Messaging apps and community platforms both perform the same role, they give a safe and secure online space where your members can interact with each other, share knowledge, help each other, and create valuable personal and professional networks.
But which one do you believe is the best? This is still an ongoing debate among community builders.
Messaging apps have begun to dominate the social media world. They help you to send instant texts and pictures.
Let’s compare messaging apps with community platforms and check out which is better!
A program that allows users to communicate with each other instantaneously using typed messages or pictures is a messaging app. Many chat apps offer messaging services that have doubled their game on the security and privacy fronts by using end-to-end encryption.
End-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Therefore, messaging apps are quite secure to use.
Messaging apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Discord, Signal, and Telegram are great to build communities and have some of the fastest-growing communities today.
Top messaging apps to build a community;
One of the best messaging apps on the market, Slack allows both public and private messaging and has a lot of integrations, for everything from social media and GIFs to value-added business services. Slack helps you break down barriers between you and your work partners and share updates and communicate about work.
Discord is one of the best places that let you make a home with your family and friends. Users communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media, files, and a lot more. Discord is one of the most popular socializing apps and is free to use.
Discord offers some advanced features that make your server more similar to online communities than simple chat rooms, including real-time audio and video conversations, custom emoji, and custom roles that distinguish users and what not!
Microsoft Teams is a persistent chat-based collaboration platform complete with document sharing, online meetings, and many more extremely useful features for business communications. All team members can view and add to different conversations in the General channel and can use an @ function to invite other members to different conversations, not unlike Slack. Microsoft Teams lets you schedule voice and video meetings with specific participants within a channel.
A community platform is an online space where a group of people come together as a community to hold discussions, share posts, and interact with each other.
The best community platform is customizable, uses modern designs, is easy to use, and comes with powerful moderation capabilities. Community platforms can help you connect your audiences, customers, partners, and employees under your brand to build authentic relationships.
Brands are turning to online communities to engage customers and build customer loyalty.
Online community platforms can be of many types, few are listed below.
Now that we know what are messaging apps and community platforms, let’s compare them both and help community builders select the right solution.
When it comes to organizing knowledge, in messaging apps when a member wants to explore a post, it would be hard for him to attain all the information. A well-organized Knowledge Base will make for both happy support agents and happy customers because nobody enjoys wasting time looking for answers.
Platform communities offer a robust tool to organize all the content generated in the community. You can create topics inside a community and each of those topics would have a specific post or link where people can explore the post and hold discussions.
The pricing of slack is $US6.67 per active user per month billed annually. Or $US8 per active user per month billed monthly. Whether you choose a freemium or a paid plan, Slack won’t let its users compromise with security. For an added security layer, all Slack users can turn on 2FA for their Slack account.
Community platforms are generally priced based on the number of pageviews, storage, registered or active members.
Messaging apps offer synchronous and real-time community whereas, community platforms are asynchronous.
Synchronous communications are scheduled in real-time interactions by phone, video, or in-person. Asynchronous communication happens on your own time and doesn’t need scheduling. Under asynchronous communications, members do not have any fixed time for events. Members of a community should be able to log in after a week a discussion has started and still have access to all the information in a structured manner.
In Messaging apps, all the knowledge shared and communications between members are lost with time. Messaging apps are mostly used for synchronous and real-time communication. So, when you are building a community ensure that the knowledge generated by your members remains useful to the members for a long time.
In community platforms, the communication and posts shared might last and stay a little longer than the ones shared on messaging apps. When a thread is completely outdated community admins can close the discussion, but the content will remain accessible.
If you want people to know more about your community, make sure you always use a platform community to build your space. Messaging apps keep your content locked and search engines don’t have any access to them.
When your content gets recognized by search engines, your community visibility increases. This in turn helps you build a stronger community.
Community platforms are a better place to build communities as they are specially designed for robust and asynchronous communication and collaboration to store valuable knowledge over a longer period. Messaging apps are good at holding your community’s privacy but they do not help you when it comes to SEO analysis.
Messaging apps can be a good platform to keep real-time communication with your colleagues.