The Best Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups (according to the internet + us!)

Alternative to LinkedIn Groups

Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups… Go!

When it comes to professional networking, some of the best alternatives to LinkedIn Groups are the ones you hear less about. They can hold their own in a small sea of professional networking platforms, and yet they seem to get lost in the buzz of the almost 20-year-old LinkedIn. Until today, when we bring you our preferred alternatives to LinkedIn Groups, in no particular order.

Sure, there are a number of good articles about LinkedIn alternatives floating around out there. But our curated list includes a few professional networking sites you may or may not have even heard of yet. And if you haven’t? You heard it here first, folks!

We’ll start by talking a little bit about why professionals are looking for alternatives to LinkedIn Groups. Then we’ll get into the nitty gritty and see which professional networking platforms have piqued our interest the most (as well as which ones we believe have a good deal of potential).

Why Professionals Are Looking for Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups?

While LinkedIn Groups lets users create shared interest groups with a fair amount of ease, they’re not necessarily the best way to engage community. Let’s look at some of the top reasons why professionals are looking into alternatives to LinkedIn Groups.

1. Building community engagement in LinkedIn Groups takes more time than it’s worth. LinkedIn Groups can be good for job seekers looking to expand their professional social network. But if you’re trying to create your own professional community, it takes quite a bit of time to build engagement using LinkedIn Groups. What happens is that with so many different groups and so many users, you end up having to compete for attention. To boot, fake engagement (automated messages), replies, and likes are wildly abundant (and annoying/not cool).

2. Engagement rates on LinkedIn Groups are usually pretty low. The bigger the LinkedIn Group (some of them possess millions of members), the lower the barrier to entry, the higher the chance you’ll compete for attention and engagement. To which we say: why do that to yourself and your community members when you can build community and measure engagement in more authentic, fruitful ways?

3. Control over your information (and data) is minimal. Like any other public social network, LinkedIn owns ALL your personal data and information. Which means it also owns the present and future of your professional community. Maybe you rely on LinkedIn Groups to be the one and only professional networking platform for growing your community. But what if Groups gets the cut and, as a result, so does your hand-built community? And, my dears, don’t you want to have a say in the matter and own your data? We know we sure do.

Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups

While LinkedIn shares a lot of the same issues that other public social networks have, there are a number of alternatives to LinkedIn (and alternatives to public social networks in general) that offer a rather different user experience. For community members, job seekers, digital marketers, and community managers alike.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Facebook Groups

Of course we’re starting with Facebook Groups as one of the best alternatives to LinkedIn. And while they don’t need much of an introduction, they do require a few addendums. The community-building intentions were there at the beginning (at least that’s what we’re told 😉). But every year the focus of Facebook Groups drifts further away from community and community building, and closer to… advertising as the end all be all. How does that make you feel?

Pros:

  • Out of all the public and private social networking platforms available today, Facebook has the largest audience by a landslide.
  • Facebook Groups are semi-customizable in the sense that you can make them public, private, or secret.
  • Some features allow you to personalize or brand your Facebook Group.

Cons:

  • Because Facebook is so huge, it can be really difficult to stand out from the crowd or get found organically.
  • Even though Facebook is a social networking platform, it favors paid advertisers over community building.
  • From third-party data miners gathering thousands of pieces of psychological data to build profiles on every single user, to security breaches, deceptive app-tracking transparency updates, shady moderation practices and ethics, divisive and invasive Russian hacking, and so much more, privacy on Facebook is a big concern. Want to own your data and use it to build an authentic community on a professional networking platform you trust? We’re right there with you—it’s time to wean yourself off of Facebook Groups and build the amazing community you’ve always dreamed of.

Eventbrite

More than a year into the pandemic, chances are you’ve attended something (poetry event, open mic night, music concert, lecture, protest) on Eventbrite. They’re a full-service event planning platform that hosts all manner of virtual events, including your next professional networking mixer!

Basically, Eventribte is a streamlined service that specializes in and excels at creating online events. And as an alternative to LinkedIn Groups? When it comes to online event hosting, their capabilities and services blow LinkedIn Groups out of the water.

Pros:

  • You can build on-brand landing pages that stand out from the crowd and speak to your community and other like-minded people.
  • Whether pre- or post-event, communicating with attendees is intuitive and easy.
  • For the most part, the Zoom integration with Eventbrite is solid.

Cons:

  • Eventbrite does not offer a variety of options for merchant processing.
  • Repurposing weekly events for replay viewing (which we highly recommend) is not as easy as it should be.

