Whether you are a musician, artisan, teacher or activist it’s in your interest to give your fans, followers, customers or students a place where they can come together no matter where they might be in the world at a given time. An online community is how you do that.
Until recently, Facebook Groups was the default platform community leaders used for this purpose. But a series of high profile data breaches, a lack of control over monetization and other issues have soured people’s experience of Facebook.
Today, community builders want more flexibility and customization options and they guarantees that their user data is secure. You’re wise to look at community management software solutions, like Honeycommb and others.
What is Honeycommb?
Honeycommb is an online community platform that provides businesses, organizations, brands and other groups a way to bring like-minded individuals together. Honeycommb community management software typically gets high marks for its scalability, its plethora of community engagement tools and its reliability.
Honeycommb is essentially white-label software that allows you to get your online community up and running in no time, while enabling a certain degree of customization so that your online community does not appear a carbon copy of someone else’s.
Honeycommb has gained a lot of fans but it is not the only community building software out there, and in many people’s minds there are others that do a better job for less. And that’s what we’re here to look at: alternatives to Honeycommb.
What is a community platform?
A community platform is a virtual space where people can come together to share their experiences and opinions and build new connections based on their similar interests, worldview or situation. In a sense, it’s like having your own social network. There are myriad types of online communities with the most popular being:
- Brand communities
- Knowledge and learning communities
- Event communities
- Issue-orientated communities
Many online communities are structured around a leader, who has attracted members who want to learn from their work, beliefs or lessons. . Other communities may not have such a clear figurehead, but be more about people coming together around a shared interest, such as parenting or knitting. You can also build a community around a brand in order to nurture brand loyalty and take care of your most active customers.
An online community built around Honeycommb may be any of the types mentioned above.
What are Honeycommb’s best features?
Among the things we like about Honeycommb are its social network features that enable users to connect. Users are able to post videos and photos, share links and documents in real-time, start or join subgroups and designate preferred content. There are also robust content moderation tools and the software is compatible with iOS and Android, as well as PCs and web browsers.
From a community leader perspective, it is easy to consolidate relevant user data to learn about your members, their tendencies and tastes and to identify those community features and content that perform best. The team behind Honeycommb also engage in frequent tweaking and upgrading of the software in order to refine the user experience, although it should be said that significant updates tend to be few and far between.
Where does Honeycommb fall short?
Like a lot of businesses these days, Honeycommb tend to view customer service as an afterthought. They seem to think that if they toss a chatbot up there for you to interact with they’ve done their part. Many customers have mentioned their frustration in trying to get a hold of a human they can have a real conversation with, and that even when they reach a person they seem woefully uninformed. That’s important because the learning curve here is surprisingly steep.
Furthermore, Honeycommb’s user interface and backend looks quite dated and can be quite confusing to navigate. A slick and intuitive user experience is vital for keeping your members coming back, so it really is worth thinking long and hard before signing up for a platform that is lacking in this department.
Finally, customization options are wanting and if you plan on having more than 1,000 members in your community the monthly costs increase quickly. All in all, it feels a little like the software were launched simply because the developers had reached a deadline, that some things were left unfinished and that they don’t really want to talk about it.
6 community platform alternatives to Honeycommb
If you are looking for an alternative to Honeycommb consider one of the following community building software solutions.
Thinkific is designed for those who have knowledge or skills to impart to their community members. It is designed to facilitate the creation and dissemination of teaching materials, including video lessons, live streams, deliverables and more.
Unlike most of its competitors, Thinkific is an all-in-one platform that is hosted on Thinkific servers. It features a drag-and-drop interface, an integrated e-com feature, the ability to create quizzes with just a few taps of your screen and it will easily scale up with you as you grow.
From a member standpoint, Thinkific enables users to create personalized environments, to engage in goal setting and tracking, to monitor their progress and to replay course materials as many times as they need to.
2: Bettermode (formerly Tribe.so)
The driving principle behind Bettermode (formerly Tribe) is to provide brands with a simple way to build an online community around their product or service. Most established brands already have comprehensive marketing strategies in place and Bettermode was not designed to replace those efforts, but rather to augment them.
