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So you’ve decided that you want to start your own online group. You may be wondering about the best way to get started.

When you start groups, it’s important to use a platform that you know you can get others to come to, or where you know they’re already there. It makes a lot of difference in how fast you can build your group. Remember that with standalone platforms where you have to invite people, it may take you longer than if you have “drive-by” members who can drop by and find you.

* Facebook – One of the easiest, cheapest, and less stable platforms around their groups is there, for now, to help you build your community. Just remember that what Facebook gives today they could take away tomorrow. Having said that, you probably want to start your group building here because everyone is there.

* Delphiforums.com – This is a forum software that is hosted for you. Therefore, you don’t need to know anything about the software, but you can add a link to this forum so that your community can go there to join the group. They will have to join but they have free memberships and paid memberships.

* Ning.com – This has been around a while and is a great way to build a free community for your tribe. It’s used by many large groups, classrooms, communities and more. It’s hosted for you, so you don’t need any tech knowledge.

* Freedomvine.com – This is a newer social site that is focused on free speech. It might be a good alternative for some people who have content that some of the other platforms are disallowing.

* Sproutsocial.com – Standalone website-building software that lets you build a membership site that you can charge for, or you can let people join free. It turns your groups into highly engaged and paying members.

* Mightynetworks.com – This is a way to practically build a Facebook-like site of your own. If you think you have a large enough audience to do this, it’s a great way to not rely on others to build your group.

* Forum Software – There are many different forum software platforms that you can use on your self-hosted WordPress site. You do need to have more tech skills or be able to hire someone to help you, but it’s worth it if you want an active community that feels safe.

Use software like BuddyPress.org, Ultimate Member (https://wordpress.org/plugins/ultimate-member/) and others integrated with your website software to create your group.

* FreshMember.com – This is a great way to build a group too. It’s a stand-alone system where you don’t need a website already. You can just create this group or membership site and even charge for the members. It’s easy to use and has many integrations.

Platforms that let you set up groups are an important way to build your community, connect with your audience, and get people excited and engaging with you. It’ll help you make more money, make more friends, and catapult your business to new levels of profitability and popularity.

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