We have 15k newsletter subscribers, and have around ~2k of them in a Slack group. We're starting to encounter issues in terms of community management - specifically, it's hard to pin content like community guidelines, the limits for free plans are tough (but it's way too expensive to pay for 2k people!), and it's hard to differentiate our "official" content from all of the other posts in the feed.
Curious if anyone is using something they love to manage a community? The core tools we need to have are: channels, 1-1 and group DMs, and some kind of polling component. Would also love some kind of identity system where we can do badges or at least designate moderators. Our big concern is that people won't migrate over from Slack - so looking for something with easy onboarding!
Background for my answer: I ran and grew GrowthHackers.com to over 300K members during my tenure.
What you will ultimately find is that no community platform will every meet all your needs. The reason is simple - every platform caters to the most common features when what makes your community click is whatever makes you unique - so there is just a fundamental disconnect there. This is also why there is no clear winner in the community platform space yet. Plus, out of the box most of them give you unusable analytics (if any).
This is why we bit the bullet and rolled our own platform so we could have complete control over look/feel, testing, analytics - the works.
With that said, I realize most people aren't ready to go down that road as it is a commitment. And while I can't recommend any specific platform because of my experience, check out this guide from CMX (its worth giving up an email for) to help you make the most informed decision based on your needs: https://cmxhub.com/resource/platforms
With the caveat that I haven’t implemented any of these (like @AnujAdhiya, we’ve built our platform in-house), the community software I’ve seen recommended the most and have on several sites so far is Discourse. It powers Stratechery’s forums, which is where I’ve used it the most. It’s more of a modern take on a traditional forum, though.
For chat, would Discord work? It’s not designed for building communities per se, but Is a free chat tool with more features than Slack offers for free.
I would look at circle.so which should check all the boxes you're looking for in a community. Price is $39/mo for Lifetime usage and includes, channels, 1-1 and group DM's, badges. The switch would probably be fairly simple as well.
This is a bit of a shameless plug but we are trying to solve some of the problems mentioned on this thread.
As @AnujAdhiya said, there is no community platform yet that’ll meet all of your needs but with Edition, we are combining some of the crucial pieces together. For ex., combining best of Slack (#channels / 1:1) and Forum (async communication).
We have also noticed, a lot of community builders publish regular content (blog/newsletters) to spread awareness of their community but today the experience is broken as your blog, resource library and community live on separate platforms. We combined content & community under one platform to solve this.
To solve the concern of migration, we did a tight integration with email so that members can just reply to the email to directly comment on a thread.
These are just some of the carefully designed features we built at https://edition.so/
It’s exciting to see the early-success of other players like Circle, which proves that there is a dire need for a good & modern community platform.
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