The pandemic has forced employees to work from home, in all possible cases. Those employed as software engineers, data scientists and pretty much any job which seeks the employees to sit behind a computer desk for most of the day, are spending this time working from home. Such employees often create an online community, to ease communication and share their work and ideas.
However, this isn't the only use case for online communities. People who have been part of self-help communities, private social networks and even community news networks have come together and built online communities to continue their hustle. An efficient community can help people connect and communicate and deliver business values, sometimes even better than offline communication.
Community Platforms vs Team Collaboration Platforms
Users might agree that there are striking similarities between community platforms and team collaboration platforms. Both of these platforms encourage features such as Q&A, team participation and communication. While they may seem somewhat similar, the major difference between them is that while Collaboration Platforms focus on one-on-one communication and projects and productivity, Community Platforms highlight one-to-many communication and help users in engagement and feedback.
Here we discuss and compare some of the most popular Community Building Platforms, to help you create your online community, and keep them engaged with activities and sessions.
Tribe is a powerful community platform that you can integrate with your existing software that you use, to enhance user engagement, retain customers and improve their lifetime value. You can create integrated community website and enable user discussion Q&A, along with other community features such as likes, upvotes and shares. You can also use widgets as social components in your applications through APIs. Moreover, with the help of automation tools, grow organically and deliver the best customer support.
Features Offered by Tribe
- Widgets help you embed valuable components, while an extensive API helps manage and monitor activity in your community.
- ML trained activity feed helps you with rewards and virtual currency, app extensions and community tools, and smart targeting.
- A robust gamification helps in audience engagement through incentives and credits, by giving your community members points and badges.
- Tribe, with the goal of bringing communities together, helps you connect with Pipedrive, Decathlon, IBM, Top Hat, Monument and other global communities.
- App integrations include Messenger, Google Analytics, Social Login, Virtual Currency, Slack, Firebase among many others.
Pricing for Tribe
|Free plan||Plus plan||Premium plan||Enterprise plan|
|Built for individuals and small communities and is free of cost||Costs $85 and is built for businesses and startups||Costs $245 and is built for brands and companies||Built for large business and regulated industries and one needs to contact sales for plan|
|Offers all basic amenities such as custom domain, theme, widgets and essential apps||All features of free version along with bulk invitation and advanced moderation||All features offered by Plus plan along with analytics and staging environment||All features included in Premium plan along with custom profile fields|
|Allows for theme control and custom domain||Along with custom domain, users also get a white label||Premium plan allows for multilingual communication and syncing behavioral data||Allows for custom theme design for personal branding|
|Free plan also includes messages, google analytics, social login, as well as virtual currency||Offers SEO along with Zapier and SendGrid integration||You can integrate with Slack, Webhooks, and use Single Sign-on||Allows for integrations with Firebase and custom app development|
Crowdstack is essentially an extension of your original website, and works as a social community for your audience to help you grow. It allows you to set your own engagement rule and keep your content to yourself, along with offering you a cohesive experience for easy management and customization. Moreover, with User Generated Marketing (UGM), effortlessly increase your user base in the most cost effective way possible, and use your existing customer base to enhance your SEO.
Features Offered by Crowdstack
- Offers an efficient member management where you can keep your audience engaged with blogs, surveys, resources, and status updates.
- Have any number of subgroups you prefer, for different discussion segments and enable all kinds of topics based on calendar events.
- Automation helps you build customizable workflows, review content, send emails, congratulate members, and a lot of other stuff.
- Crowdstack offers compliance with international security standards for data privacy, making sure the data of users stays where it should.
- Premium membership allows you to monetize your community at Crowdstack, by designating premium features to generate revenue.
Pricing for Crowdstack
|Basestack plan||Midstack plan||Fullstack plan||Enterprise plan|
|Costs $49 per month and offers a free 2 months usage on yearly payments||Costs $149 per month and offers a free 2 months usage on yearly payments||Costs $399 per month and offers a free 2 months usage on yearly payments||Custom pricing based on features|
|Allows for 10 admins and automation rules with custom domain and GDPR/enhanced privacy tools||Allows for unlimited admins and automation rules with custom domain and GDPR/enhanced privacy tools||Allows for unlimited admins and automation rules with custom domain and GDPR/enhanced privacy tools||Allows for unlimited admins and automation rules with custom domain and GDPR/enhanced privacy tools|
|Content can be based on topics, calendars and blogs||Content can be based on surveys and resources||Content can be based on chats, pips, and database systems||Content can be based on chats, pips, and database systems|
|No custom roles, themes, or CSS||Offers custom roles, themes, and CSS||Allows for web space, custom wording and pages||Allows for web space, custom wording and pages|
|Advanced reporting but no video uploads or APIs||Advanced reporting with video uploads and integrations and social logins||Offers features such as sub groups, SSO, APIs and embedded widgets||Gives you a dedicated environment along with international data centers|
3. Website Toolbox
Website Toolbox offers users one of the easiest ways to create a forum in a few steps. It allows you to choose from a collection of themes and integrate the applications or even go stand-alone. Integrations that Website Toolbox offers include Wix, Wordpress, Shopify, Squarespace including others. You can then earn in different ways including advertisements, subscription based plans, and even accept donations and get sponsors.
Features Offered by Website Toolbox
- Attract more audience by embedding latest discussion topics in your website, and add videos, photos, and files in your forums to keep your audience engaged.
- Customize your community forum with your logo and branding, domain name, website layout, and customize themes to match your branding style.
