Humans are social beings, which means that we love to connect with people who share similar values. In a digital world, the demand for online communities is growing larger as more people seek to combat “digital isolation.”
For brands, businesses, and content creators, building online communities allows you to connect more intimately with your followers, increase your members, and monetize the community.
To build an online community, you’ll need a community app. With a community app, you can build your own community the way you want, engage with them and provide them with a much richer experience.
What are online community apps?
Community apps give you, your brand, or your business the opportunity and flexibility to interact with your followers and for them to interact with each other. In the words of Seth Godin, a marketing genius, the best marketing is when you allow your customers to have conversations with each other.
A community app is a dedicated app that allows you to manage your followers, customers, and members. You can provide them with a private and safe place to share their interests with like-minded people, get exclusive content, offers, and opportunities. Managing your community becomes easier because they’re all in one place. Plus, you can easily monetize the community by providing exclusive features.
Perhaps you’re already asking the question, why can’t I use a Facebook group or email list? Well, there are two significant issues with these platforms.
First off, it’s incredibly hard to monetize your community there. If you want to have different membership tiers and provide exclusive content to some members, you’ll find that it is very hard or even impossible to do.
Secondly, these platforms don’t allow for conducive discussion. An email list, for example, can’t facilitate discussions, and the best a Facebook group can do is allow members to comment on each other’s posts.
Moreover, you can’t get your data off these platforms. You don’t get to own your membership data on LinkedIn or Facebook, for example. And you can get banned from any of these platforms without any prior notice.
The best community apps of 2022 combine a wide variety of features that make managing a community easy and profitable.
Best Community Apps of 2022
Here’s a look at some of the best community apps in 2022. We’ll review their features and a few of the pros and cons of each app.
Raklet – All-in-one community app
We’re at the top of the list, and for a good reason too. Raklet is the all-in-one community management platform and one of the best community apps in 2022.
Using Raklet, admins can access a centralized CRM system that can track each members’ engagement and website activity. You can also collect & process online payments for e-tickets or products. These include membership fees, ticket sales, and subscriptions.
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You can use the scheduling tools built into our community app and send out email notifications to make the onboarding process easier. Smart analytics allow you to track events and gain insight into how your event is performing.
Members can also connect within their community based on location, education, and work. They can also discover community events, manage membership cards, and even start group discussions.
Raklet offers a free plan so that you can get started without making a commitment. Paid plans offer more advanced features and start from $49/month. If you’re a non-profit, reach out to us for your 50% discount.
- Easy to use.
- Manage membership, events, and payments all in one place.
- Create membership cards.
- Robust CRM system for managing member’s details.
- Superb customer support.
- Available on Web, iOs, and Android.
- Robust integrations with multiple platforms supported.
- Displaying all the member information might be problematic.
Tribe is a cloud-based community platform that empowers a new generation of communities with the best social media practices. It allows businesses and brands to create customized online communities and use gamification tools to connect with and retain users. Members can ask questions, create polls, vote, comment, and even upload media. You can also use integrations, widgets, and API to create your community.
Tribe’s pricing starts from $85/per month and ranges to $249/month. It also has a free version, a 14-day credit-card-free trial, and a customizable plan for enterprise customers.
- Allows event management and discussion boards.
- Allows community owners to moderate communities.
- Unlimited contacts and customizable profile fields.
- Collected payments either one-off or recurring.
- Can create a member directory.
- Customer support isn’t that great.
- Not a lot of integrations yet.
- Can be a bit hard to understand for new users.
- Confusing navigation.
- Handling the API and integrations requires technical knowledge.
Hivebrite is a cloud-based community management platform targeted at institutions. Incubators, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and similar organizations use the app to build brand engagements and provide networking opportunities for their members. The app has a member directory, an events page, a dashboard to display member’s information, a member inbox, and paid membership functionality.
