Question

What are the best platforms for community management?

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!

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AnujAdhiya's avatar
11 months ago

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

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @AnujAdhiya )
11 months ago

Awesome, thank you for sharing your experience and that resource!

Did your team outsource any parts of the community to build it faster, or was the whole platform in-house?

2 points
AnujAdhiya's avatar
@AnujAdhiya (replying to @maguay )
11 months ago

The whole thing was in-house - more because the community shared a common back end with the main product to allow for line of sight analytics (we used Amplitude for user-level analytics) into what community activities were contributing to active product usage and vice versa.

2 points
venturetwins's avatar
@venturetwins (replying to @AnujAdhiya )
11 months ago

This is so helpful, Anuj - thank you! Will take a closer look through the guide. Definitely a tough call as I know the best case scenario would be a custom community platform, but given we don't run the community full-time, we are trying to strike a balance :)

2 points
AnujAdhiya's avatar
@AnujAdhiya (replying to @venturetwins )
11 months ago

I totally get it.
Happy to help with any other Qs that may arise as you narrow down your choice.

Also curious, is your Slack community by invite only or can anyone join?

2 points
venturetwins's avatar
@venturetwins (replying to @AnujAdhiya )
11 months ago

Thank you!! It's for our newsletter subscribers mostly, so we have an application form to join - but we add people directly when they tweet or email us to ask :)

2 points
Zee's avatar
11 months ago

I did some digging on this recently and these are the best options I found for a proper community 'facebook groups' like-community, rather than a forum:

https://www.mightynetworks.com/
https://tribe.so/
https://circle.so/
https://www.commsor.com/

5 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Zee )
11 months ago

Commsor's tools to track actions members take in a community looks like they could be very helpful in building an engaged community!

2 points
javi's avatar
11 months ago

The best community platform I've seen and tried is Tribe (https://tribe.so/). It's got everything you've mentioned that you'll need, including channels, private messages (from next week), polls, an amazing identity system, plus a whole lot more.

4 points
venturetwins's avatar
@venturetwins (replying to @javi )
11 months ago

Thanks, Javi - will check it out!!

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @javi )
11 months ago

Tribe’s sorting options look nice!

Had you tried any other solutions before landing on Tribe, and what got you to pick it?

2 points
javi's avatar
@javi (replying to @maguay )
10 months ago

I first discovered Tribe over a friend who's running her developer community on it. It seemed really well integrated for group feeds and reputation and very easy to use!

3 points
maguay's avatar
11 months ago

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.

3 points
venturetwins's avatar
@venturetwins (replying to @maguay )
11 months ago

Have heard a lot about Discourse, and will definitely be spending more time checking it out! We've also been thinking a lot about Discord - especially for Gen Z, it doesn't have a reputation just as a gaming platform anymore. Trying to somehow combine the chat and the forum in one place if possible, though.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @venturetwins )
11 months ago

Yeah getting some overlap between forum and chat would be interesting—honestly, something that's needed for teams as well, as this discussion about the need for tools for longform discussions in teams showed.

Discourse does have a Discord integration, but that'd be a bit of a hack.

2 points
Markj2324's avatar
@Markj2324 (replying to @maguay )
11 months ago

I've found workplace by Fb to be the best for teams even though everyone has their opinion about Facebook. Does everything you need forum, chat, groups, video and the price is right per a user. $3

3 points
Markj2324's avatar
11 months ago

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.

3 points
ndewda's avatar
9 months ago

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.

1 point
thudock-455's avatar
@thudock-455 (replying to @ndewda )
2d

Hey @ndewda , I checked out the Edition site as I looked what you shared about it. There’s a Stay Updated with email but wondering if we could jump in? A blog post said you released an early version?

2 points
ndewda's avatar
@ndewda (replying to @thudock-455 )
2d

Hey @thudock-455, thanks for checking us out. We did open it up for private beta recently. 


Couldn’t find you on our waitlist. Can you drop a line at 'help@edition.so'? - Happy to learn about your use case & get you started sooner.

1 point
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