Slack is fantastic for team communication, but when it comes to building and nurturing a thriving community, it's not exactly tailor-made for the job.
If you're thinking of building a lively, vibrant community, you might want to consider exploring alternatives.
And we will help you with just that. In this blog, we lay out the top 10 Slack alternatives, each purpose-built for community management. These platforms offer features that can enhance engagement, discussion, and member interaction. Plus, they usually come with more community-friendly pricing models.
Is Slack the right choice for community building?
Using Slack for community building might not be the most ideal choice, as Slack was primarily designed for team communication and collaboration within organizations. While it offers many useful features for internal team communication, it may not provide the necessary tools and features for effective community management.
Cost: If you're on a budget or planning for a sizable community, Slack's pricing might give you sticker shock. As your community expands, the costs can skyrocket, which could send you searching for a more budget-friendly solution. You typically pay per user, and with a large community, the costs can quickly add up.
Limited Public Access: Slack is designed for closed, invite-only teams. This can make it challenging to welcome new members to your community or provide public access to information and discussions.
Threaded Conversations: You know that feeling when you're on Slack with a team, and the messages keep pouring in? Well, take that, multiply it by your community's size, and you might have a headache. While threaded conversations are great for reducing clutter within teams, they can make it harder for community members to follow discussions in a linear and coherent manner. Ultimately, Slack was made for project management, not community discussions and keeping up with a torrent of messages can turn into a wild game of hide and seek.
Search Limitations: Slack's search functionality is optimized for team discussions, but it might not be as effective for community members who want to find and access valuable information or older conversations. So if you want your community to be easily found and joined by new members, Slack might not be your best bet.
Customization: You're a community builder, and you want your community to be a reflection of your unique vision. Slack, though, doesn't give you much room for personalization. Its customization options are somewhat limited compared to community-specific platforms or forums. You may not be able to tailor the platform to suit your community's specific needs.
Integration with External Tools: Slack primarily focuses on integrations with business apps and services, which may not align with the needs of a community-driven platform.
Community Management Features: Slack lacks built-in features for member onboarding, moderation, analytics, or gamification, which are important for effective community management
So, what's the solution? There are platforms designed specifically for community building that tackle these issues head-on. Think about platforms like Scenes, Discourse, Discord, or even Facebook Groups; they offer a better fit for community builders, with more public visibility, message organization, and customization options.
Top 10 Slack Alternatives In 2023
Scenes is an all-in-one community platform specifically designed to create thriving online communities. It offers features like forums, chat, events, and member management on 1/10th the cost of other tools in the industry, making it a powerful choice for community building:
1. Centralized Community Hub: Bring your community under one virtual roof. Manage all your activities, events, discussions, and members in one place.
2 Discussion Forums: Foster engaging discussions and brainstorming sessions with our user-friendly forum system. Keep everyone in the loop and ensure ideas never go unnoticed.
3. Event Management: Seamlessly plan and organize events. Scenes provides tools like Calendars for scheduling, and promotion, ensuring your events are a hit every time.
4. Member Management: Maintain a comprehensive member database, track engagement, and create custom member profiles. Scenes keeps your community organized and well-informed.
5. Resource Library: Centralize important documents, videos, and resources. Easily access and share files and knowledge with your community.
6. Real-Time Notifications: Never miss a beat with instant updates on community activities, event RSVPs, new discussions, and more.
7. Community Moderation: Protect your community's privacy and data with robust security features. Scenes is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for all members.
8. White Label App on iOS and Android: Customize and brand your community app, ensuring a seamless and professional user experience.
Why Choose Scenes for Your Community?
- Customizable: Tailor your community space with unique branding, custom URLs, and features that match your community's specific needs.
- Monetization: Monetize your community by selling courses, webinars, and digital products right from the platform.
- Gamification: Transform your community into an exciting and immersive experience. Reward member contributions using community coins.
Discord is a widely popular platform originally designed for gamers but has evolved into a versatile community-building tool. It offers voice and text chat, forums, and the ability to create and manage multiple servers for different topics or interests.
