Dornubari Vizor - Dec 6, 2020
The Ultimate Guide to Circle.so and the Best Alternatives for Your Community
Have you considered using Circle.so to build a strong online community around your product, service or content? While there are a couple of features that do make Circle.so a community platform worth considering, you should beware of its disadvantages, too.
We are here to tell you all you need to know about Circle.so before you trust it with your most valuable asset — your loyal community. And if you realize that this is not the best option for you, there’s no need to despair. We will also point you to some of the best Circle.so alternatives and competitors. The perfect community platform is out there, waiting for you.
What Is Circle.so?
Circle.so is a community platform designed for creators who want to gather their community members around their content, engage them in discussions and turn them into paying members. In addition to discussions, members can communicate via direct messaging, too.
With Circle.so, creators have a chance to build different types of communities. These include membership, course, product, and coaching communities. The platform also allows for newsletter and podcast communities.
When it comes to discussions, it is possible to organize them in public or private spaces, depending on their nature.
Whenever you create a space, you can choose different settings to customize it the way you want. For instance, you get to choose whether you allow community members to create spaces, too, or not. When you create private spaces, you can decide whether you’re going to hide them from non-space members. To name a few options.
What Are the Most Common Use Cases for Circle.so?
Are you still wondering whether Circle.so is the best solution out there for you? There is no single answer to that question. It depends on what exactly it is that you do and what you expect from a community platform.
Here are some of the most common use cases for Circle.so. Learning more about them should help you decide whether you should stick around or not. If this is not the right community platform for you, it’s time to move on to explore Circle.so alternatives and competitors. Let’s dig in:
- You want your community members to be in touch with each other via direct messaging or take part in various discussions.
- You’re planning to build coaching communities or mastermind groups.
- You are an influencer or a blogger who wants to connect with the audience and help them connect with each other.
- Your primary goal is to promote your product or a brand and gather your community around it.
What Are the Top Features of Circle.so?
Using Circle.so to build your community can be a good decision. That is if you take into consideration some of its best features. These primarily include the following:
- Integration with your own website — Do you already have a website? If so, you’ll find it convenient to simply integrate your community into your existing site. The Circle platform makes this possible.
- Integration with online course platforms — You’re using online course platforms such as Kajabi or Teachable? Circle.so makes it possible to share your content created there with your Circle community.
- Customization to match your branding — You choose your brand colors and add a custom domain. Your community members don’t even have to notice that they’re on Circle.so and not your own platform.
- You can own your community members — Perhaps one of the best things about the Circle platform is that it allows you to own your community. This saves you from elbowing your way to your audience. All you need to do is make your content worth sticking around.
How Much Does Circle.so Cost?
When deciding what community platform to choose, one of the big questions to address is, of course, the price of it. So, if you’re still considering the Circle platform, you should also take into account its pricing scheme.
For those who just want to try it out, Circle.so offers a free trial period of 14 days. However, when that period expires, you have to pay to use this community platform — there is no free plan. Here are your options:
- The most affordable option is the Basic plan, which costs $39 a month. This plan provides you with the essentials needed to get started with your community. You can have just 1,000 monthly active members and 10 spaces. This plan also allows for a custom domain and Zapier integration.
- The Enterprise plan is for large businesses and it amounts to $199 a month. It leaves room for 100,000 monthly active members and 1,000 spaces. Creators also find it useful because it allows for three communities and custom SSO via OAuth, among other benefits.
The Circle platform has some great features, but it’s hard for community creators to monetize their online communities because they don’t offer the ability to setup paid membership subscriptions or host online courses directly inside of them.
This can be a big problem for creators who are looking to build profitable and sustainable communities with members that will stick around over time. With Circle, you’re forced into using multiple different tools which make your community experience feel fragmented and leave you dealing with technical headaches when trying to put together an online community that generates revenue and that your community members will love.
This is where GroupApp comes in, GroupApp lets you create an online community that you own. Host your online courses and digital content inside of your community. Get paid through subscriptions, course sales and create a unified community experience that your members love.
A Unified Place for Your Online Courses and Community
Improve the success of your online courses and enhance the learning experience by bringing your online course and community together under one platform using GroupApp. Provide course participants with ongoing feedback, guidance, and community support easily and exactly when they need it without having them login into multiple different software tools.
