When the idea for The Planner’s Playbook – an educational community for wedding planners – came to mind, I faced a crucial decision. Where should I host this online community? For many, Facebook Groups are a default choice; it's familiar, almost everyone has an account, and it has a range of useful features. But a Facebook Group didn't feel right to me. I wanted something more unique and tailored to my needs. In this article, I will share my experience over the last 20 months using a platform called Circle.co for my community – and give you an honest review of my experience! I'm sure you're also wondering if you should host your community on Circle.co vs. a Facebook Group, and I hope that by the end of this article, you'll have all the answers you need to make that decision!
As a coach for wedding planners and pros, I understand the importance of staying organized and on top of things to make sure weddings go off without a hitch. That’s why creating The Planner’s Playbook – an educational community for wedding planners – was so important to me. But as I mentioned, finding the right platform and building out my online home were two challenges I had to address before I could launch.
After extensive research, I decided that Circle was the best option for my community's needs.
The Benefits of Using Circle.co Over Facebook Groups
When comparing Circle versus Facebook groups to empower my online community, there were many factors that I had to consider. The first was the ease of use: Facebook groups can be difficult to manage and organize effectively, especially if you’re expecting a lot of members. With Circle, however, everything is laid out in an easy-to-navigate platform that makes it simple for new members to join the conversation and stay organized with tasks and conversations all in one place.
The second factor was the atmosphere I desired for my community. I find that the general ‘vibe' on Facebook can be SO negative. People bring a lot of baggage with them on Facebook, and I didn't want that to affect my community. With Circle.co, I've been able to create a safe environment for members to come together and talk business, connect, ask questions, and relate to one another.
Third, with so many people leaving Facebook, I also needed to think about usability. Should I really build my community on a foundation that people are running away from?
I'm sure you've seen popular Facebook Groups go silent over the last several years. Once bustling communities are now filled with an occasional post that gets no replies. It's sad, really.
I wanted something different for my community – and Circle.co has delivered. I was worried that my members wouldn't want to adapt to a new space, but the majority of them embraced and preferred having our community OFF of Facebook. One of their biggest compliments is that they're able to come inside the community and connect without the distractions of Facebook pulling them away.
Circle.co has made it easy to build my community on a platform that my members love! Ready to check it out for yourself? Click here to start a free 14-day trial of Circle and build your community!
Now, let's talk about some of the features that Circle offers and how I use them in my community…
Circle.co Review First Impressions & Pricing
Let's start off this Circle.co review with first impressions. Circle's interface immediately caught my eye. It was sleek, well-designed, and user-friendly. They're also very committed to improving and evolving the platform, which I've witnessed firsthand over the last 20 months.
One of the significant concerns for anyone considering a platform for their online community is pricing. Circle offers a clear and straightforward pricing structure, catering to different budgets and requirements.
The four pricing tiers are:
- Basic Plan: $49/month, an ideal starting point for smaller communities.
- Professional Plan: $99/month, offering more features for growing communities.
- Business Plan: $249/month ($199/month with early bird pricing), perfect for businesses aiming to scale.
- Enterprise Plan: $399/month, tailored for large organizations with comprehensive requirements.
Each pricing tier offers more features and capabilities, providing the flexibility to upgrade as your community grows. I'm currently on the business plan and love it!
Workflows and Automations in Circle
The next feature I want to share with you in this Circle.co review is all about their workflows and automations. One of the most exciting NEWER features Circle has introduced is workflows and automations. In the Planner's Playbook community, the ability to automate actions and set triggers based on user behavior has been a game-changer.
For example, when a new member joins, we have automated messages to guide them around the platform, introduce them to various threads, and prompt them to interact. These workflows helped create a sense of belonging, contributing to increased member engagement.
Checkout and Payment Features
As a community with educational resources for purchase, having integrated checkout and payment features was a must. Circle checks this box brilliantly.
The seamless payment process, integrated directly within the community, contributes to a smooth user experience. This feature supports various payment methods, enabling easy transactions for our global members. The checkout feature allows for one-time payments, subscriptions, and even free trials, allowing us to offer a range of purchasing options.
Hosting Courses on Circle
We can't have a Circle.co review without talking about how you can now host your courses right on Circle! Perhaps the most significant benefit for The Planner’s Playbook was the ability to host our courses directly within our Circle community.
By keeping everything in one place, we reduced the need for multiple platforms and streamlined the user experience. Our members can access course materials, engage in discussion, and track their progress, all within the same platform. The convenience factor alone has been met with enthusiastic feedback from our community members.
Additionally, the ability to structure content within our Circle community has helped us curate learning pathways for different levels of expertise. The easy-to-navigate format, coupled with Circle's robust content management system, has made managing our educational resources a breeze.
Going Live on Circle
Another standout feature I want to talk about in this Circle.co review that has supercharged our community is the ability to go live. I can now host real-time interactive sessions, webinars, and events directly on our platform, giving members an immersive and engaging experience. This feature has been a massive win for us at The Planner's Playbook, as it has not only made teaching more dynamic and immediate but also fostered a more connected and vibrant community. The live chat function during these sessions allows members to ask questions, comment, and engage directly with me and with each other. It's like having a live conference right on our platform!
I feel like that's pretty much the ONLY benefit people were hanging on to with Facebook Groups – and now Circle.co has found a way for us to go live in our communities. Another win for Circle in the Circle.co vs. Facebook Group debate!
The Circle.co Advantage – Circle vs. Facebook
Hosting The Planner's Playbook on Circle has been a rewarding experience. The platform's unique features, coupled with its intuitive design, have fostered a thriving community. Circle’s innovative tools, like workflows and automations, make it easier to manage and grow the community.
The checkout and payment features simplified our sales process and made it easier for members to access resources. Hosting our courses directly within our community was the icing on the cake, providing a seamless user experience that traditional social media platforms couldn't offer.
While Facebook Groups might have the advantage of a massive user base, it lacks the customization, robust features, and unique experience that Circle provides. The diverse pricing tiers make Circle an accessible option for anyone looking to create an engaging online community.
The decision to host The Planner's Playbook on Circle.co has been one of the best choices I’ve made.
It's not just a community platform – it's a comprehensive solution for those looking to build, manage, and grow a thriving online community. From its attractive pricing tiers to the ability to host courses directly, Circle provides an experience that’s a notch above the rest.
If you're on the fence about which platform to choose for your online community, I can't recommend Circle enough. It has transformed The Planner's Playbook into a vibrant, interactive, and easily managed community that continues to flourish.
Whether you're an entrepreneur, an educator, or anyone with an idea to share, Circle.co could be the platform that elevates your vision. Don't just take my word for it – try it for yourself. Click here to start a free 14-day trial of Circle and build your community! I hope you've enjoyed this Circle.co review and my experience using this platform to grow my community and business.
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