Facebook groups are excellent for coaches that need a fast and free platform to start their community. However, as you grow, you might find Facebook groups aren’t a sufficient solution. Specifically, we’ve heard coaches complain that Facebook groups:
- Difficult to control and moderate
- Privacy issues
- Unpredictable rule changes
- Hosted on one of the most highly distracting sites that exists
So if you’re looking for a community platform that enables you to create a more engaging experience with better control, here’s a list of our favorite Facebook group alternatives.
Most coaches and course creators connect third party community platforms to their courses in an effort to provide more value to their clients.
However, tacking on a third party platform often comes with the following problems:
- It’s one more login for clients to remember (in addition to the course login and other connected platforms)
- Few platforms enable coaches to separate clients into smaller accountability groups
- Forum style feeds often require more stimulation from the coach as shy people get lost
Therefore, we built upcoach to solve these problems. It’s a truly all-in-one platform built on the idea that coaching isn’t just about delivering information – it’s about taking action.
So, in addition to allowing coaches and course creators to host their lesson modules, upcoach’s main focus is creating a community where peers inspire each other to take action on the information consumed. Specifically, its community-focused features include:
- A community forum
- Accountability groups
- Habit trackers (visible to everyone)
- Tasks (visible to everyone)
- Smart Docs (documents that show completion percentages publicly)
By making client progress visible to all course members, each individual feels positive peer pressure to execute the tasks as they know their peers are watching. This also makes the entire course a community experience rather than an individual journey that exists in a vacuum.
Below, we’ll discuss each of these community features in detail.
Community Forum and Accountability Groups
For general discussion, clients can post on the community forum and seek advice from all of their peers.
However, most upcoach users only use it for general announcements and discussion. This is because we’ve found that it can be difficult to engage shy people in community forums, and most community members never take their discussions offline.
In addition, general discussion forums make it difficult for course members to connect with other members in similar situations. For example, you might have a business course that includes a variety of businesses, from ecommerce to agencies.
In that case, creating smaller subgroups for ecommerce business owners to connect would add another level of value to your course.
Therefore, we enable coaches to create smaller subgroups (accountability groups). This way, coaches can pair up like-minded individuals, and they can meet outside of scheduled coaching sessions for accountability sessions.
This way, you as the coach are no longer a bottleneck for growth, and clients can still receive value as they hold each other accountable for their progress.
In addition, shy people typically feel more comfortable engaging in smaller groups.
Many coaches even reported their clients say the majority of the value from the course comes from the other members.
If you want to create accountability groups for your clients, schedule a demo with upcoach to make it happen.
The knowledge your clients obtain from your course is only useful if they put it into action. Therefore, a key component of upcoach is the habit tracker.
Each habit tracker is publicly visible to other members, adding another level of community and positive peer pressure. In addition, the habit tracker is a key element of the accountability sessions, as it makes it easy for members to identify roadblocks and adjust their daily activities to achieve their goals.
There are two different methods to add habits:
- Coaches can program habits to be added automatically after completing a lesson, or
- Coaches and clients can add habits manually
If you want to see for yourself how the habit tracker and other features work, sign up for a demo of upcoach today.
While habits are certainly a key ingredient of change, clients might have one-off tasks that they need to do each week to achieve the next level of growth. This can be anything from filling out a worksheet to sending an important email.
Therefore, upcoach also offers a Tasks section.
Coaches can either program tasks to be added automatically after a lesson is completed, or you and your clients can add tasks manually.
These tasks are listed in the dashboard and visible to everyone in the course to add an additional level of positive peer pressure and accountability.
We also offer a unique worksheet feature called SmartDocs, which is embedded in the course platform. Embedding the worksheet into the platform gives coaches two major advantages:
- Clients can’t make a copy of it and complete it elsewhere, meaning you will always be able to accurately view client progress.
- upcoach can track the exact percentage of each worksheet that has been completed and displays that percent on the task dashboard. This makes it easier for coaches to quickly glance at a single dashboard and view a snapshot of client homework progress.
In addition, creating a Smart Docs worksheet is super easy. You can add bullet points, fill in the blanks, and other elements to create a functional and visually appealing document.
There is also a drive file below the tasks that enables clients to upload other files, like documents, PDFs, audio, video, and more.
CRM With Key Engagement Metrics
The final engagement metric is upcoach’s unique CRM. While most coaching platforms enable you to see basic client bio and contact information in the CRM, upcoach enables you to see a list of every worksheet, task, and habit they are tracking.
This way, you can reach out to clients that become disengaged and offer assistance. By delivering transformational results and helping clients achieve their goals, they’ll be more inclined to tell their friends about your course, leave positive reviews, and even pay more for future courses because they know you will deliver.
Other Helpful Coaching Features
As you can see, upcoach is built around the idea that community and positive peer pressure encourages clients to take action and ultimately increases the likelihood that they will achieve the goals they set at the beginning of your program.
However, you can also perform basic coaching functions in upcoach like hosting your lesson modules, scheduling meetings, chatting with clients through private messages, and more.
You can also design the course with our simple drag and drop editor, which requires zero technical knowledge to use. If you want to build multiple courses, you can even clone aspects of each course and use them in your other courses.