You Can Monetize Through Membership Subscriptions and Online Course Sales
Membership site platforms are an excellent way to earn money for your hard work. That’s why GroupApp gives you a chance to monetize through membership subscriptions (monthly or annual). To make things even better, it also allows you to sell your online courses, making another great source of revenue.
Let’s do the math. If you have 250 subscribers, each of whom pays a subscription fee of $15, you can earn $3,750 a month just from subscriptions. Then, if each of those subscribers (or any other 250 people for that matter) buys a course that costs $25, you get another $6,250 per course.
A Familiar and Easy-to-Use Platform
GroupApp is designed to look similar to Facebook groups, which means that there is no relearning required. Your community members will find the platform easy to navigate and comfortable to use due to the feeling of familiarity. All that without the many disadvantages that make businesses move away from Facebook groups.
GroupApp has affordable pricing for those on a tight budget. It starts with a Starter plan that costs only $19 a month and offers many features for that amount. Even when you decide to upgrade, you won’t have to worry about exorbitant prices. The Pro plan costs $49 a month, while the Premium tier amounts to $140 a month.
Other Circle.so Alternatives and Competitors
In addition to GroupApp as the ultimate choice, there are a few other Circle.so alternatives and competitors that you should be familiar with. Each of them comes with its fair share of benefits and drawbacks.
It’s up to you to weigh all the pros and cons and determine what suits you best depending on your particular requirements. Let’s start with Vanilla Forums.
Vanilla Forums is one of the best forum software solutions out there. It made its way to the top mostly due to the wide array of features that it offers to its users.
In addition to flexible customization, Vanilla Forums is often praised for gamification and reputation system, API, integrations, spam prevention, etc. It is primarily designed for mid-sized companies and enterprises.
There are many reasons why Vanilla Forums might look like the perfect solution, but there is also a major drawback that you need to beware of — this is a rather pricey solution. It’s enough to say that the starting price is usually close to $700. You need to request a quote if you want to get a precise number, which will be based on the set of features that you choose.
Mighty Networks is another popular community platform, and for a good reason. Among various advantages, this platform is among the rare ones that allow you to own your community. You are not limited by someone else’s terms and regulations — you’re in control.
Unlike Circle.so, Mighty Networks does offer an option to host and sell your online courses, alongside charging membership subscriptions. This is much more convenient than having to integrate your community with another platform to be able to monetize.
What can be problematic about Mighty Networks is that it is limited when it comes to customization and third-party payment platforms. Another potential problem is that there’s a learning curve that can be a big turn-off for some users.
This cloud-based platform is considered one of the best Mighty Networks alternatives and competitors. The features that make Tribe a community platform worth considering are primarily desirable among large companies. For instance, it allows an unlimited number of members and unlimited content, all under your custom domain.
Community members can enjoy a variety of useful functionalities. For a start, they can start discussions or engage in the existing ones. They also get to share content, take part in polls, start polls, follow other members, organize events, etc.
The main disadvantage of this community platform is that it doesn’t allow you to include your online courses. There’s no option to go live, either.
Hivebrite is mostly known as a highly customizable community platform. So, if what you need is a platform that can be tailored to all your needs, this may be a good place to start. Another feature that makes this community management platform a popular choice is its detailed analytics.
Hivebrite is an all-in-one platform, so you can rely on it to cover everything you need as an online creator. However, you should know that this comes at a rather high price. To get the exact price, you need to contact Hivebrite and ask for a custom quote, but you shouldn’t be surprised if they set a price of $500 a month.
The Final Verdict
Whether you’re just starting out and learning about community building or you’re looking for a new community platform, you can see that Circle.so is a good choice in only several cases.
To have a more versatile solution, you need to turn to some of the best Circle.so alternatives and competitors, like those listed here. If you want everything covered, the best option out there is GroupApp, the all-in-one platform that helps you build and grow your community and earn money at the same time.
Why would you host your courses on one platform and have your community on another one when you can keep them together? Why choose a platform that’s tricky to navigate when your community members can have a familiar-looking and easy-to-use platform and enjoy every second spent using it?
Running a business as an online creator can be challenging enough. Do yourself a favor and make it run seamlessly by relying on a community platform such as GroupApp.