Facebook Groups vs Slack Channels

We are talking about a very common question I get about Facebook groups versus Slack channels. Specifically, we’re going to talk about them in the scope of a community for a membership, or a free community that you’re having as part of your opt in, or as a bonus add-on for maybe a group program you’re doing.

Facebook group versus Slack channels. First, let’s talk about what each of these things are because you might not know what Slack channels are. First, Facebook groups. These are the groups that you can set at 3 privacy levels: closed, open or secret. Closed means that the group is searchable, you can see who is a member but you have to be a member to be able to post or see any of the content inside the group. Public means everything is searchable. We can see everything that is going on in the group without being a member. Secret means the group is not searchable. The member list is not available publicly and all of the content in the group is members eyes only. Those are your 3 options when it comes to Facebook groups.

Facebook groups are 100% free. You do need a profile to run it. You can’t create, use or access groups as a page you can only do it using your profile. They are a really really popular option for a lot of things keeping in touch with friends, mastermind groups, free groups to help build your email list, as a program add on, as a membership community piece. Most people kind of understand them. Nobody has to go to any additional place to get access to the forum. It is a really good option for a lot of people.

Number 2 is Slack channels. Slack is a relatively new communication tool, in comparison to Facebook group anyways. You can create it, it’s totally private to the people who have access. When you create a group you get a special URL. You can access it through an app on your phone, you can access it through desktop. I have a Slack app on my iMac even so that I don’t have to go through the desktop, I can keep it open almost like a group chat or a messenger. It is a separate thing. I don’t have to worry about having a tab open for it on the desktop, which is also really nice if you’re somebody who has multiple Slack channels by the way.

It is a really great tool for keep your team in communication, for groups, for meet ups. Basically, just anything to share what is happening with everybody. I really like both tools. I don’t think that one tool is necessarily better than other just overall.

I do think though that these tools have different uses.  They have different places and again it’s going to come back to that question, and you hear me say this all the time. It’s going to depend on who your clients are. Let’s kind of break down the either or’s on this on a case by case basis, and then I will kind of talk about why one or the other is better for each of these options.

First, let’s talk about for a free group as part of your email opt. Maybe you’re running a free challenge or as a webinar you offer a bonus into Facebook group, it’s something I did for a long time. Basically, you’re using it to build your list. It is 100% free to be a part of. It is not an addition to any program it is just a free group. For those, I really like Facebook groups because they are easy to be found via search, they are easy to share with friends, they are easy to navigate, they are easy to use, and they are easy to get people comfortable in and keep people active in.

What happens is when you have something like a free group there is no financial accountability to being a part of the community. Having it someplace that is really easily accessible, someplace where they’re already spending time is really helpful as far as keeping them engaged. For free groups I really like Facebook. The reason I don’t love Slack channels for free groups is because, again you’re having to send them someplace else. It is not like you can just log into Slack and get all of the group you’re apart of.

Each Slack channel has sort of its own domain. I’m a part of several, one for mastermind, one for a meet up group I’m a part of, one for my team. I would have to go into each of those via the desktop. In my app I can flip through them but I still have to be intentional about going in to each of those places. There is not a really big way to pull me in the way you do where a group is showing up in your news feed or your notifications with Facebook. That’s why for free groups I say Facebook groups.

Next, let’s talk about as a paid add-on for a group. The first disclaimer I want to put right here is it’s against the terms and conditions from Facebook to sell access to a Facebook group. Meaning, when you have something you can’t just have them pay to be a part of a Facebook group. An example of this is Hit the Mic Backstage. We use a Facebook group as the community forum kind of aspect. But when you pay for Hit the Mic Backstage, you’re not paying for the Facebook group. You’re paying for all of the trainings inside of the membership community. The Facebook group is an additional bonus to that.

