I don’t know if you’re feeling this, but I am over Facebook. Their privacy “faux pas” (putting it lightly) has just turned me off of it completely.
That’s not to say I wasn’t aware of the amount of niching down an advertiser could do (I myself have posted Facebook ads) but their lack of concern and “sorry not sorry” just makes me feel gross.
But, I know that Facebook groups have been incredibly valuable paths for building communities for small business owners and bloggers. It created an easy avenue for communication with people who were already on Facebook anyhow, and that is brilliant. Now that so many are moving away from Facebook, how will you connect with your followers?
I’ve been thinking about this lately. I’m part of a 30-day challenge this month and was invited to connect with other challengees in the Facebook group for this challenge. I think I audibly groaned, not because of the blogger who runs it, but because I would be missing out on valuable data and tips…because I ain’t going back to Facebook, you feel me?
Alternatives to Facebook for Communities
So it seems some of us have come to an impasse:
How do we keep a community going without succumbing to facebook platforms? Here are some ideas:
Create a forum on your site
I know that Facebook groups essentially ended these. But thanks to the backlash on that platform, people are taking a look at offering these again. The best part is that you control the entire thing as it’s hosted on your domain. And can be better organized than all posts in one long scrolling page. The bad part, however, is that it does require a user to be committed enough to register and visit your site often. But consider places like MakeUp Alley or reddit, which are flourishing as open forums.
The first online course I ever took back in 2015 utilized Slack groups instead of Facebook. And it felt way more organized. The same as forums, it lets you keep ahold of the data from your groups and better control the flow of content. But the downside to it, of course, is that you need to have someone intentionally register.
Commercial Break: Let’s just say that all of these have the downside of intentionality in that a customer/follower/reader needs to actively engage in registering, rather than just connecting their existing profile to your group (like in Facebook).
Why not get creative with webinars and have a weekly hangout chat with your followers? It would allow you to utilize video (huge!) and let customers feel connected to you and your brand. You can also archive them on your website for newcomers to check out. The downside is that you’d need to keep it consistent to get your followers accustomed to joining in. So it’s something you’d have to plan with intention. I use WebinarNinja and love it, but there are dozens of other webinar service providers.
Discord is like a group chat but more robust and is taking communities by storm! It could be a great way to maintain a community atmosphere that's similar to Facebook without using Facebook.
Any other ideas?