- Highly popular and widely used.
- Offers both text and voice chat.
- Integrates with gaming and streaming platforms.
- Great for real-time communication and engagement.
- Designed initially for gaming, which might not suit all community types.
- May not be ideal for long-form discussions or content sharing.
Mighty Networks is a platform for building niche communities and online courses. It enables you to create branded communities, share content, host events, and manage member access with various subscription models.
- Excellent for building niche communities.
- Provides tools for creating online courses.
- Offers a mobile app for on-the-go engagement.
- Supports various monetization options.
- The free plan has limitations, and the pricing for premium plans can be relatively high.
- App-in-app feature is not available.
- The pricing for a whitelabeled app is comparetively high.
- Customization options are limited compared to some other platforms.
Circle is a platform built for creators and community builders. It offers features like discussion boards, events, membership management, and content sharing. Circle also integrates with various third-party tools for enhanced functionality.
- Tailored for creators and community builders.
- Offers discussion boards and event management.
- Supports content sharing and member management.
- Integrates with third-party tools.
- Pricing may be a bit high for smaller communities.
- Customization options could be more extensive.
While not a standalone platform, Facebook Groups is a widely used and free option for community building. It allows you to create public or private groups, share content, and engage with members through discussions and events. It's especially useful if your target audience is already on Facebook.
- Huge existing user base on Facebook.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Supports various types of content sharing.
- Ideal for networking and connecting with a broad audience.
- Limited customization and branding options.
- The platform's algorithms may affect post visibility.
- Less control over data and user information.
Reddit is a massive collection of subreddits, each serving as a community for various interests. You can create and moderate your own subreddit, fostering discussions and content sharing on a wide range of topics.
- A massive user base and numerous subreddits.
- Supports discussions on virtually any topic.
- Highly engaged and active communities.
- Free to use and create subreddits.
- Moderation can be challenging.
- Can be intimidating for newcomers.
- Some subreddits may have a hostile or toxic environment.
Telegram offers group chat features that are well-suited for building communities. It provides the ability to create public or private groups, host events, and share various types of content, making it an excellent choice for group discussions and engagement.
- End-to-end encryption for secure communication.
- Supports public and private groups.
- Media-rich content sharing, including images and videos.
- Great for group chats and real-time discussions.
- Limited customization and branding compared to dedicated community platforms.
- Not ideal for long-form discussions or in-depth content sharing.
Discourse is an open-source discussion platform that is popular for building online communities and forums. It offers a robust set of features for community management, including discussion threads, categories, user trust levels, and extensive customization options. Discourse is known for its flexibility and active developer community.
- Open-source and highly customizable.
- Active developer community.
- Great for long-form discussions and forums.
- Strong moderation tools.
- Self-hosting can be complex for beginners.
- Limited support compared to some paid platforms.
- Requires ongoing maintenance and updates.
Tribe.io is a community platform that allows you to create branded online communities and social networks. It provides features for discussions, member management, user profiles, content sharing, and event scheduling. Tribe.io is a user-friendly option for those looking to create a visually appealing and engaging community.
- User-friendly and visually appealing.
- Supports discussions, member management, and event scheduling.
- Branded communities with customization options.
- Easy to set up and manage.
- May have limitations for larger or more complex communities.
- Pricing can be relatively high for certain features.
- Fewer customization options compared to open-source platforms like Discourse.
If your community is oriented towards professional networking and discussion, LinkedIn Groups can be a valuable choice. You can create groups focused on specific industries or interests, share content, and engage with professionals in your field.
- Professional networking and discussion focus.
- Access to a network of professionals.
- Opportunities for thought leadership and career growth.
- Good for B2B and professional communities.
- Limited customization and branding compared to dedicated community platforms.
- Less engagement in some groups.
- Strict content and behavior policies.
Ultimately, the choice among these platforms depends on your specific community's needs, your technical expertise, your budget, and your desired level of customization. Be sure to evaluate these pros and cons in the context of your unique community-building goals.