This suite of tools helps institutions manage and engage with their members while providing them with full control over their community. It also allows external integrations with CRM systems and social media platforms. Hivebrite’s price is not fixed and is customized to the needs of the organization.
- Accessible on a wide range of platforms, macOS, Windows 10, and Web browser.
- Comes with an iOS and Android-compatible mobile app.
- Good customer support.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Analytics and page building features are hard to figure out.
- The media center isn’t optimized.
Circle is a community app primarily built for creators and offers tools for community building and engagement. It’s perfect for authors, influencers, course creators, and coaches. It allows users to create discussions among their community and organize them into public or private spaces, depending on how the community is built.
Different settings within the app allow users to customize their experience. For example, users can choose whether to allow community members to create their own spaces or not. Users can also decide if the private spaces they create will be hidden from members that are not in the space.
Circle is a paid product, ranging from $39/month for the basic plan to $199/month for the enterprise plans. However, there’s a 14-day free trial. The basic plan provides 1,000 monthly active users, 10 spaces, a custom domain, Zapier integration. However, you don’t get access to a Whitelabel, the API, or CSS.
- Perfect for creators and smaller personal brands.
- Can integrate with your website.
- Can integrate with online course platforms.
- No freemium version, so you have to pay for the product.
- Best for creators that already have an audience.
- Can’t host courses.
- No branded mobile application.
MightyNetworks helps creators and entrepreneurs bring their community together. They can also manage sales pages and online courses under their brand. They can connect with their members, and members connect with each other in sub-groups, fees, categories, chat, and more. Users can also share media, post engaging questions, and create polls.
MightyNetworks is available on the web, iOs, and android mobile apps. This community has a free version, while pricing starts from $23.00 per year.
- Great support.
- Can easily host courses.
- Easy to use.
- Branded mobile app starts from $36,000/year.
- Hard to manage notifications, especially on mobile apps.
- Not easy to navigate.
This is the list of some of the best community apps in 2022. However, before choosing which one, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
The ultimate guide to choosing community apps
Now that you know the best community apps in 2022, the next step is to choose the one that’s perfect for you, your business, or your organization. There are a lot of things to consider, depending on your unique position and requirements. What you require from a community app in 2022 will determine which app you get.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best community for your unique requirements.
This is probably one of the first things you should consider when choosing a community app. How much does it cost? Most community apps have different packages depending on the features you need or the number of members you want to manage. So, keep that in mind when comparing prices. Have an idea of what features are essential and how large you can expect your community to grow.
Switching community apps when your members have gotten used to the old one can be a pain, so make sure that you made the right choice.
If you work, create, or interact online, then there’s a high chance that you already use a few tools. When selecting a community app, check if the app has an integration with your favorite platforms. Can you integrate with your website, CRM system, or other important platforms? If the answer is no, it might be more trouble than it’s worth. This is especially true when you begin to scale. Imagine your community app can’t adequately collect membership data or integrate with a CRM. Managing your members becomes a nightmare when you grow to 50,000 or 100,000 members.
If you plan to monetize your community, then this is a vital concern. Does the community app allow you to receive and process payments? Can you create paid membership plans and offer exclusive content?
Ideally, the best community apps should allow you to accept payment from as many sources as possible. You don’t want to lose members because they couldn’t pay with their preferred platform.
Forums and Messaging
One of the cornerstones of a community is the conversations that the members can have with each other. Does the messaging app allow you to create forums or spaces for discussions between members? More than just allowing you to address your members, you want your community members to have conversations with each other about topics that interest them.
When selecting a community app, check out these features and others and weigh them against your requirements. It might take a lot of work to find the perfect one, but it’s not wasted time. If you choose a community app that’s perfect for you, you’ll reap the benefit for years.
If you own a business, a brand, or an association, then Raklet is perfect for you. It has so many robust features that there’s almost nothing you need that we don’t offer. No matter what you do or how big you are, there’s something for you at Raklet.
If you’d like to learn more about community management, check out these articles below: