There was a time when we were “all in” on Facebook Groups. We have been using them for networking among our clients, interaction within some of our professional courses, and providing free resources to find great future customers.
When John Chvatal, our web team lead, suggested we find an alternative, I was skeptical.
I am not a fan of expending money and energy unnecessarily, and Facebook had been working great for this purpose for a long time. Many of our current clients and course members found us through our Facebook groups!
Facebook had (and still has) many advantages:
- Facebook uses targeting VERY efficiently to target just the people most likely to be interested in our topic.
- Facebook Groups have nice, free utilities to publish educational content, videos, polls, quizzes and other interactive material.
- Everybody knows how to use Facebook.
- Most people have a Facebook account and use it frequently. (Facebook’s active user base is now larger than the total populations of China and India combined.)
All of that is still true.
But some things have changed in the past few years.
- Some of our best clients have expressed concern about interacting on the platform, especially with serious business questions and (hopefully) private conversations.
- Facebook groups have become targets of spam-bots. (Granted, as a group administrator I could be more diligent about deleting SPAM, but there are better uses of my time.)
- Whenever we’re “living in someone else’s house,” we’re subject to their rules and to anyone else that the homeowner lets in. We can’t secure our intellectual property or our data.
Add that to the fact that our community of customers is the most important asset we have, (for more reasons than financial – our clients are also our friends!) we need to protect and foster that asset to the best of our ability.
We don’t have to assume that Mark Zuckerberg is some kind of lizard alien with personal animosity towards capitalism ( ) in order to come to the conclusion that it’s time to make a change.
So, here’s the plan:
- May 1, we will open our new Marketing Lab Network on a Circle.so community to our current Marketing Lab Members only.
- May 31, we will close our “private” Facebook Group.
- July 1, we will close our Free Aviation Sales and Marketing Facebook Group. Between now and then, we will take applications for members for a Pro Level on our Circle.so community at a nominal monthly fee. Providing a quality experience takes money for software and intelligent people; and people who have made an investment tend to take the experience more seriously and therefore get more out of it!
- We will continue to have a business page on Facebook, and will continue to use this platform for promotion and advertising as it makes sense. (Those stats are hard to ignore- and Facebook is still amazing, although its growth has slowed and ad rates have increased. We’ll adapt as needed, as always!) But our communities of clients will be elsewhere.
Why did we choose Circle.so?
- LinkedIn Groups – Limited functionality.
- LifterLMS – Great for hosting courses, but too private to use for a community. Doesn’t allow for class interactions easily enough. And people only stay logged in when they’re doing course work.
- Basecamp – Works great for project management, but doesn’t have community functionality.
- Mighty Networks – Doesn’t provide integration with our courses.
- Slack – Does not support subgroups
- Reddit – Not much more than a forum
- Kajabi – Limited functionality & more expensive.
- Discourse – No chat functionality
- Discord – Not integrated with events & video, not functional for a large community.
So, we look forward to your input as we make this migration and welcome your suggestions and input every step of the way!
You’ll be getting an invitation from us soon to join our private Circle community. Circle has a browser-based interface and mobile apps, so it should be just as convenient and even easier to use than our Facebook groups. We’ll be using it for our interaction in our courses, live events, Book Club, Group Office Hours, monthly challenges, and other features.
Many of you are managing your own communities – of course we will share this experience with you and make recommendations and assist with implementations as appropriate.
Let us know how we can help!