaging communities to provide value for your members, here are my go-to platforms.
- Circle.so: Choose Circle.so if you want to build an engaging community. It provides a seamless experience for members. Its weekly digests, custom branded apps, live streaming, and single sign-on features make it worth buying. Smart Passive Income and Teachable are among the top brands using Circle to build their communities, proving its value.
- Kajabi: It is an all-in-one selling platform that has recently revamped its community functionality to include gamification features, accountability features, and also community meetups, making it the most comprehensive community platform. It stacks up well against even the most specialized community platforms. However, if you already have a funnel set up on other platforms, such as WordPress or ClickFunnels, it may be overkill for the price.
- BuddyBoss: It is an excellent plugin for building communities if you’re a WordPress user. Integrating it with other WordPress tools/plugins increases flexibility. For gamification, it integrates with GamiPress to enhance user engagement. You can sell all your products from a single platform.
- Mighty Networks: It is best for coaches and course creators who want to create dedicated course communities. It has its own course builder, so you don’t need to spend additional fees on integrating with LMS platforms. It has native live streaming, mobile apps, custom domains, and ambassador programs worth the purchase.
If you are beginning and the premium platforms are not affordable for you, you can go with platforms like Telegram, Facebook groups, or Discord. They are very user-friendly and easy to get started. After your community grows, you can migrate to premium platforms.
I hope you found this post on online community platforms helpful.