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 48) Sorted by Most Reviews

Influitive
111 ratings
81 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
224 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)
33 ratings
21 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
26 ratings
14 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
10 ratings
9 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.
Communifire by Axero Solutions
10 ratings
7 reviews
Axero's Communifire is an Enterprise Social and Collaboration platform. Used internally, it connects employees, key customers and partners to pursue shared goals. Used to build an online community, it puts the emphasis on working together, not just meeting socially. The platform, designed to encour…
Igloo
10 ratings
6 reviews
Igloo Software is a social business software company that builds online communities for businesses of any size. It is a suite of content management, collaboration and knowledge sharing tools within one secure social networking platform. Online communities drive groups, teams and organizations to imp…
Jive-x (Discontinued)
24 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.
Personify Community
4 ratings
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…
SchoolMessenger
6 ratings
3 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.
Source by IC Thrive
4 ratings
3 reviews
Source Intranet Software from IC Thrive (formerly Intranet Connections) is built for internal communicators, HR professionals, and marketers in finance, healthcare, and corporate industries. The vendor states that with 20 years' experience working with banks, credit unions, hospitals and other busin…
Tribe Community Platform
2 ratings
2 reviews
Tribe is a community platform from the company of the same name headquartered in Toronto, featuring unlimited content and page views for a custom domain, with usage analytics,API, and uptime SLA.
Website Toolbox
1 ratings
1 reviews
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…
OnSemble
1 ratings
1 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…
Discourse
3 ratings
1 reviews
Discourse is an open-source community management and moderation product.
Centercode
1 ratings
1 reviews
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.
Telligent Community
3 ratings
1 reviews
Telligent Community is a community and collaboration software platform developed by Telligent Systems and was first released in 2004. Telligent's focus is on offering a platform that can be integrated and extended, but this requires technical expertise.
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.
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.
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…
Evoq Engage
Evoq Engage is community management, gamification, and loyalty management software by DNN.
Enterprise Hive
Enterprise Hive is a community management software solution offered by Enterprise Hive, LLC.
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…
Answerbase
Answerbase is a knowledge management platform for customer support and e-commerce, allowing users to ask questions, receive quality answers, and browse content and articles to meet their demand for information about your products and services. Each system comes with administration and moderation too…
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…