Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most popular social media networks out there. But there are big drawbacks for businesses that use it, making a Facebook Group alternative, all the more important.

In fact, Facebook Groups are pretty much a waste of time these days.

Why?

Many companies are becoming tired with the poor return on time and investment they get from using Facebook. Facebook Group alternatives are seeing a rise in popularity, partly due to constant algorithm changes affecting user’s feeds and a string of scandals around privacy.

Also, the marketing reach achievable using Facebook Groups is very limited. Research has shown that organic reach dropped from 16% in 2012 to 6.5% in 2014, down to 2% in 2016 and below 2% in 2018. Things haven’t improved since then either, so the picture is pretty grim if you want to achieve a good marketing reach with Facebook Groups.

Facebook Group replacements such as Disciple now offer exciting features that produce real interactions with an engaged and passionate audience.

What is a Facebook Group alternative?

A Facebook Group alternative is any tool that allows you to build and connect with a community, offering similar communications features as Facebook, but without all the drawbacks. 

For instance, a community website that you build in an independent platform such as Disciple, allows you to include news feeds, private messaging, forums, notifications, live-streams, etc. but with full control of your data, better reach, and better support.

Why do people use Facebook Groups and what problems do they face?

Businesses use Facebook Groups for the following reasons (but encounter problems with the platform):

  • Marketing – Businesses aim to get their business seen by Facebook’s user base. But the marketing reach has been severely limited in recent years by Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms. Also, it’s increasingly used as a glorified advertising platform for big businesses.
  • Customer support – Customers requiring assistance can get direct one on one communication.
  • Education – Provide information about your product or services to educate consumers, but much of this gets lost in the noise these days.
  • Feedback – Find out what people are saying about your company as well as having an audience that can act as a focus group. But, with so many distractions, it can be difficult to get people engaged in providing feedback.
  • Analytics – Facebook provides some limited group analytics that give you data on membership, growth, and engagement. But, Facebook control most of the data and keep it hidden from community owners.
  • Community – Create a place for fans or customers to connect with each other. However, most groups end up full of trolls, negative comments, or competitors trying to “steal” community members. 

One major problem with Facebook Groups is that the platform has become increasingly in favour of promoting family and friend’s posts, rather than business ones. This means that organic reach has steadily declined over the years. 

Also, the lack of control over your group’s data and the fact that you’re at the mercy of Facebook’s policies and algorithm changes at all times, makes them a less than attractive option for businesses.

What do you get from setting up a Facebook Group alternative?

There are plenty of good reasons to create a Facebook Group alternative:

  • Real engagement – getting your message to customers or followers in the crowded Facebook ecosystem takes some doing. Your notification is competing against countless others.
  • Reach that counts – with constant algorithm changes, the Facebook news feed now seems to consist mainly of fake news and clickbait. Breaking through to reach people has become more difficult than ever.
  • Privacy – the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018 showed how Facebook data can be misused. Why leave your communities’ data in the hands of a platform that doesn’t exactly have the best track record?
  • Get control of your community – don’t rely on the Facebook algorithm to decide what makes it into your customers’ feed. Waiting to find out how Facebook’s latest platform changes will affect your business is very risky.
  • Customisation – why squeeze yourself into Facebook’s idea of how communities should look and feel?
  • Advanced analytics – surface level analytics isn’t going to deliver the insights that make a real difference.
  • Monetisation – build a community with direct monetisation instead of having to redirect from Facebook.

What alternatives to Facebook Groups are there?

There are plenty of online platforms to use as a Facebook Group replacement, with varying degrees of success. Platforms like Reddit, WhatsApp, Slack, and Groups.io offer functional, but limited Facebook group alternatives. 

The problem is that all these platforms struggle to combine the pros of a Facebook Group with the ability to have true control and customisation of the group. This is where community platforms step in to fill the gap.

The power of community platforms

A community platform is a web tool that allows individuals and businesses to build their own customised community website.

