Why build communities?
Rounding up your ideal audience is the ideal way to monetize your offering. Imagine, if you have to go out and find new customers every day.
But what if, we create a group of people who are your ideal customers, or are your current customers.
It will be easier to sell to this group right?
Because they are facing the problem you’re adept at solving.
It’s a win-win situation.
You get ready to monetize the audience and they get solutions to their problems.
Here we are specifically talking about online communities.
So, what are the different options to build online communities?
This is the best and free way to start your group.
There is almost no learning curve and both you and your audience are already on the platform or they are at least comfortable with using the platform.
Facebook groups should be your go-to option when you’re just starting out.
Importantly, the lack of a learning curve for both parties is a blessing.
Since you are already on Facebook, you can easily create and manage the group.
Even if you’re stuck there is ample help and information available to resolve the issue.
The biggest issue with online communities is engagement and compelling members to use the community.
As many of your members will be using Facebook often every day, you don’t have to take special efforts to bring them to your community.
Plus whenever you post something or go live, your members will get notifications.
The benefits of Facebook many times outweigh the tools that are specifically built for creating online communities.
Mighty Networks is the go-to option for many high ticket coaches and people who already have experience in building an online community.
Mighty Networks will cost you $33 per month on its basic plan and it increases to $99 on the next plan.
I have personally used Mighty Networks when it was available at just $12 per month. I tried building my community on it as I already had close to 2000 students in my course.
However, my students preferred using Facebook.
When I asked why the resounding answer was they are so used to WordPress that they didn’t like the idea of learning something new.
However, what I saw of Mighty Network was very impressive.
The overall look and feel of Mighty Networks is modern. You will feel you’re using something very premium.
Features of the basic version of Mighty Networks are as follows
- Community Website
- Native Livestreaming & Video
- Chat & Messaging
- Events & Zoom Integration
- Paid Memberships
With a $99 per month plan, you get the following additional features
- Online Courses
- Live Cohort Course Creation
- Analytics & Member Data
- Zapier APIs & Workflows
Circle is another paid tool to build your online community.
The features of Circle are somewhat similar to Mighty Networks. However, the pricing is a little on the higher side.
The base plan of Circle starts at $39 per month and increases to $79 and $399 on higher plans.
The core features of Circle include
- Engaging discussions
- Rich member profiles
- Unlimited events
- Group chats & private messaging
- Private messaging
- iOS app
- Accept payments with Paywalls
- Custom domain
- Access to Circle’s own private customer community, workshops and trainings
Discord is a group chatting application that has evolved into something bigger and has become a go-to application for creating communities.
Many online entrepreneurs are using Discord to create support communities, many share traders are using it to share different tips and much more.
However, with Discord, it may seem like it’s meant only for a certain audience, mainly a younger audience.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the look of the discord room is fairly modern, and many people will feel overwhelmed.
But if you get the hang of using Discord, it can be a very powerful tool.
You can sign up on Discord for free and start creating your own community.
I’m part of multiple communities that are built on Discord and I found it very effective.
In the future, I’m contemplating switching to Discord from Facebook.
WhatsApp / Telegram / Signal
These mobile messaging tools are becoming thriving communities. Who would have thought WhatsApp groups and Telegram groups are going to rule the world of communities.
Be it shopping or help, WhatsApp groups are a real force to reckon with.
However, with a WhatsApp group, you cannot go beyond 256 people in a single group, whereas with Telegram the limit is 200000.
One issue, particularly with WhatsApp groups, is there is no way to hide your or other members’ phone numbers.
Due to this, it can become both a privacy and security issue within no time.
You need to have strict rules wherein if you should have control over what other members can do with each other’s phone numbers.
I have more than 5 groups for my online courses where I support my students and I am quite happy with running them on WhatsApp.
I have a group on Signal as well but that is not as thriving as a WhatsApp group.
I’m of the opinion that, you should start building your community on Facebook, instead of building it on some paid tool.
Paid tools like Circle and Mighty Network are very good, there is no doubt about that, but Facebook is easier for everyone.
Additionally, when you are just starting with building the community, you don’t know whether it’s going to grow, and putting money in community building tools is not advisable.
I made that mistake and ultimately found out that my audience liked Facebook better than anything else.
Both the time and money invested in creating a community on Mighty Networks was a huge waste of time.
However, this is not the fault of Might Networks.
So, go ahead and start building your online community on Facebook and provide immense value.