Tribe.so (Tribe for short) is a cloud-based community platform that allows you to create your own private or public stand-alone community by utilizing a variety of powerful engagement and retention tools.
Let's walk through this platform together as I identify why I think Tribe is one of the best solutions out there for a community or group.
Escaping Facebook Groups
Facebook groups can be enormously successful, powerful tools. But all that accessibility comes at a pretty steep price that some (like me) just aren't willing to pay.
On Facebook you don't own your data; Facebook does. You have zero control of the ads that are shown to your community, meaning your competitors are using your group to reach your audience. And one of my least favorite things: Your community is easily distracted when on Facebook because Facebook purposefully tries to engage people on their platform to do more than just participate in your group.
Comprehensive Total Control of Your Data
On Tribe, you have total control of your data with detailed, granular analytics on everything you could want. Need more? Tribe integrates with all sorts of 3rd-party applications as well as Zapier to extend that integration.
Control User Distractions
You have complete control over the groups, topics, and content inside your community. If you choose to implement ads, they'll be the ads YOU want to show your community (and ones you'll be paid for, not Facebook). You can choose to add multiple sub-groups, or even
Avoid the Logistics of a Self-Hosted / Custom Solution
This was a huge hurdle for me when I decided to avoid putting my community group on Facebook. Most alternatives (like bbpress) are self-hosted. I ran my own forums for ten years, and it was seriously a lot of work to maintain the user database, thwart spam, avoid security vulnerabilities, and host that juggernaut. You can avoid all of that on Tribe.
Tribe is cloud-hosted and completely white-labeled so that you don't have to worry about any of the logistics of maintaining software. You get to focus entirely on growing and managing your community. Part of the current lifetime deal on appsumo gives you the ability to remove all Tribe branding and have a custom CNAME (meaning you can have community.yourdomain.com).
Variety of Content Options
In Facebook groups you technically have one type of content: a "post" or message. While you can include a video, website links, or image, and polls it's still all generally classified the same. In Tribe there are completely separate types of content that you can use, and as an admin you control who can use what type of content. Here's a breakdown of the content types:
Question and Answer
This special content type allows your users to ask a question then request answers from the community. A best answer can be chosen or highlighted, and your users can vote (like up-voting) answers they felt were extra helpful. Duplicate questions can also be merged by an admin so that you don't have a community full of the same questions over and over.
Discussions remind me of the typical Facebook style of content. These promote ongoing dialogue back and forth between members. There are nested replies (chronological order) and users can 'like' a reply.
Similar to a discussion, users can include images, photos, etc., and even reply but it's meant to be a shorter initial post with shorter replies from users. Unlike in discussions, users can not reply to each other from within the post. This is more of a 'status update' or posting something quick that's 'on your mind'.
I find this almost identical to discussions. I think it's meant to simply be a much longer-form type of content. In my community, I have disabled this content type for my general users as I do not think it necessary.
Customize How Your Community Looks
Tribe comes with simple theme options to alter colors of buttons, headers, etc. You can upload your own images and use emojis for topics and things. Where the real power comes in is from CSS. Tribe allows you complete access to customize the entire platform with CSS however you see fit (or capable).
I like this capability to customize. In Facebook groups (and many platforms) you're stuck with the way they designed it.
Custom Messages to the Community
You have the ability to add static, custom messages to your community right at the top of the home section. This area can contain images (aligned or cover), buttons, and content.To me the messages are great for announcements or calls-to-action. Maybe you just launched a new course and you want your community to go sign up. This would be a great spot to showcase.
Something that's really important to me is helping people find answers to their questions. Most of my visitors go to Google and search for something like "how to get Thrive Leads to work with Gravity Forms," and my website appears. If I'm going to build a community, I want people's public questions to be indexable in search too.
Facebook groups simply do not index well in Google. Tribe indexes extremely well, and they have an SEO addon (included in the Lifetime deal) that allows you to control the meta data of just about everything. You should have no problem at all getting your quality content to rank.
I'm usually not one who cares about giving people points for answering questions or implementing these little token systems that keep some personalities engaged. While all of those things are in Tribe, I personally don't care about them. HOWEVER... what I like is that you can use these as a virtual currency to reward your members and allow them to redeem them for things.
There's a virtual currency addon that lets you specifically set rewards (like a bounty) for answering a specific question.
I imagine that I might use a system like this to make some of the paid templates and things I plan to release in the future available to my community members at no cost other than their participation in providing the value of knowledge and participation.
Embed Your Group Elsewhere
Though engaging people within the community interface itself is important, I love this feature Tribe has to "widgetize" components of the platform. You can embed topics, groups, users, notifications, answers, posts, or even the home section of the platform. Check out this link in their community support to see details about how it works and what you can embed.
The iframe above was implemented using nothing more than the link from my new community along with two simple parameters to tell it to only show the question and the answers. There are plenty of other options to embed, giving you the ability to integrate your community into apps, other websites, and more.
There are plenty of other things I glossed over such as a robust 3rd-party library of integrations and so much more, but the reasons and overview I gave above are sufficient for me. I've chosen Tribe for my Convology Community where I will provide guidance for Thrive Themes plugins and help people find solutions to their digital tech questions.
I definitely recommend Tribe.so (lifetime deal on Appsumo) as a solid cloud-hosted community platform. If you have any questions, I bought the platform myself and have already begun to integrate it here. I'm happy to point you in the right direction.
P.S. I'm evening using Tribe to start a private group for a Thrive Themes Mastermind where advanced users can teach, learn, and grow together.