Community Platforms

Best Community Platforms include:

Khoros Communities (Formerly Spredfast + Lithium) and Salesforce Community Cloud.

Community Platforms TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Community Platforms Overview

What are Community Platforms?

Community Platforms manage the process of creating and maintaining a space for productive discussion among community members. Members can share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. This process is sometimes referred to as "community engagement."

Key Use Cases for Community Platforms

  • Support community for self-help and peer or expert advice

  • Ideation

  • Private social networking

  • Gauge customer satisfaction

  • Identify customer advocates

  • Increase customer/employee engagement

  • Distribute community news and updates

  • Generate content with programs like community blogging


Mature communities deliver business value in a variety of ways. They increase engagement, address support issues and pain points, measure satisfaction, and build stronger relationships. Platforms may support external communities, internal communities, or both. These benefits apply to both customer and employee communities.


There are different types of community platforms, including open source options for community managers who want to develop their own platform. Some SMB-focused community platforms focus on one aspect of community, like Q&A, ideation, or link sharing. Enterprise-grade community platforms are more feature-rich. They might include complex, hierarchal capabilities like multi-tiered advocacy programs with moderator permissions.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Community Platform

It is important to consider whether membership will be explicit and exclusive so that the community is open to registered members only.


In order to determine how employees or customers are likely to engage with a community platform, some community managers set up a free community platform or private social network group to run a testing phase.

Community Platforms vs. Help Desk Software, CMS, and Collaboration Tools

Community management tools have some overlap with help desk software, which often includes community features like Q&A for self-help. Some community platforms integrate with help desk systems.


There is also overlap with content management systems (CMS), especially in heavily moderated external communities, where posts/articles by advocates and experts might be promoted and shared elsewhere.


Some community platforms, especially for internal communities, may overlap with collaboration tools as well. Collaboration tools tend to be more focused on one-on-one interactions between users, and on getting projects done (via file sharing, etc.). Community interactions are more often one-to-many and focused on help, general engagement, feedback, and ideation.

Gamification

Gamification is a strategy in which points, rules, and competition are used to increase engagement. Some community platforms use game dynamics to incentivize and reward member participation.

Community Moderation

Moderation is a system for controlling potential abuse of the community platform. Moderation is important because fear of defamation is one of the biggest obstacles to creating an external community. For some companies promoting the voice of the customer feels risky.


There are two approaches to moderation: curating users (like restricting membership or blocking/reporting certain members) or curating content.


Most community platforms allow administrators to act as moderators. Some have more advanced hierarchical systems for moderation. These allow administrators to grant certain members moderator permissions.


Content curation includes restricting content access, removing content, editing content, or responding to content. This is often a top-down reaction to member contributions. It can also involve broader community participation such as voting on, rating and reporting content.

Pricing Information

There are many providers of collaboration software spanning a wide range of capabilities from very inexpensive products designed for small teams, to highly sophisticated enterprise products. Enterprise-level systems cost in the region of $100 per user per month, with price breaks for high numbers of users.