On the client’s end, they can see all of the courses they purchase from you in one dashboard, and everything (from habits and tasks to lesson modules and the accountability groups) is visible in a single scrolling view.
This prevents materials from getting lost and clients from tracking multiple logins.
If you think upcoach might be the right platform for you, sign up for a demo today.
Slack is another Facebook alternative that many people use as a community platform. It enables more control than Facebook groups, as you can create separate channels for different topics. For example, if you have a business coaching program, you can create a thread for hiring, a thread for web development, etc.
Members can also chat directly through DMs, and easily send files and attachments to each other.
In addition, most people know how Slack works, as many use it in their professional career.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using Slack. First, coaches can create smaller groups by creating a group chat between several people, though there isn’t a native subgroup or accountability group feature. This also means they can’t schedule meetings, host them, and store notes from those meetings in a single platform. In other words, it’s essentially a chat feature.
In addition, Slack is yet another login that people have to remember, adding friction to the community. In addition, their support isn’t very responsive, so if a member does have a problem logging in, resolving the issue is cumbersome.
- Many already use slack for work, so most know how to navigate the platform
- Coaches can create threads on specific subtopics
- It’s easy for people to send DMs and connect
- Mobile and desktop versions available
- There isn’t a native small group functionality
- Slack charges per user, making it expensive for larger groups
- You’ll still need to purchase another course platform, meaning you have multiple expenses and clients have multiple logins
- Slack support is less than ideal, so if new members have login issues, you’re at their mercy
Whatsapp is an instant messaging platform that some coaches use to support their communities. It’s typically used similarly to SMS messaging, so it’s ideal for groups that communicate through quick chat messages rather than extended paragraphs (as is common in forums).
Another benefit of WhatsApp is that people around the globe use it, so most course members are already comfortable navigating the platform.
The downside of WhatsApp is that it is nothing more than just a messaging platform. So for more detailed discussions and conversations, you’ll likely need to integrate it with a community platform.
It also does not offer any kind of branding or customization options.
- It’s commonly used around the globe, so international people are usually familiar with it
- It offers group video call functionality
- It’s free to use
- It offers direct and quick communication between group members
- Facebook owns Whatsapp, so you’ll still be controlled by similar regulations and privacy issues
- People have to share their phone numbers, which some members may not be comfortable with
- You’ll likely have to integrate with a forum or other platform for more extended discussions
Circle.so is a community platform built primarily for desktop use. It’s fairly robust, with various tabs for you to create discussions.
You can also monetize different groups, host weekly calls, and even create small groups.
It integrates well with other online course and coaching platforms, though this also means that it’s one more login for your members to remember.
To customize it, you can add your own branding, content, and more.
- Option to create smaller accountability groups
- Monetization options
- Add your own branding
- Advanced moderation controls
- You’ll still have to purchase an online course platform
- There isn’t any ability to track habits or to-dos
- No mobile app
Tribe is another community platform that many course creators use as it integrates well with other course platforms. It offers robust features similar to Circle.so including Spaces (which are essentially categories like “announcements” and “introductions”), Discussion Forums, and even user-generated content sections.
The entire platform is also searchable as you can tag specific discussions and quickly find information on the keyword you search.
For coaches, it’s easy to moderate the platform with keyword blacklists and profanity blockers. It also offers much more detailed security than open platforms like Facebook, which is a definite plus for more advanced coaches.
The downside of Tribe is that it’s significantly more expensive than most community platforms, and the overall layout can be a little bit confusing. If you already have a course platform, clients will likely get lost and become frustrated as they’ll spend more time learning how to use the platforms than learning your material.
- Fully customizable UI
- Offers forums, small groups, and direct chat messages
- Tag discussions to locate at a later date
- Advanced moderation capabilities
- More expensive and advanced than other options
- The layout can be a little overwhelming causing clients to get lost
- There is no mobile app
Discord is a community platform mainly used by gamers, though it is growing in popularity across various industries and many coaches now integrate it with their programs.
It’s similar to Slack in that it’s mostly a messaging platform, and while you can create some accountability groups, that’s not really the main point of the platform.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many moderator features. In addition, it’s difficult to ensure that even your shyest members are speaking up and making the most of the platform.
- Ability to create audio and video calls without sharing private information.
- High quality, 1080p screen sharing option.
- Relatively cheap platform anyone can use
- Sending large files is not possible on the free plan.
- Many people aren’t familiar with the platform.
- It doesn’t offer a way for people to be split into smaller groups
Choosing The Best Facebook Group Alternative
While there isn’t a right or wrong answer, we find that coaches and course creators tacking on a community forum or app are at a disadvantage as their clients have to remember multiple logins and will likely get lost.
So if you want a truly all-in-one coaching platform that offers an integrated community platform, consider upcoach.
You can ensure clients take action on the material they learn by creating accountability groups, which can meet outside of scheduled coaching sessions. During these sessions, they can look at each other’s habit trackers, to-do lists, and worksheets to offer guidance and assistance.
As a result of your clients taking action on the material, they will experience transformational results from your program, which leads to higher NPS scores, referrals, and overall profitability.
If this sounds like the kind of coaching program you want to run, sign up for a demo today.