A community platform is generally used by employees and departments of the company to collaborate on a large number of assignments and tasks at the same time. The program is responsible for informing users of all developments and ensuring proper monitoring of activities. The community management platform helps businesses manage all-important business documents in one place and make them accessible to all.
Several significant benefits are associated with community platforms that every business should be aware of. An online community platform will be created that will allow all members of a given department to communicate effectively. Organizations can also understand the various challenges associated with a particular project and address them accordingly.
Here are the seven best community platforms of 2021.
The easiest platform to build a community of professionals
Slack is a popular tool for business messaging and collaboration. However, many also use it to build a professional community. The main reasons for this are the free designs, the ease of use which is first class, and the wide distribution of the Slack application.
However, although it is free to start, you can easily reach the limits of your free program. For example, with the free program, only the first 10,000 messages can be searched. Also, you cannot use Slack to create a generic community. This prevents users from discovering the community through search engines. Apart from this, there are no personalization, monitoring, or analytics functions.
- Supports different pre-designed templates
- Real-time communication
- Ability to create Channels for discussions and categorize the Channels using Sections.
- Member directory
- Powerful direction integration with third-party tools
- Video calling
- File browser
Price: Slack offers pricing options:
i. Unlimited private and public channels
ii. 10,000 searchable messages
iii. 10 apps/integrations
iv. 1:1 video or voice calls and file sharing.
- Standard: $6.67/member
i. Unlimited messages archive
ii. unlimited apps, and group video calling.
- Plus: $12.50/member
i. SAML-based SSO
ii. data export
99.99% uptime SLA
- Enterprise Grid: This is a custom plan for enterprise companies. Comes with unlimited workspaces, advanced security features, and compliance systems.
The best community platform that combines chat and discussion threads
With Spectrum, you can start a free public chat community in real-time. Meanwhile, unlike messaging apps, conversations in Spectrum are discovered and indexed by search engines.
This gives you the benefits of both real-time chat and discussions as threads. However, Spectrum-based communities are not fully customizable by branding. For example, you cannot host a community with a custom domain. There are other limitations, such as lack of SSO, monitoring tools, integration, reporting, lack of analytics, etc.
- Unlimited members
- Unlimited chat
- Secure, private channels
- Brandable signup page
- Single DM inbox
- Email member invitations
3. Vanilla Forums
One of the most mature best community platforms
Vanilla Forums is a cloud-based, best community platform that gives companies the ability to create engaging, interactive online forums for their prospects and customers. This easy-to-use solution is designed to help businesses increase audience loyalty, increase sales, and improve customer service.
This online community group offers a variety of features to keep viewers happy and engaged. These notable features include flexible customization of your branding needs, questions and answers, ideas, and a cutting-edge user experience. It also supports comprehensive integration with popular apps, out-of-the-box gamification, knowledge bases, and more.
- Gamification system
- Can match your brand guidelines with themes
- Question and answer system
- Moderation system (merge, edit, delete, demerit points, banning)
- Groups or sub-communities
- Events (scheduling, sharing, discovery, and RSVP capability)
- WordPress integration
- Social login and SSO
- Integration with Salesforce, Zendesk, and more
- API and Webhooks
Price: Vanilla Forums offers three pricing options and it starts from $689/month.
- Business: This plan offers 250,000 monthly page views, 5 staff members, jsConnect SSO, private or public community access, gamification, and more.
- Corporate: This plan offers 1,000,000 monthly page views, 10 staff members, CRM integration, ideation, API access, advanced SSO, and more.
- Enterprise: This plan offers a custom page view plan, custom staff users, enhanced security, uptime SLA, and more.
4. Facebook Groups
The best community platform to acquire members easily
Facebook Groups are used to create dedicated groups for people with a common passion so they can discuss various topics related to their area of interest. For a business, these Facebook Groups can be used to discuss your offerings and boost awareness about your company.
Overall, if you are just starting, Facebook Groups can be a good option. It doesn’t allow you to customize based on your brand, you don’t own the data, privacy can be an issue, and the platform is inherently full of distractions (owing to notifications and ads).
- Questionnaire setup for member approval
- Posts, likes, and comments
- Ability to assign mentor privilege to your most loyal members
- Displaying rules for moderations
- Connect the Facebook Group with Facebook Page
- Create learning modules (similar to courses) to educate your members
- Real-time chat with Messenger (if members are not friends, messages go to “Message Requests” section)
- Reporting and analytics
Best intranet solution for businesses
Blink is an intranet solution designed for commuters and workers in companies in a variety of industries, including retail, construction, and hospitality. Key features include calendar management, content management, employee lists, file sharing, and discussion forums.