Whereas, I’ve heard from a lot of people they are looking for something they can sort of just sell access to to be doing group coaching and things like that. For that, you’re going to want to use something like a Slack channel because it is actually, again, against the terms and conditions of Facebook to sell access just to a Facebook group alone. It’s got to be partnered with some sort of content and then the Facebook group is an added bonus, an added value thing. It can’t be I’m paying $5 a month to have access to this Facebook group. That doesn’t fly.

Make sure you have it positioned well to start off with. When it comes to should I be using a Slack channel or a Facebook group as that bonus added community piece to my program or my membership, I like both. It is going to depend on who you’re ideal clients are. I will say, I prefer Slack for those things.

I’ve been a part of a couple things now that have had Slack channels as the communication piece and I really really enjoy it because I enjoy Slack. I enjoy the way you can work in it. I like that you can upload things. You can very easily message the other people and share files and do things like that, so I really like it for that sort of thing. I also really like it because I don’t have to go into the noise of Facebook to engage with it. I can be really focused and intentional with my time and say this is my mastermind time, but during this mastermind time I’ve got my Slack channel open because I’m engaging with the group or whatever.

However, it depends on who your audience is. I know with Hit the Mic Backstage I don’t know that my members would be particularly comfortable in Slack. I would have to teach them how to use it first. I don’t have to teach them how to use a Facebook group. They can go someplace they are already comfortable to ask me questions versus having to go someplace where maybe they are a little less comfortable or an additional step they have to take to get access. I do know some people have started running both, run a Slack channel and a Facebook group sort of testing it out and seeing how it goes for them. I think that is really smart because it allows you to see what is going to work for your community.

I think when it comes to Facebook groups versus Slack channels as that bonus for your paid program, it really does come down to where are students, or your clients, or you customers or whatever you to call them. Where are they going to get value? Because if they’re not going to use it they’re not going to get value and it’s not going to matter how cool and shiny and fantastic it is or how easy it is to access with a Facebook group. If they’re not using it it’s not going to provide value. It depends on who they are. I like both, but again be cautions when you’re talking about your Facebook group that it is a bonus. It’s an added value, it’s a part of it, it’s not the whole thing, it’s not the whole enchilada. You’ve got to make sure you got that.

The third thing I want to talk about with Facebook groups verses a Slack channel is for your team communications. I have seen a couple of people tell me that they use a Facebook group to stay connected with their team. Their subcontractors or their VA’s or whatever it is for them on their business’ team. For that, far and away without a doubt I highly recommend Slack. What is cool about Slack is it integrates with a lot of the project management software.

On our team we use Asana and I can actually great a task or talk about a task right in Slack. It’s really nice because although we can comment on things in Asana, somebody can ask me a quick more general question. Maybe there is not a task for the thing that they need to ask me about. It’s a really easy way to stay connected. It’s a really easy way to stay in communication. Everybody can see it. Also, people can private message if they need to ask for a follow up or ask for additional information.  We can all kind of see what is going on there, so it is a really great way to stay connected for teams.

I think Facebook groups, there’s too many distractions. It’s too easy for people to get pulled away. When you talk about those little notifications ding-ding-dinging. There’s just too many distractions in my opinion for it to be a good team communications environment. For that one, far and away recommend a Slack channel.

To recap, #1 for free groups Facebook groups win. For #2 paid programs it really depends on who you’re talking to and who your audience is. I’ve seen both work really really well. Just look at who your audience is that will be the answer there, but both offer a really great option. And then #3 for team communications Slack runs away with it for me.

The thing I want to sort of leave you with is don’t pick one of or the other of these tools because XYZ told you it was the only option. These are not the only two tools there are for any of these jobs. There are other options. You have to choose what works best for your business, or best for your team, or what works best for your clients, and what is actually going to get used by whoever it is you need to be using it. That is going to be the most important piece, and that is going to be the difference maker as far as the decision.

Make sure that you’re considering the user over the XYZ told me it was the only way to go. Sound good? All right. I will see you on Friday.

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