For community leaders, Bettermode offers multi-language support, integrated gamification and a suite of moderation tools that are as easy to learn as they are to implement. You also have the ability to ask questions, generate polls, create articles and share different types of content to help get the message out. This is a modular, widget-based platform that enables you to create a look that’s entirely yours.
Unfortunately, Bettermode does not offer a native mobile app, which is a bit of a head-scratcher because it undermines the ability of mobile users to access community features quickly and dependably.
3: Mighty Networks
If your goal is to build an online teaching business, you would be remiss not to consider Mighty Networks. The Mighty Network community building software is ideal for presenting your specialised knowledge to a broad-based and diverse community of learners, whether you are teaching people how to master the market or build Shaker-style furniture.
Through live streaming, event management, archival videos, 1-click Zoom scheduling, Q&A sessions, polls, push notifications and more your members will never be out of the loop. They’ll also be able to communicate with each other in myriad ways including Private Messaging, real-time chat and virtual meetups. Also, the modular design ethos behind Mighty Networks (they call it “Spaces”) is hard to beat when it comes to monetizing your content.
On the downside, the same thing that makes Mighty Networks so compelling (the “Spaces” design concept) also means navigation is often anything but intuitive, which is going to turn off a fair number of people. You’ll also pay upwards of $30,000 a year if you are looking for a whitelabel solution to promote your own brand rather than Mighty’s!
Disciple have been earning steady praise from community builders due to the software’s incredible versatility, scalability, reliability and cross-platform compatibility. When you build your private community using Disciple online community software you have impressive control over the look and feel as well as a plethora of monetization options that rival Mighty Networks (without the confusing Spaces design).
Grow your community with unlimited live streams, embedded video, in-app purchases, polls, PM, chat, push notifications and easy-to-use content moderation tools that let you stay one step ahead of the trolls. Best of all, Disciple is one of the most competitively priced branding platforms on the market, and that’s important if you are just getting your community off the ground.
And unlike some competitors, (cough!) Bettermode (cough!), Disciple also offers a white-label native app that will enable you to build brand engagement your competitors will envy. If we had to choose one software platform to start a community with we’d choose Disciple.
Hivebrite touts itself as the “most advanced all-in-one community management and engagement platform”. The good news is that it comes pretty close to fulfilling those lofty aspirations. The bad news is that limited customization options, a steep learning curve and less than stellar technical support are why it falls short of its shiny PR.
Nevertheless, there is a lot to like when it comes to Hivebrite such as a lengthy feature set that includes a drag-and-drop interface, simple email management, customizable forms, file sharing, push notifications, event calendars, news feed, activity tracking, user profiles, visual analytics, real-time chat, a question library, single sign-in, content moderation tools and robust social media integration. Just to name a few.
Hivebrite provide an easy way for administrators to connect with and learn from members and for members to communicate with and bond with the brand. Not for those with a limited budget, however.
Our final alternative to Honeycommb is Uuki, an Indian startup that’s been earning a lot of praise for its clean, intuitive interface, its wealth of community building features, its reliability, its native community app and its competitive pricing structure.
With Uuki you can set up membership subscriptions, sell premium content with one-time payments, host live events, create community pages and take advantage of the course name generator, community name generator and their knowledge base. This is a good starter solution for those offering online courses or selling one-of-a-kind products like bespoke furniture or NFTs.
As this community software solution is relatively new there are some shortcomings that will need to be ironed out such as the lack of content options, limited social media integration and an uninspiring administrator interface.
Making your choice
All of the above represent viable alternatives to Honeycommb. Which one will be right for you will depend on which type of private community you wish to build, how many members you anticipate, whether things like live streaming will be crucial to your brand strategy and, of course, your budget.
Disciple is the alternative to Honeycommb that doesn’t compromise on functionality, customization, monetization options or security. What more could you realistically ask from community building software?
Whether you are a clothier, musician, economist, physical therapist or established brand building a vital and responsive online community is an essential part of success in the 2020s. While Honeycommb certainly has its upsides it’s a long way from flawless and so it is in your interest to investigate alternatives. We hope you found the above information helpful.