Is Circle the best online community platform for digital courses and online businesses? In my opinion, it definitely is! But don't just take my word for it – here's why I think Circle is a great choice for anyone looking to build a powerful online community.
First and foremost, Circle is incredibly user-friendly. The interface is sleek and easy to navigate, so you can get up and running quickly without any hassle. And since everything is hosted in one place, there's no need to worry about integration or compatibility issues.
Second, Circle is extremely customizable. You can tailor every aspect of your community to fit your unique needs and preferences. This means you can create the exact type of community you want, with all the features and functionality you need.
Finally, Circle offers top-notch support services. If you ever have any questions or run into any problems, the team at Circle is always happy to help!
Let's get into it.
*I have been compensated by CircleCo, Inc. for writing this blog post. But as always, all opinions and editorial decisions are my own. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I use myself and genuinely love. You can read my full disclaimer here.
What exactly is Circle?
Circle an online community platform. It “[b]ring[s] together engaging discussions, members, live streams, chat, events, and memberships — all in one place, all under your own brand.” (Circle.so).
First, it's a community management platform. You can create a private community–for a course, or anything else–allow community members to join and discuss…whatever. You can make your community whatever you want it to be.
It's also a community builder. With all of Circle's engagement features, your online community can really be a thriving community in new ways. (And there's no Facebook algorithm blocking your posts from being seen).
On top of that, Circle also integrates with other online course platforms like Teachable and Thinkific, so you can use it to build and manage your online courses.
Circle is really poised to be the best online community platform for online courses, especially as a Facebook group alternative.
What community-building features does Circle have?
Circle has a lot of features, including:
- “Spaces,” which are basically like topic-specific message boards
- Add images, emojis, gifs, and more to your posts
- The ability to like and comment on other people's posts
- Private DMs with one or more group members
- Livestreaming, similar to Facebook Live, which makes it a good Facebook group alternative
- Community experience analytics, so you can track how your online community is doing
- A “Kudos” feature, which allows members to give each other shout-outs for being helpful or participating in the community
- Integration with online course platforms like Teachable and Thinkific
- Badges and leaderboards to encourage community involvement
- Community experience
Circle “spaces” are basically like topic-specific message boards.
They can be used to discuss anything from online courses to online businesses, and beyond! You can use them to engage with other members of your online community, share resources, ask questions, and more.
Plus, with the ability to add images, emojis, gifs, and more to your posts, you can really make your space your own!
Private messaging and group messaging on Circle
Circle offers both private and group messaging options.
With private messaging, you can chat one-on-one with another member of your online community. This is a great way to get to know someone better or discuss something in more detail.
Group messaging, on the other hand, allows you to chat with multiple members of your online community at once. This is perfect for larger discussions or if you want to connect with multiple people at once.
Livestream videos on Circle
Circle also offers livestreaming, similar to Facebook Live.
This is a great way to engage with your online community in real-time!
You can use it to host live Q&As, share important announcements, and more.
Plus, with the ability to save your livestreams, you can create a library of content for your online community to access anytime, anywhere.
User profiles on Circle
Circle offers user profiles, similar to Facebook.
On your profile, you can share information about yourself, your online courses, your online businesses, and more.
You can also connect with other members of your online community and add them to your “circle” of friends.
Plus, with the ability to upload images and videos, you can really make your profile your own!
personalized activity feed
Circle also has a personalized activity feed, similar to Facebook's News Feed.
This is a great way to stay up-to-date on what's happening in your online community and see what other members are talking about.
Circle also offers notifications. With notifications, you can stay up-to-date on what's happening in your online community and see when someone has interacted with you (e.g., liked your post, commented on your post, etc.).
Circle also offers a search function. With the search function, you can easily find members of your online community, online courses, online businesses, and more. Plus, with the ability to filter your results, you can narrow down your search to find exactly what you're looking for.
weekly digest emails
In addition to notifications, Circle also offers weekly digest emails.
With these emails, you can stay up-to-date on what's happening in your online community without having to log in. This is a great way to stay informed without being inundated with information.
(And, you can always choose to opt-out of these emails if you prefer not to receive them).
What are the pros and cons of Circle?
Circle's pros include:
- User-friendly interface
- Highly customizable
- Excellent support services
- Community management features
- Community building features
Circle's cons include:
- Some users have reported occasional glitches
- Some users find the pricing structure to be confusing
How does Circle work for online courses?