- Website offers various integrations such as Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and enable Single Sign-On for your audience for easy access.
- Show ads from Google Adsense, and charge a subscription based fee/one time fee from your audience for premium content, and monetize your forum.
- You can also export your forum and choose to do what you intend with your data and get insights from an intuitive dashboard in real-time.
Pricing for Website Toolbox
|Starter plan||Growth plan||Pro plan|
|Costs $39 per month with a saving of 15% at annual payment||Costs $99 per month with a saving of 15% at annual payment||Costs $299 per month with a saving of 15% at annual payment|
|Offers up to 10k page views per month and 10GB of storage capacity||Offers up to 100k page views per month and 20GB of storage capacity||Offers over 500k page views per month and 100GB of storage capacity|
|Charges 2.9% of transaction fee and offers chat and email support||Offers all amenities of starter plan and charges 1.9% transaction fee||Offers all amenities of growth plan and charges 0.9% transaction fee|
|Offers website integrations and allows for file sharing and displaying own advertisements||Offers phone support, AI moderation, and instant messaging||Offers priority support with service level agreement|
|Offers spam protection without Website Toolbox branding||Offers live chat rooms, push notifications, and APIs and webhooks||Pro plan comes with custom development for additional features|
4. Glue Up
Glue Up is a software you can use to grow your community and pace up networking. When innovative networking meets powerful solutions, your community grows more than you anticipate. Glue Up offers you an event, community and membership management suite, so you can separately and seamlessly manage all the aspects of an interactive community, and keep your audience engaged along with attracting even more of them.
Features Offered by Glue Up
- The built-in CRM helps you with customer engagement and contact management, so you can generate more revenue.
- Plan and organize events, both online and offline, including workshops and webinars with an automated events platform.
- Email campaigns and marketing to promote/advertise your community or welcoming new members are easily customizable, with metrics analysis to monitor campaigns.
- Collaborate across teams and automate manual tasks so you can be more focused at more important things at hand.
- Communicate with your community and keep them in loop 365 days a year, to engage and spark discussions and help business.
Pricing for Glue Up
Glue Up offers plans for different suites including Event Management Suite, Membership Suite, Community Management Suite among others. The pricing for these suites are available on the official website.
Forumbee is a community forum built for engaging your customers and scale your product support with the help of an online community. Customer support and smart self-service helps you empower your audience, while employee community also helps with better collaboration and employee engagement. Moreover, with a simple cloud based platform and interface, Forumbee is highly customizable, where you can conduct discussion forums, Q&A sessions, knowledge base, ideation and much more.
Features Offered by Forumbee
- Create an easy to participate discussion forum and allow file sharing, highlight contributions, and create member profiles for better community building.
- Peer to peer Q&A sessions by category and tags help you engage your audience and also find effective answers at the same time.
- You can also create a knowledge base to create content to help customers find quick answers, and also organize your content with team contribution.
- Find creative product ideas from your customers and keep them in loop to discover popular feedback, keeping them engaged.
- Forumbee offers an intuitive interface which is efficient and manageable, with powerful tools to keep audience engaged and automated welcome messages.
Pricing for Forumbee
|Premium Plan||Enterprise Plan||Custom Plan|
|Costs $250||Costs $750||Custom pricing for enterprise plan|
|Allows for 5 admin users and 5000 members||Allows for 20 admin users and 20000 members||Custom number of admins, members and page views|
|Allows for 300k monthly views and comes with all the basic features||Allows for 1 million monthly views and offers SSO and Okta||Allows multiple communities and account customizations|
|Comes with standard email support||Comes with a dedicated success manager||Custom plan offers implementation services and training|
What is a Community Platform?
Community Platforms combine a suite of services enabling the creation, management, and utilization of spaces for sharing between connected users. A common example would be a brand's presentation of a forum composed of administrators and end-users discussing a product or topic.
Who uses Community Platform software?
As the Community Platform category of software represents how software rises to meet the needs of online customer management, it reveals the composition of organizations and individuals that are responding to the demands around those key use cases. Typically these tools are used by:
- Community managers
- Customer support
Why use Community Platform Software?
More and larger concentrations of people have formed networks that pervade the internet, and brands have responded by formulating a way to participate in those same communication dynamics, meeting customers where they are. An effective community platform can enable a direct line to interactions and contributions with consumers that may improve product awareness, generate additional content, promote mastery, and encourage loyalty. They also facilitate data intelligence on common requests and user behaviors.
How do you build a community platform?
Steps for Building an Online Community
- Identify key stakeholders for the online community.
- Define the purpose and goal.
- Select a community platform.
- Build a member profile.
- Develop rules and norms.
- Set up your community.
- Identify key stakeholders for the online community.
- Promote your community.
What are some examples of online communities?
These are some examples of Successful Online Community Building Platforms-
- MOM365 Community. The Mom365 community covers topics from getting pregnant to birth, baby development to raising children.
- Foursquare Idea Community. This tech company tapped into the idea of creating a community early on.
- Duolingo Community. This Ed-tech company connects he whole world to learn and speak English.
Community spaces can be a one-stop portal for receiving or providing information, advice, or additional assistance. Organizations administering these platforms can leverage the maintenance of these spaces to relate with consumers, foster positive sentiment, respond to inquiries, and gather data on engagement. An effective community platform can enable a direct line to interactions and contributions with consumers that may improve product awareness, generate additional content, promote mastery, and encourage loyalty. They also facilitate data intelligence on common requests and user behaviors.