An alternative to a Facebook Groups

It’s been almost 2 years since Facebook changed its algorithm to prioritize user content over paid content and started to promote Private Facebook Groups and Pages to advertisers.  Today, influencers and organizations have a Facebook Page for its brand, and a Facebook Group to manage engagement for workshops, support groups, for customers and members to engage each other about a product or service being offered.

They advertise on Facebook and use its Facebook Page and Group to build community, but are struggling.  DIGIDAY reported that FitBit has 2.4 Million followers on its Facebook Page and only a few hundred members in it various private Facebook groups.  One of the groups had 30 posts in the last 30 days.

A social media page hosted by Facebook or Instagram are expected, and no one will criticize you for using it to promote your business or drive engagement amongst customers and members.  They will however, look at you and your brand with interest, when you invite them to download your app from the App Store, join the online community with your social media or email, and start to receive discounts for workshops, products, book a service, or donate to the cause.

There are many reasons to evaluate a Facebook alternative, from owning your customer and member information, from data privacy and current affairs, people are open to, and actively seeking alternatives to Facebook Groups or a Cloud Community. 

Here are reasons for evaluating a Facebook group alternative

  1. Privacy and your brand.
  2. You can’t charge for a Facebook Group.
  3. You can’t collect payments for experiences, registrations, tickets, product orders, and offer discounts via promocodes or by membership levels.

How to evaluate alternatives to a Facebook group?

Sounds like a simple question, but it’s not. Organizations of all sizes spent a lot of time and resources to answer this question.  The decision boils down to, “Do we build it?” or “do we buy it, and tailor it to meet our needs?” In either case, a custom software solution is used over 80% of the time.

So here is some of the things to look for when evaluating an alternative Facebook solution:

  • Is it web and mobile?

People expect a web and mobile experience because they want immediate access to the service from anywhere and from any device.  Make sure it’s available on iPhone, iPad, and Android and both desktop and mobile browsers.

  • Can we brand it?

When you get to the point where you’re evaluating a Facebook alternative, the decision is to either build it using fully customized or partially customized software for your business or organization.

  • Do we have the expertise?

The decision to build it, or to buy it, is not an easy one; and to be honest, once you commit to the need for a Facebook alternative, it does not matter If you decide to build it, or to buy it, and configure it to meet the need. 

Sharing our customers experiences, we have learned that, no matter the option, there is often a onetime setup process that needs to be done.  It is critical to select a software and a vendor that both meets the requirement, and understands the needs of you as an influencer, your members or customers, and your organizations management needs. 

Did you know that over 50% of these types of efforts fail, because the influencer or organization lack the person who can understand the need and translate it into requirements that can be implemented?  Having the right expertise will help determine the amount of time, scope, and cost associated with this 1-time setup.  This expertise is critical because they can understand the needs of the stakeholder and translate them into specific and measurable requirements for the team that will do the work.  This person is often overlooked, and it is left to the team to define requirements, based upon an need they don’t fully understand, or it is left to the influencer, or organization to provide requirements that most of the time are not specific enough.  The team will end up building the wrong thing, because the software met the requirement, but the requirement did not meet the underlying need.

  • How much time will it take?

This depends largely on the requirement, I am not being funny, but it’s true. The customer that do this side to go with a cloud community have shared the other solutions have taken anywhere from three months all the way up to one year to fully implement.

Do you have that much time?

A Better Facebook Alternative

The Community Cloud allows organizations and influences to avoid the large capital expense of building new, customizing existing, and maintaining custom software.  Simply download the app, add your brand, and tell a friend to download the app.  Now you can avoid the risk of building the wrong thing…because its already built.

What’s the best way to explore a Cloud Community?

There are 3 ways to explore The Community Cloud:

  1. Get started with a free account. Create a Marketplace or start a free trial with our Community Plan. 
  2. Join the Community Center.  This is a resource for community leaders.  We recommend several popular articles specifically designed for people who already have a community and how-to articles to maximize your cloud community. 
  3. Join a Webinar.  Register and join our monthly webinar where one of our community experts can share the latest enhancements and helpful tips to grow your online community.