Circle can be a great Facebook group alternative if you want a community for your online course, but don't want to be on the Facebook platform.
I host the student community for my course, Break Into Blogging, on Circle and it's worked out well.
How does Circle compare to private Facebook groups?
So, how does Circle compare to Facebook Groups?
Well, there are both pros and cons to each platform.
For example, Circle is more user-friendly and customizable than Facebook Groups.
However, FB Groups have a larger reach due to the fact that they're part of the world's largest social network. But on the other hand, the Facebook algorithm can prevent your group's content from being seen by its members.
Ultimately, the best online community platform for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for a user-friendly and customizable platform, Circle is definitely worth checking out!
Can you use your own branding on Circle?
You can definitely use your own brand on Circle.
In fact, Circle was designed to be highly customizable. You can add your own logo, color scheme, and more. Plus, with the ability to create custom pages and sections, you can really make your online community your own.
For example, in my course Circle community, I've added my own logo, and made my own list of “Spaces” complete with emojis to give them a little character.
What are some alternatives to Circle?
If you're not sold on Circle, there are plenty of other online community platforms out there to choose from. Here are a few popular alternatives:
– Facebook Groups: While Facebook Groups can be a great way to build an online community, they also come with a few downsides. For one, posts in Facebook Groups are often blocked from being seen by the algorithm, so members may not actually see your content unless they're actively scrolling through the group. Additionally, groups can be difficult to manage and moderate, as there is no built-in community management system.
– Slack: Slack is a popular online chat platform that can be used for online communities. However, it lacks some of the community management and building features that Circle offers, so it may not be the best option if you're looking to really grow and nurture your online community.
– Discord: Discord is another online chat platform that's popular among gamers. However, like Slack, it lacks some of the features that would make it ideal for online communities. Additionally, its interface can be confusing and difficult to navigate for some users.
At the end of the day, the best online community platform for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for a user-friendly, customizable, and feature-rich online community platform, Circle is definitely worth checking out!
Does Circle have a good mobile app?
Yes, Circle has a mobile app for both iOS and Android.
How much does Circle cost?
Circle has several affordable options.
Does Circle offer a free trial?
All Circle plans come with a 14-day free trial, so you can try it out before putting any money down.
Circle's Basic Plan costs $39 per month, and includes:
- Engaging discussions
- Rich member profiles
- Unlimited events
- Group chats & private messaging
- Private messaging
- iOS app
- Accept payments with Paywalls
- Custom domain
- Access to Circle's own private customer community, workshops, trainings
Circle's Professional Plan costs $99 per month, and comes with everything in Basic, plus:
- Live streams & video
- Remove Circle branding
- Advanced analytics
- API Access
- Custom Single Sign-on available
- CSS customization
Circle's Enterprise Plan costs $399 per month and is meant for larger businesses. It includes all the features of the Professional Plan, plus:
- Custom Single Sign-on (SSO)
- Concierge onboarding
- Priority email support
- Email white-labeling
- 30-minute strategy kickoff call
- Dedicated customer success manager
- Easy payments migration
- API access
- Webhooks (Coming soon)
- Custom profile fields (Coming soon)
- Early access to all beta features
- Sandbox environment
Answers to some Circle FAQs
Is Circle a course platform?
No, Circle is not a course platform. While you can use it to promote and sell your courses, it is not designed to host or deliver online courses.
Does Circle have good customer support?
Yes, Circle has great customer support.
If you ever have any questions or need help, you can easily contact their support team.
does circle have any native integrations?
Yes, Circle has lots of native integrations. For example, you can integrate with Slack to receive notifications in your Slack channel. You can also integrate with Zapier to automate tasks. You can also integrate with course platforms like Teachable to make Circle even more accessible to your students.
There are lots of other integrations too.
Can you embed Circle onto your site?
Yes. Circle offers both a pop-up widget and the ability to embed a space into a webpage. You can read more details here.
can you use circle as a paid community?
Yes, you can use Circle as a paid community! With the ability to create subscription-based memberships, you can easily charge for access to your online community. Plus, with the ability to add content restrictions, you can ensure that only paying members have access to your exclusive content.
So there you have it! If you’re looking for an online course platform that is easy to use, promotes conversation and engagement, and just generally helps your business or brand thrive, then Circle is the answer.
Have you tried Circle out yet? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about your experiences on the platform.
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