Business, Comparison

May 26, 2023

Why I stopped using Facebook Groups for my Group Programs

I recently posted a reel sharing that I stopped using Facebook groups to host the community and support for my paid programs. Since then, I’ve had some people message me asking why I did it and which tools would I recommend replacing it.

In this post, I’m going to share:

  • Why I stopped using Facebook groups
  • Which tools I considered
  • Which tool I ended up using

Let’s jump into it.

Why I stopped using Facebook groups

I want to start by saying that Facebook groups aren’t bad, I still use them in various ways, especially as a member. Being a part of various groups has been super helpful when it came to wedding planning tips, selling stuff online in my local area, or just connecting with people about topics I’m interested in.

And for many, many years (read: since 2015) I’ve been using Facebook groups to host my programs.

How it looked:

  • Option #1: I’d host the entire program in the Facebook group, including live trainings, community, replays, and calendar.
  • Option #2: I’d host the curriculum on a course hosting platform, then run community, calls, or replays in the Facebook group.

It worked pretty well for a while, until… I started having issues.

Issue #1: I stopped receiving notifications predictably

When my clients would comment or tag me, I only received those notifications from Facebook like 50% of the time. Not sure why, I had all the settings correct. But yet, it didn’t always notify me when a client needed help. I also would sometimes receive a notification, but it would lead to nowhere. So, pretty annoying.

Issue #2: Comments wouldn’t always show

I used to host these weekly office hours where I’d be online for an hour and answer questions from people during that time, in real-time. So I loved doing it, UNTIL comments wouldn’t freaking show up properly! It started getting so frustrating. First of all, the comments wouldn’t show up in the right order… even if I would try sorting them. Sometimes the comments wouldn’t even show up at all, even though I knew there were additional comments there. It was just not helpful when running this type of feature.

Issue #3: A growing number of clients not using Facebook anymore

Since I began running the majority of my paid advertising on Instagram rather than Facebook, I began seeing more and more people coming into my world who flat-out told me they no longer used Facebook. So any program that included a Facebook group would be a no-no.

Issue #4: Getting hacked, flagged, or booted

Now this isn’t an issue I personally had, thankfully, but I had many clients and friends who experienced it. Randomly, for no reason seemingly at all, Facebook would ban someone’s account or flag them from being able to post at all for like a week. We call it “getting put in Facebook jail” and can happen when you post too much or comment to quickly.

I’ve also had clients get hacked, where their Facebooks were no longer available at all for a long time. Now that freaked me out. I have people who are PAYING to be in a container with me, and I might NOT be able to support them or deliver on what I promised BECAUSE of Facebook? Heck no.

So, I decided to commit to using something else.

I had a few concerns I’d heard from people though:

  • “But Facebook is where people already hang out, so isn’t it easier to just run the group there?”
  • “Wouldn’t people forget about the community if it’s not on Facebook?”

Honestly, super fair points. And it’s very possible. I’ve definitely been one of those people who signed up for a program that did not have a Facebook group for community and I DID forget about its existence. It happens.

But I also have signed up for some programs without a Facebook group and I made the EFFORT to make use of the community, despite it being off Facebook. Because I cared enough about it, so I made it work. 🤷🏻‍♀️

So really – if people care enough about your program, if your program is really GOOD, and it’s truly desirable, they will show up. As long as it’s not super complicated or something – those who care (and are PAYING) will make it work.

Paying members – that’s the key word. I definitely noticed those who are free members, don’t have skin in the game so they might not show up. The same goes for people who pay very little. So, just – be mindful of that.

Which tools I considered for switching

There are loads of options for platforms to host your communities for your programs, you just have to pick one and run with it. Here are the few I considered:

  • Slack – this is an app that’s mostly for team messaging. I was in a program that used it and kinda liked it because I already had the app, but even though the program was really big, it felt kind of dead. Plus, there was no visuals, no videos, I didn’t see how I could send automatic reminders or a calendar. Plus, when I asked my clients, most said they didn’t use Slack.
  • WhatsApp – I had a client or two who used this for their group program but I never liked the fact that it was connected to my phone number. My personal phone number is for personal life, and I have very strong boundaries around that. So, I didn’t feel right with using this as the option.
  • Discord – I’m in a few groups on Discord, but honestly, I always found it extremely confusing. It’s like a complicated version of Slack lol. And if I’m confused, being someone whos’ fairly techy, my non-techy clients would probably want to rip their hair out trying to make it work.
  • Telegram – I’m in one or two but it’s been really hard to keep up with conversations since it’s just one stream of messages back and forth. I feel like maybe it’s great for friends or small group masterminds, but not for the type of experience I was looking for, which has a lot of hands-on support from me.
  • MightyNetworks – I was in one of those but I kept forgetting I was in it, no idea why. Maybe the program just wasn’t interesting enough, but I don’t know. It also didn’t look all that pretty.

So what I decided to go with is another recommended tool that I saw some of my colleagues had switched to already – Circle.

My recommended tool today

So, I started using Circle as a trial run in October when I started running my newest group program, Evergreen Icon.

I was hesitant but hopeful.

Circle communities can be organized into spaces

I didn’t have a lot of requirements for my community.

  • I didn’t care about processing payments because I already had a tool for that (although it is included in Circle)
  • I didn’t care about course hosting because I also already had a tool I liked for that (although it is also included in Circle)

What I did care about:

  • Being able to have a community that looks pretty and feels intuitive
  • Having the ability to select a chat option or feed option for the style
  • The fact that Circle looks and feels very similar to Facebook groups so there’s less of a learning curve
  • Being able to AUTOMATICALLY remove members when they are done with their program payments (which can be accomplished with Zapier, something I could not do with Facebook groups and always had to do it manually which was a pain).

Thankfully Circle does all of it and more.

Sign up for Circle’s 14-day free trial here

I’ve been using Circle for Evergreen Icon for 7-8 months and I’m happy so far. My clients are using it, they’re clear about how to use it, and I don’t have an issue in terms of engagement. Why? I’m guessing because the offer is actually good and it’s how they can get the support (and we provide lots of it!).

Here’s how we use Circle right now for the program:

Step 1. I created a Space Group for Evergreen Icon clients, which comprises of various sections to keep conversations and requests relevant to the topic of focus.

Step 2. I have two levels for the program – Evergreen Icon and Evergreen Icon LITE. So each of the spaces are available based on the person’s level of access. LITE members don’t get access to 1:1 critiques and paid ads support.

I keep track of it based on tags.  I created two tags for the program and I was able to select which spaces to give access to depending on which tag the member has.

So what I did is I created invitation links – and each level of client received a different invitation link that tags them (and provides them with access) appropriately.

Step 3. I share the correct invitation link with each new client who signs up for the program. We share the link with them on the Thank You page (or confirmation page) after their purchase as well as their welcome emails.

The client clicks, creates an account, and gets access. We also require they use the same email they did when enrolling.

We tried doing this through Zapier but we didn’t have good results. People wouldn’t receive emails inviting them to join Circle for some reason so the invitation link route has worked best.

Step 4. When the client’s access expires, we have a Zapier automation set up that removes their access from the Circle community automatically, this is triggered through ActiveCampaign. Easy peasy.

Sign up for Circle’s 14-day free trial here

So far, I’m happy with the platform. It does more than I’d expect.

If you try it out, let me know – the links above are affiliate links and I will appreciate it if you used them when signing up for the free trial. Thank you <3

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