Have you been looking for a Facebook alternative for your online community? You want the engagement, the safe space for your people to have conversations that matter and connect… outside of Facebook. Today we’re looking at another option + giving you the pros + cons of the social community platform: Circle.
Things You’ll Learn in this Episode of Doing it Online:
- Why you might want to look for an alternative to Facebook for your online groups…
- What we discovered about Circle: what didn’t work, what did and what might suit you…
We’ve got a ‘Tech Tryout’ episode for you today! Where we have a play around with some new tech and then give you the pros, the cons and help you decide if it’s something you want to try out in your own business.
And today the tech we’re looking at is Circle, which is a Facebook alternative for your online community.
(In case you’re wondering, we’re not affiliated or associated with Circle in any way, it was just something we wanted to try at our latest online workshop, and we wanted to share our experience with you guys.)
Why not Facebook for your online community?
You totally can use Facebook, and we certainly have until recently. But there are a number of reasons that people are looking at other options.
Firstly, we’re finding more frequently that people aren’t wanting to actually be on Facebook at all anymore, and so when we run an online workshop, we have people who really want to be a part of the paid workshop, but don’t want to be on Facebook.
Comments are also easy to lose inside a Facebook group, which makes moderating them quite difficult. It can also be difficult to organise the information and it can be quite a distracting place to be.
So for our recent 6-Figure School Workshop we started looking for another platform that could fill the gap for these issues, while still providing an amazing space for our community to have conversations and be engaged in the group.
So, did Circle live up to the challenge?
Let’s find out…
1: Clean and appealing interface…
Here’s one for the pro column: it looks great! And I like my tech to be pretty, so… there’s that. However…
2: Super fiddly to set up.
…it was super fiddly to set up. You can’t create default settings that you can transfer, so any new space you create inside the group has to be done from scratch. A Facebook group takes less than 20 minutes to set up, so this was a big con for Circle. If you were using it for your ongoing community, then that’s not as much of an issue. But for a temporary pop-up group, it’s a lot of work.
3: Scheduling? It’s a no from Circle.
Another con, sadly. There’s no way to schedule posts natively inside Circle. You can get a third-party to schedule, but that costs more money again, on top of the already not cheap cost of Circle. (It’s about $97 a month. Plus another $97 to organise the super complex scheduling hack.) So we manually posted for this round, and that’s just not what we’re about at Hello Funnels, so again, this was a big con.
4: Organisation. Tick!
Yay! It’s a pro. It was much easier to organise information and find call details etc than inside a Facebook group. People could RSVP to the calls from the calendar and would be sent reminders automatically via email which was great.
5: Moderating comments? Good luck!
Yeah. It’s another con I’m afraid. There’s no one place to go and view all recent comments to make sure everyone has been responded to. So moderating comments was super difficult. This is something Slack does really well, and one of the reasons we love Slack for our community.
6: Lower engagement…
Because Circle is a space that you have to log into deliberately (unlike Facebook, which you can just find yourself on throughout the day), it affects engagement for sure. If you were using Circle for a higher-ticket program and people had a bit of skin in the game, the motivation to reach out and login and connect would be higher. But for a lower paid workshop, it was just another step out of the way for people to connect.
7: Live-streaming options
Ending on a pro, here. Their live streaming options were awesome and looked great, far nicer than Zoom. It also then saves the call and publishes the replay to the platform, so there’s no downloading or and uploading needed.
We liked it… but we didn’t love it.
And whoever it was on our team that suggested it might have been a good platform to try out, is very sorry, I’m sure. They might even be writing this blog post about it and thinking, damn. My bad.
However, if you were looking at using it for a much higher-ticket program then what we were using it for, it might work for you really well.
If you use Circle and we’ve totally missed a setting, can you let us know? DM us and tell us what you think about the platform if you’ve used it before. We’d love to hear from you!