Have you been looking into Circle.so to create a group for your clients? When looking for a monetizable platform to host your communities, there are a few different options. Group.app, Hivebright, and Vanilla Forums all come to mind but after testing quite a few, Circle.so comes ahead.
Circle.so, founded in January of 2020 has taken the Community platform world by charge. The Lead Strategy team discovered Circle late last year while finding a solution for a client who wanted a paid community option and they have been super happy with it since. People this will work best for include coaching communities, online courses, premium masterminds, paid newsletters, and conference communities. Let’s dive in:
Ease of Setup:
Circle’s ease of setup regardless of technical abilities is fantastic. With a few clicks, you can create one of many communities. Click “Create a new community” and you’re on your way.
Here, you can make the community private(invitation only), allow people to see the group, or allow people to see the group and sign up with a link. Answer a few questions including the size of your audience, what you look to achieve, how you would describe yourself, and how much you know about circle. Then pick your template, in this case, I’m going to pick Basic.
And you have a community! When creating a new community, Circle even offers a free 30-minute onboarding with a specialist. Next, they provide a checklist with everything you need to finish setting up your community!
No it is important to know you will need to either sign up for Stripe or connect your Stripe account in order to create a paywall within Circle.
Now an important distinction in Circle is between the Space Groups and the Groups. A Space Group is an area that houses spaces. It’s as simple as a “Space Group” hosts the “Spaces”
Both these spaces and space groups can be paywalled through the paywall feature.
If you would like to embed Circle into your website, there are community, post, and space widgets easy to copy and paste.
Overall, I give ease of setup a 10/10. It only me about 10 minutes to get everything going to have a basic space!
Ease of Client Signup:
Having a client signup is as easy as providing them your link, in this case, “leadstrategyinformativeblogs.circle.so”, and having them pay for whichever level of access they would like. That could be the basic community area, group spaces or spaces you think should cost more or all spaces. Circle is incredibly easy for new users to pick up as it works like most social media platforms today.
Live Streams – Circle has native(meaning built-in) live streaming functionality. This is a really neat feature that means you can restrict the information you give to just those in your community.
Payment Options – Circle provides a ton of options in regards to how your people pay. Payment options include recurring subscriptions, paid in full, coupons, free trials, and discounts. This allows you the flexibility to incentivize people into your group however you deem necessary.
Integrations – In conjunction with Zapier, there are thousands of apps that can be integrated into Circle. The list of triggers available to Circle is endless.
Administrative and Moderation – Ability to add both administrators and space moderators to review conversations and ensure everyone is staying on track
What it’s missing:
After a ton of research, it only appears as if a few features are currently missing from Circle. First, Live’s cannot be restricted or paywalled just quite yet. It’s apparently in the works with no official estimate announced yet. Second, while Circle is great for hosting the community around your course, it has not been optimized for actually hosting the course. For courses, we still recommend a tool such as Kajabi which was specifically designed for courses.
Circle prices start at $39 a month, with the Professional level coming at $99 a month, and Enterprise coming in at a whopping $399. The Lead Strategy team has found that most of our clients fit right in at the Professional level of $99. While this may seem expensive, the monetization capabilities, ease of setup, and ease of use for clients of Circle over its competitors make it a great value.