Over the years, a lot of our clients have had online courses and membership sites that they use to help their customers. The biggest issues that we have faced time and time again is the best way for them to interact with their audience and allow their audience to interact with each other – a community!

One of our very favorite platforms that we use and often recommend to clients is Kajabi. And for all of the amazing things that Kajabi can do, it’s biggest limitation and points of frustration for us and for clients is their Community product. While technically it works, it’s just never quite what our clients envision for a community and engagement.

Thankfully, a new community platform took off over the last year that goes above and beyond to deliver a community experience – Circle.so.

We’ll dive in with our full review and analysis of the platform, why we are excited about it, and why it’s worth checking out their 14 day free trial!

What Is the Circle.so Online Community Platform?

Circle is a community platform designed for creators who want to gather their community members around their content, engage them in discussions and turn them into paying members. In addition to discussions, members can communicate via direct messaging, too.

With Circle, creators have a chance to build different types of online communities. These include membership, course, product, and coaching communities.

When it comes to discussions, it is possible to organize them in public or private space groups, depending on their nature.

Whenever you create a space group, you can choose different settings to customize it the way you want. For instance, you get to choose whether you allow community members to create spaces, too, or not. When you create private spaces, you can decide whether you’re going to hide them from non-space members. To name a few options.

Features of Circle.so

Circle’s key features include:

  • Custom domain
  • Private spaces (similar to Slack channels)
  • Bulk import/export
  • Zapier Integration
  • Embed Widgets
  • In-app notifications
  • Member profiles and directory
  • Basic moderation
  • Direct messaging 
  • Weekly digest email
  • iOS app

Using Circle to build your community can be a good decision. That is if you take into consideration some of its best features. These primarily include the following:

Integration with your own website

Do you already have a website? If so, you’ll find it convenient to simply integrate your community into your existing site. The Circle platform makes this possible.

Integration with online course platforms

Are you using online course platforms such as Kajabi or Teachable? Circle makes it possible to share your content created on other community platforms with your Circle community. And only with a single sign-on.

Integration with multiple tools

Besides integration with web pages and different community platforms, Circle allows you to integrate multiple handy tools with your community through a single sign-on, and track important analytics, such as the most active members, number of new members, trends, and many more.

Customization to match your branding

You choose your brand colors and add a custom domain that matches your own brand. Your community members don’t even have to notice that they’re on Circle.so and not your own platform.

Once the Circle community is set up, you can add members, set notification settings, and create your community rules and guidelines.

Moreover, Circle offers a range of formatting options for community posts and discussions, along with media and emojis, so you can really jazz up your content and make it engaging.

Create spaces – private and public

Circle is a social media platform that allows for the creation of multiple public and private spaces within one community. This feature is beneficial for coaching communities and communities with various interests or needs. For example, private space can be used for organized discussions among members who wish to keep their conversations confidential. In contrast, public space can be used for announcements or general discussions.

Moreover, you can customize each space group differently, giving members in each space group the ability to see different content, post different types of content, and receive different notifications. This makes it easy to segment your Circle community based on interests, needs, or other criteria.

Connect with your members through live streams, chats, and events

Circle allows you to host live streams and reach hundreds of coaching clients at once. Furthermore, you can invite a co-host, or your members to join you in live group coaching, lessons, and discussions.

Besides live streams, Circle allows you to create events. Once members RSVP to the invitation, the event will be automatically added to their calendars.

Group chats are also another way to promote the interaction between Circle members, and if you want to work on building a more personal connection, you can contact members through direct messages.

You can even reach members outside the group through the weekly email digest, in which you can highlight key events, discussions, and comments from the last week.

Searchable member database within your Circle community

Members can easily find each other in private spaces and online communities through member tags. Moreover, Circle offers a variety of search filters, as well as custom profile fields.

Access to the Private Circle Community for creators

Circle offers multiple benefits to course creators. Firstly, you will get access to group coaching, weekly training, and education, and learn how to create a thriving community, set up an onboarding process, and participate in workshops.

Furthermore, Circle offers office hours, in which every content creator gets exclusive behind-the-scenes access to successful Circle communities, a chance to ask questions, and many valuable tips and tricks.

If this is not enough, you can also participate in different space groups and daily discussions and connect with creators of other Circle communities.

Multiple monetization options

Different types of online communities require different subscriptions. With Circle, you can set up monthly, quarterly, and yearly payments, depending on the content you are creating and selling.

Moreover, you can set up a free trial for new members or special promotions to draw the attention of potential members.

Top 3 Reasons To Use Circle.so For Your Online Community

There are three top reasons to consider Circle for your membership community.

1. Seamless integration with your existing tech stack

If you already have a website or online courses, and if you’re already using multiple tech platforms, Circle integrates very nicely with your existing tech stack. 

2. It’s very customizable, so you can build your community space from the ground up

When you create spaces, you can customize who has access to each of those, change whether they’re displayed in “post,” “list,” or “card” view, control whether members can create new topics, change the way the topics are ordered, and pin topics to the top or sidebar. 

You can also have a blend of a free community on Circle that has private spaces that someone would need to pay to have access to, or a completely free platform on Circle. Every part of the platform is modular so that you can do with it whatever you want.

Circle also lets you choose your colors, add your logo, and use your own custom subdomain so that the experience on the platform feels native to your brand and your products.

3. It’s intuitive, and combines the best of platforms like Slack and Facebook

Circle feels a bit like Slack with “spaces” you can customize similar to Slack Channels. As an admin, you can choose who is in what space, and it’s easy to make spaces public or private. 

It’s not just one long newsfeed, so conversations are easier to join and respond to, without having to be on the platform constantly or having to click through several layers to find the conversation.

Circle has a clean, simple interface that will be very familiar for people who have been a part of a Facebook or Slack group.

Are there any cons to using Circle.so?

The only real downside to Circle.so is the fact that it’s a separate platform that what you’re already using. We like to always take a minimalistic approach for our clients. Limiting the number of products, software, platforms, plugins, etc., that are used always makes for an easier and less complicated business stack for us and our clients. It also saves a lot of money on monthly expenses that I’m sure you know add up quickly!

So while Circle does a great job of integrating with your existing website and course or membership site platform, it’s still another platform to have to integrate.

But at the end of the day, the pros certainly outweigh this one con if you need a true community platform for your community.

Conclusion

I hope this has been a helpful review of the Circle.so community platform. We are definitely excited about the platform and future potential. The Circle.so team and community are also seem really great at moving the company forward, adding new features, and providing great customer support.

Let us know if you have any questions about whether Circle is right for you! We’d love to help. And it’s certainly worth checking out their 14-day free trial!

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