With all the changes happening in Facebook, people complaining about poor group interactions and reduced engagement, as well as major changes within Facebook itself – there appears to be a lot of people saying that online communities are not working. Now the first thing to say is that Facebook doesn’t owe you anything.
They provide you with free tools to allow you to carry out things we never thought possible a few years ago.
I also never thought it The Zuck’s goal to make this platform enable people to make a shit ton of money without him. 🙂
If you’re building your house on someone else’s land, be prepared to lose it at some point.
All that said, communities online have been around much longer than Facebook and here are a couple of ideas to build your OWN group platform without Facebook.
Forums were the first community software solutions online, and some of them still offer fantastic community building facilities. Take a look at phpBB (https://www.phpbb.com/) or buddyPress (https://buddypress.org/) – which is free add-on for WordPress.
There are a number of group community software tools out there that can let you build and host your own Group. Ning (https://www.ning.com/features/) is one that predates Facebook Groups and offers a wealth of options from ad-supported free options to a fully blown branded community.
Talking about WordPress, you can use BuddyPress (https://buddypress.org/) as part of any theme so any site can have built into your members areas and community. You can also combine it with other plugins to round out the same functionality you had within Facebook groups.
Take a look at Profilegrid (https://profilegrid.co/) – this allows you to easily build out groups, subgroups, and much more with their extensions.
As you can see, you don’t have to rely on Facebook to run your group. In fact, you would be better investigating options now to take your group off a platform you don’t own so you can control it and make sure nothing impacts on the groups’ functionality or your revenue.