Blink offers Blink feeds, which help managers and employees to post and access information about different tasks, facilitate discussions, and create feedback loops with one-click answers, surveys, and votes in your employee’s inbox. The solution also has many employee engagement options, such as cultural integrity.
In addition, Blink provides users with built-in storage for policies, business documents, and has Workforce Analytics functionality. The solution can be hosted locally or in the cloud and also supports integration with various third-party systems such as Office 365, Google G Suite, Salesforce, and Dropbox.
- Team Management
- Instant Messaging and Chat
- Unified Communications
- Employee Engagement
- Team Communication
- Internal Communications
- Digital Workplace
- Employee Communication Tools
- Remote Work
Price: Blink offers two pricing options:
- Premium: $40.8/year
6. Mighty Networks
The best platform to charge memberships and host courses
Mighty Networks serves developers and entrepreneurs by integrating their communities, online tutorials, sales pages, and more, all under the brand name, using the internet plus native iOS and Android apps. Connect community members with activity channels, subgroups, membership categories, chat messages, and more.
Create articles with a robust content management system, take photos, videos, and audio files, post questions, and polls that support comments, and are like a button. This is a really useful platform for improving community loyalty.
- Topics and articles
- Personalized activity feeds for members
- Make public, private, or paid community
- Direct messaging
- Zapier integrations for workflow automation
- Charge for membership
- Custom domain
Price: Mighty Networks offers four pricing options:
- Free: You can create a subscription-based community (members will pay a fee to join the community. Community with activity feed, articles, and topics.
- Community: Costs $23/month and allows you to point your community to a custom domain.
- Business: Costs $81/month and allows you to host online courses. You also get access to Zapier integration and premium analytics.
- Pro: Get access to native mobile apps, mobile notifications, and app store marketing all under your brand. Details of pricing can be collected by contacting the Mighty Networks team.
Best community platform
Tribe is the best community platform for both creative and brand communities. Tribe-powered supports beautiful work on both websites and mobile browsers. You can also convert them to PWA software. With the Tribe platform, you can customize your entire community to reflect your brand. You can also convert items such as activity channels, groups, posts and more, into a widget and easily add them to your site in addition to the product.
The design is inspired by popular social media sites. This means that you create your own copy of Facebook, Quora, and LinkedIn. This best community platform tool is also very secure and allows you to create communities that are 100% GDPR compliant. Your members can also easily join your community with a sign-in system that supports Facebook, Slack, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter.
- The extensive reporting capabilities allow you to measure key metrics for your community
- Support for different types of posts and rich media (e.g., directly video upload)
- Activity feed like popular social media sites to deliver personalized content
- Create groups and topics to form sub-communities and categorize the content
- Enables members to upvotes, comment, and reply to posts
- Embeddable widgets to add social components to sites
- Change colors, add your brand assets, and modify the theme with CSS
- Leverage powerful notification tools to keep members engaged
- Localize your community with 25+ international languages
- Moderation system that is a combination of both user-driven flagging, standard tools for moderators (edit, delete, merge, etc.), and automation (e.g., keyword blacklisting)
- Rich gamification systems like reputation score, badges, and leaderboards
- You can export all the member and content data since you have complete control over the community with this software platform
- Powerful SEO to ensure that your community well-optimized to get indexed by search engines
- With SSO, you can allow the existing users of your site and product to log in to the community
- Tribe has direct integration with 20+ popular third-party tools. One of them is Zapier so you can connect with 2000+ popular apps
Price: Tribe offers four pricing options:
- Free: The first plan is free and comes with essential features like content posting, groups, topics, and 500 members.
- Plus: The Plus plan costs $85 per month and allows up unlimited members along with additional apps like Zapier integration and SEO.
- Premium: The Premium plan costs $249 per month and offers features such as SSO, additional apps, and better support.
- Enterprise: The Enterprise plan comes with the capability to fully customize the community design and install custom-built apps. This plan also offers additional SLA on customer support, training, data residency, and advanced security features like audit logs.
We have explored the best community platform for ease of use, based on development potential and capabilities. However, the question remains, what is the best community platform for your business? This may vary depending on your specific needs. However, the first step is to list all the features you need and your budget. Next, from this list, you need to select the community platform.