Community platforms like Disciple give creators, brands, and community enthusiasts everything they need to build their Facebook Group alternative. A social community of like minded people all gathered on a unique platform leads to greater engagement.

You’re in control, not a social media giant. You are free to choose your own features, branding, and design. Disciple’s easy-to-use console gives you independence and complete control.  Manage your community and publish your content how you want. Plus, all the data belongs to you. Disciple provides you with a secure GDPR compliant platform.

Don’t settle for the crumbs of analytics Facebook offers, use a Facebook Group replacement that gives you everything you need to get the insights that matter. Monitor your community’s behaviour with:

  • Member Analytics
  • Content Analytics
  • Data Visualisation        
  • Polls
  • Device usage         
  • Location Data

Community platforms like Disciple allow you to generate income directly from the group, without using Facebook as a middleman to get to your fans or customers. Community platforms offer monetisation functions to suit your business model. That could be in the form of a paywall for exclusive content, membership subscriptions, eCommerce, etc.

Creating a Facebook Group replacement

You’ve decided to leave the noise behind and create an alternative to Facebook Groups using a community platform.

Great Choice!

But now you’ve got to figure out how to actually go about it. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

1. Learn what your community wants

You’ve probably got an idea of what your community is looking for in a Facebook Group alternative. But it can be difficult to tell when you’ve been stuck operating in Facebook’s restrictive world. You’ve only got access to the superficial analytics Facebook supplies so you’re going to have to get to know your community in a much deeper way.

This isn’t just doing market research and developing customer profiles. Engage deeply with the people you want to reach. Get to know how they think and how their passions line up with yours. Maybe you need to modify your approach to suit them. 

A good way to get feedback from your community is to provide a quick online survey that has a prize attached to it, such as the chance to win a free subscription. You can easily create one for free using Survey Monkey or a similar tool.

2. What do you want to achieve?

Set some goals for what you want to achieve with your Facebook Group replacement. What do you want from your community? Or what service do you want to offer them? Are you aiming to:

  • Help a community to achieve their goals?
  • Create a more positive perception of your brand?
  • Find a group of like-minded people to share your passion with?
  • Allow members to communicate with each other openly?
  • Educate your audience  on a specific topic?
  • Monetise your audience?

Whether it is one of these or something completely different it is always good to focus on a clear goal. Aim wide and you’re likely to miss.

3. Delivering the content

Now you understand your community and you’ve set a goal, how are you going to deliver the content they want? There are plenty of things you need to consider. The platform itself is going to need to:

  • be simple to set up and use
  • have an intuitive interface
  • be fully integrable with other services
  • provide good customer support
  • be able to adapt to changes
  • allow you to access advanced analytics
  • provide a content library to store all your content files and media.

Disciple provides all the above features and more.

4. Make it look and feel unique

Next, you need to decide the overall look of the site and the features you want to offer. 

You can customise as much as you want, but use your community understanding and goals to guide you. 

What modes of delivery are you going to use for your specific content? And how do you maximise engagement? Are you looking for a fully-branded experience that appeals to the end user? Is the lack of third party ads important to you and your community?

Do you want:

  • a newsfeed to keep people informed
  • video or live streaming
  • prizes or competitions
  • monetisation for access to certain content, or e-commerce functionality

Maybe there is something completely unique to your community that only applies to you? With a community platform like Disciple you have the opportunity to include and promote it

Final Words

With the current state of social media networks, there are many reasons to seek a Facebook Group alternative. Whether you’re a business looking to market a product or a community of passionate fans, finding a space online that meets your needs is easier than ever.

Community platforms like Disciple offer an alternative to Facebook Groups that put you in the driving seat. You can:

  • customise at every step
  • reclaim control of your community’s data
  • produce real engagement
  • use advanced analytics to get meaningful insights
  • reach people without having to break through the noise on Facebook,
  • and monetise directly within the platform.

Disciple will swiftly implement your vision for a Facebook Group alternative. Once it’s built, you can take advantage of Disciple’s intuitive console for full control over your community on web, iOS and Android.