Community Products

(1-25 of 50) Sorted by Most Reviews

Influitive
33 ratings
90 reviews
AdvocateHub helps B2B marketers capture customer enthusiasm and use it to drive marketing and sales efforts. With AdvocateHub, B2B marketers build an advocate community and invite customers into it to complete “challenges” like referrals, reference calls or product reviews. As they complete challeng…
Salesforce Community Cloud
202 ratings
41 reviews
Top Rated
Community Cloud is an online forum powered by Salesforce that enables businesses to connect with their employees, customers, partner organizations, and prospects. Designed to help facilitate communication and information sharing, customers can ask questions and request help, administrators can integ…
Khoros Communities (Formerly Spredfast + Lithium)
15 ratings
22 reviews
Top Rated
TRUE
Lithium Community is a fully-featured community platform and is focused on the needs of marketers. Lithium most often competes with Jive Team Collaboration and Get Satisfaction.
Higher Logic
13 ratings
15 reviews
Higher Logic is a private community platform that empowers members, customers, support and product teams to create and manage meaningful, engaging online communities. Higher Logic acquired Real Magnet in late 2017 to extend its capabilities.
Vanilla Forums
2 ratings
10 reviews
Vanilla Forums is customizable and themable forum software. It can be used for support communities, Q&A Communities and more. There are numerous integrations, including SSO, and connectors to popular software such as Mailchimp, WordPress, Zendesk and Salesforce.
Verint Community (Telligent)
3 ratings
6 reviews
Verint Connect (based on Telligent Community) is a community and collaboration software platform developed by Telligent Systems and was first released in 2004. Telligent's focus was on offering a platform that can be integrated and extended, but this requires technical expertise. Verint acquired Tel…
Igloo
4 ratings
6 reviews
Igloo Software is a social business software company that builds digital workplaces and intranet solutions to support online communities and businesses of any size. It is a suite of content management, collaboration and knowledge sharing tools within one secure social networking platform. Online com…
Tribe Community Platform
0 ratings
6 reviews
Tribe is a community platform that integrates social touchpoints across the user journey. It helps brands and creators to build online communities with complete customization capability and data ownership to drive customer engagement, improve retention rate, collect feedback, and improve lifetime va…
Jive-x (Discontinued)
20 ratings
4 reviews
Jive-x (formerly Jive Engage) is Jive's external facing community platform for prospects and customers. It is a leading product in the space and most often competes with Lithium Community and Telligent Community.
SchoolMessenger
3 ratings
4 reviews
SchoolMessenger, a West Corporation solution managed by West Education, the company's education unit, is a school community software featuring secure email, social media monitoring, school website, and mobile app.
OnSemble
0 ratings
3 reviews
The vendor presents OnSemble as more than an employee intranet that keeps everyone connected – but as a digital workplace that makes employees feel valued. OnSemble is designed to keep remote teams engaged, and acts as the culture champion for the organization. With no programming experience necessa…
Personify Community
1 rating
3 reviews
Small World Labs Community is a hosted collaboration and social networking platform with easy drag & drop modification capabilities. Small World Labs offers implementation and community engagement services, plus an open API for integration with other systems. Small World Labs has clients across ind…
Website Toolbox
0 ratings
1 review
Website Toolbox is described by the vendor as the easiest way to create a community forum in the cloud. No coding, software, or servers required. They further state that their platform is fully customizable, has single sign on, can be embedded into a website with robust security controls, and suppor…
Centercode
0 ratings
1 review
Centercode Connect is a hosted software platform that provides all of the tools needed to run a beta program: recruiting, NDA management, product distribution, surveys, bug reports, forums, reporting, and more.
ServiceNow Customer Service Management
3 ratings
1 review
Built on the Now Platform, ServiceNow offers their Customer Service Management solution through the Standard and Professional Customer Service Management bundles. Both include agent workspace, knowledge management, survey and assessment module, and the community module, oriented in this edition to s…
Discourse
2 ratings
1 review
Discourse is an open-source community management and moderation product.
Muut
Muut is an embedded community platform providing both embedded comments (e.g. blog comments, reviews on product pages etc.) and a full blown forum system that is embeddable onto a website on any platform.
Mzinga OmniSocial
Mzinga is a community platform that competes with Jive Team Collaboration, Lithium Community, Get Satisfaction and other community products. Mzinga offers services and analytics in addition to its technology platform.
Crowdstack (formerly Hoop.la)
Crowdstack (formerly Hoop.la) is a customizable enterprise social community solution. Since it is SaaS-based, no coding is required.According to the vendor, some key benefits and features include:Easily collaborate and communicate with fans, volunteers, constituents, customers, employees, and influe…
Enterprise Hive
Enterprise Hive is a community management software solution offered by Enterprise Hive, LLC.
Evoq Engage
Evoq Engage is community management, gamification, and loyalty management software by DNN.
Magentrix Customer Community
Magentrix Customer Communities is a solution with case management, knowledge base, FAQ and social collaboration capabilities. According to the vendor, users can launch a portal site without depending on developers or complex coding. The product offers: Branded Portals: Custom themes allow companie…
IntelliEnterprise
IntelliEnterprise is an Intranet Software Suite for managing content and processes. It lets organizations manage and efficiently distribute relevant content, offers integrated security, customizable applications and workflows for process automation, social tools to connect employees across departmen…
VeryConnect Membership Management Software
VeryConnect Membership Management Software brings together member management, member engagement, and member self-service in one platform.
Loopa Community Software
Loopa is an online community platform for communication and collaboration. According to the vendor, Loopa is like Facebook's Workplace, but offers front-end customisation, seamless compatibility with your existing website, and is significantly cheaper. Loopa aims to answer the question, "How do you…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Platform?

Community Platforms combine a suite of services enabling the creation, management, and utilization of spaces for sharing between connected users. A common example would be a brand's presentation of a forum composed of administrators and end-users discussing a product or topic. These spaces can be a one-stop portal for receiving or providing information, advice, or additional assistance. Organizations administering these platforms can leverage the maintenance of these spaces to relate with consumers, foster positive sentiment, respond to inquiries, and gather data on engagement.

Who uses Community Platform software?

As the Community Platform category of software represents how software rises to meet the needs of online customer management, it reveals the composition of organizations and individuals that are responding to the demands around those key use cases.

Typically these tools are used by:

  • Community managers
  • Customer support
  • Marketers


Why use Community Platform Software?

More and larger concentrations of people have formed networks that pervade the internet, and brands have responded by formulating a way to participate in those same communication dynamics, meeting customers where they are. An effective community platform can enable a direct line to interactions and contributions with consumers that may improve product awareness, generate additional content, promote mastery, and encourage loyalty. They also facilitate data intelligence on common requests and user behaviors.