It’s 2022. The golden era of Facebook groups is over. Gone are the days when starting a Facebook group felt like the only accessible option for building a successful community, team, or business online.
Whether you’re tired of the algorithm wreaking havoc on your group’s engagement or you’re simply no longer interested in having your personal data sold to advertisers, there are numerous reasons to consider building your online community outside of Facebook.
Luckily, there are just as many alternatives to Facebook Groups as there are reasons to leave. In this article, we’ll compare Facebook Groups to Shout’s Group Chat feature, including privacy settings, moderation tools, and messaging functionality.
The Advantage of Facebook Groups
“But wait—I’ve been using my Facebook group for years! I can’t switch!”
One of the only advantages to building a team, business, or community in Facebook groups in 2022 is the familiarity people have with it. Using Facebook’s interface is probably second nature for many of your potential community members, which we have to admit, does make starting a Facebook group seem pretty attractive.
And, you may find yourself thinking: “Literally billions of people use Facebook. My best chance for growth is to be as close to those people as possible, right?”
Not necessarily. The average Facebook post reaches less than 5% of a page or group’s audience. What’s worse, that same post will likely receive less than 1% engagement. (That means that if you build a community of 100 people, only 5 of them will see your posts, and only 1 of them will leave a comment or like.)
While Facebook does provide a major advantage in that your group will be easy for people to join, your audience members will likely have a much harder time staying engaged in the community because they’ll likely never see your posts.
Why Building Your Team/Business/Community in Shout Shouldn’t Be So Scary
If you follow Shout on Instagram, you’ve undoubtedly seen one of our many Reels poking fun at Facebook group admins who haven’t moved their audiences to Shout yet. The reason we post so many of those is: Shout offers many of the same features and functionality of Facebook groups. Don’t believe us?
Let’s break the similarities between Shout Group Chats and Facebook Groups:
- Both Shout and Facebook have built-in moderation tools that make it easy for admins to set guidelines for group posting and privacy. Specifically, both platforms allow admins to start a public, private, or invite-only groups.
- Both Shout and Facebook groups allow admins to set screening questions potential members have to answer before being admitted to the group.
- Both Shout and Facebook groups allow group members to share photos and videos.
- Both Shout and Facebook groups allow admins and members alike to schedule posts in advance.
- Both Shout and Facebook allow any user to create a group. Users don’t need to have a certain amount of friends or have a specific type of account to create a group.
The biggest differences between Shout’s Group Chat feature and Facebook groups is Facebook allows group admins to create events for the group, as well as add badges to group members who are experts in that community.
The Advantages of Shout Group Chat
Now that you’re (hopefully) feeling a little less intimidated at the thought of using Shout to build your online business or community, let’s talk about even more advantages to using Shout’s group chat feature to grow.
Remember that depressing statistic we shared earlier? You can thank Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm for poor reach and even poorer engagement rates. The good news is, chat apps like Shout don’t believe in algorithms. We believe when you post an update, your audience should actually see it.
That’s why we’ve built Shout Group Chats to be completely algorithm-free and shadow ban-free so you can keep your community up-to-date and engaged.
But you may be wondering: how does having no algorithm really impact the group experience? Here’s how:
- Shout group members receive a push notification every time someone posts in the group chat. That doesn’t happen in Facebook groups unless a user specifically turns on notifications (good luck getting anyone to do that!).
- Posts in Facebook groups are arranged differently for every user, based on how the algorithm tailors content to that specific person. That means every group member will have a different experience when they land inside of the group. Shout group chats, on the other hand, are all arranged chronologically.
Facebook recently rolled out community chats, which are an extension of Facebook Groups. They allow group admins and moderators to start real-time conversations with members of that group. While this may seem like an exciting new feature that could help with member engagement, it may not be the most attractive option for community growth if you’re concerned about keeping your conversations private.
According to Facebook, community chats “are not private because they can be found and seen by people not in the chat, including Meta. You cannot determine who participates in community chats or who sees the content of community chats. If a community chat is part of a private Facebook group, current and future members can find and see the chat name, and in some cases, the chat content.”
Shout Group Chats, on the other hand, are private. The messages contained within them are not accessible outside of Shout. The only way to access a group chat from outside of Shout is via a public page, which is a totally optional feature that enables search engines to crawl basic information about your chat, but not group members or message content.
Longer Chat History
In addition to more comprehensive privacy settings, Shout also retains chat history for the duration the group chat exists. Facebook group community chats, on the other hand, only retain messages and media for 90 days. If you plan to use chat for things like onboarding or orders, you may want those older messages.
Better Content Sharing
While both Shout and Facebook allow group admins and members to share content, Facebook’s group media library is less comprehensive than Shout’s. Shout allows group admins to attach Shout Folders to the group, making it easier for group members to find the content they’re looking for.
Own Your Audience
Shout empowers group chat admins to own their audience data. That means you can access group members’ email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and more information if the group member has made that information public. Facebook does not allow group admins to own any aspect of their audience’s data, which means that if Facebook ever disappears, you’ll lose access to your community entirely.
World-Class Customer Support
Shout is known among its users as offering world-class customer support. Shout support is available at virtually any time of day or night via direct message in the Shout app.
Facebook’s customer support, simply put, does not offer that level of access or assistance.
To read more about why you shouldn’t rely on social media to build your audience, check out this blog post.
Best of All: You Can Have Both
Not quite sold on leaving Facebook just yet? You can still use Shout to grow your business. Whether you run groups in both Shout and Facebook, or you use Shout's text alerts to notify your followers of new posts in the Facebook group, Shout has the tools you need to connect and grow.
Powerful Tools Included With Every Shout Account
Shout includes a powerful set of tools with every account, including:
- Free, unlimited Shout-to-Shout messaging
- Community Pages so you can supplement or replace your Facebook Groups for team management
- Messaging automations, including bots and drip campaigns
- Orders and Invoices dashboard
- Shipping dashboard
- Chat Plugins for your website