Social Networking Groups vs. Online Communities

Community Building

Many brands and organizations today are choosing social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to start their online communities. Why? Because they’re free and easily accessible to a lot of users. But at what cost? Yes, social media is an essential part of any marketing strategy. But communities built on platforms specifically designed for communities provide a completely different experience to members.

If you’re a brand or organization that prioritizes the following, you’ll definitely get much more value from a platform that is actually built for creating and growing your community.

Community Ownership

For obvious reasons, it’s not ideal to build something permanent in an impermanent space that you don’t even own.

Public platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn limit your access to relevant member data that could be valuable to your organization and future business decisions. In a private community, you own your data. You can ask members permission to collect data like consumer demographic and preferences, and have the right to use this for advertising and targeting purposes.

Easier Community Management

Social Media platforms don’t really offer a lot of community management tools. They don’t have automated processes for member management too.

A private platform provides you with all the tools you need to manage and grow your community in a single dashboard. Community managers can use built-in moderation tools to send warnings, time out, or ban troublemakers from the community. Some platforms even implement a mobile-first design for better accessibility.

Targeted and Personalized Content

On social media, your community will compete against content and interactions from your members’ personal lives. There’s always the option of buying ads, but they’ll cost you a lot, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get relevant market share or reach your target customer base.

With a private platform, you can easily personalize your website’s design to make sure everything is consistent with your brand. It even allows you to create targeted content and discussions that are more focused and relevant to your members. This boosts engagement, supports community goals, and leads to overall community growth.

Better Member Engagement

With public social networking groups, member engagement is usually limited by the content posted in the community.

The best community management platforms provide unique solutions designed to strengthen engagement amongst members. An example of this are built-in gamification features like levels, ranks, and achievements. This extra layer of fun helps increase participation and user retention, and also serves as a reputation system to identify supportive and trusted community members.

Access to Meaningful Analytics

Social networks provide you with a lot of pre-defined reports to help you understand your audience. The question is, are all of them relevant in understanding the needs and preferences of your community?

Private community platforms can give you access to meaningful analytics on member activity, and even metrics on events, membership, and revenue. These reports can be customized to fit specific business requirements depending on your community goals. They can also provide insight for product development, marketing campaigns, and customer experiences.

In summary, each social platform is different and serves its own purpose. What’s important is to identify first what your organization’s needs and goals are, and find the tool that fits the job.

If you want an online community built on a private platform, you don’t have to be a technical expert to do it. Community management platforms like allow you to set up your own community in just a few clicks. You can check out our available plans here.

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