Bevy

As a C2C marketing platform, Bevy helps companies “build, grow, and scale their in-person and online communities.” As an alternative to LinkedIn Groups, Bevy is a social networking platform that’s best for hosting conferences, recording meetings, broadcasting events, and more in university, non-profit, and advocacy spaces

Pros:

  • As features are updated on Bevy they are increasingly easy to use and more digital-friendly. 
  • With premium analytics and custom forms, the virtual conference feature on Bevy helps create successful events. In looking for a professional networking platform, successful and engaging events (that yield valuable data) are essential!

Cons:

  • When it comes to connecting attendees during online conferences and events, Bevy is pretty limited in its capabilities. For Bevy, community building comes through emails, surveys, and in-event networking (via Zoom only). As a result, in-conference connections are limited, and attendees end up missing out on connecting before and after the virtual conference. Not ideal when you’re trying to build an engaged community and every channel counts.
  • Created with big brands in mind, Bevy is expensive and pricing information isn’t always that easy to find. If you’re interested in using Bevy as an alternative to LinkedIn Groups, you have to schedule a demo before you can even get a custom quote.

Localist

Another alternative to LinkedIn Groups, Localist helps organizations grow and engage their communities by providing event management and marketing automation all in one place. With Localist, you can identify your most engaged community members, make your virtual events easier to discover, and (ideally) increase event attendance as a result.

Pros:

  • According to reviews, Localist is easy to use, flexible to client needs, and offers impressive branding capabilities.
  • With easy setup and administration, the barrier to entry isn’t as high as some other social networking platforms.
  • With a powerful calendar feature, Localist helps you manage, organize, and promote a variety of virtual events.

Cons:

  • According to other reviews, the webinar on Channels is quite confusing. The Localist platform involves a lot of “learn by doing.”
  • Perhaps this has been resolved by now (anyone know?), but at some point Localist users could create their own avatars, and there was no direct path to reporting and removing the offensive ones.
  • Localist support gets subpar reviews. Ouch.

Other Neat Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups (according to us ✨)

Mobilize

Hey, it’s us! And while we’re biased, sure, the feedback from customers says it all—Mobilize is a most excellent alternative to LinkedIn Groups. Here’s (some of) what we have to say about professional networks and community building:

Professional networks are not a product, they are a process led by people. And the more experienced those people are, the better. Our Strategic Services team has driven some of the most successful communities in the world.

And it’s true! Just ask us about our community management features, as well as how and why organizations think Mobilize is the top alternative to LinkedIn Groups.

Goodwall

Based in Switzerland and originally a social networking platform for high school students, Goodwall is a lesser known (but still solid) alternative to LinkedIn Groups and other public social networking platforms.

While engagement information is not readily available, Goodwall reports over 1 million registered users on its networking platform. Like LinkedIn, it lets you upload a resume. Unlike LinkedIn, it’s mainly for the youth (whoop!). Which is fabulous. In their own words, “Goodwall is the next-generation community for students and young professionals to connect to opportunities that fast-track their future.”

The Dots

Marketed as the professional networking platform for adults who don’t wear suits to work, The Dots is also slated as “LinkedIn for creatives.” As an alternative to LinkedIn Groups, The Dots connects no-collar workers (they’re UK based, but anyone can join) and boasts 400k monthly visits. Whjich means as an alternative to LinkedIn Groups, this professional networking platform is worth a peek.

Epiloge 

As a professional networking platform, and interesting alternative to LinkedIn Groups, Epiloge lets members upload papers and work they’ve done, write about a project, and share thoughts and insights on articles—all through digital multimedia.

Basically, Epiloge wants members to connect through what they’ve done and show up and be seen in more tangible, three-dimensional ways. In their own words, Epiloge is “the professional network where your papers, articles and projects count—a community for students and professionals to connect, write and be open to jobs and opportunities.” Neat!

How to Choose the Best Alternative to LinkedIn Groups (for you and your organization)

OK, so that’s a lot of professional networking platforms to choose from in one article. And, as you already know, there are plenty more where these came from. So, how do you choose the best alternative to LinkedIn Groups for you and your organization? It all depends.

Some simple things to keep in mind when trying to decide which alternative to LinkedIn Groups makes sense for you include:

  1. What kind of data do you want from your community, and which networking platforms provide it?
  2. Which professional networking site will best allow you to obtain buy-in from your organization? That is, which platform will make it easy for you to collect and digest analytics in a way that illustrates the ROI of your community?
  3. Which features are must-haves for your organization (the ones that will help you build your community)? Which can you let go of if necessary?
  4. Who has the best customer experience, customer service, and lines of communication? When you need help troubleshooting something on a professional networking platform, how quickly will you be able to receive the help and solutions you need?

And that’s a wrap on the best alternatives to LinkedIn Groups! We hope you found this article informative, useful and empowering. And we wish you the best in choosing the right professional networking platform for you and your organization. While you’re looking, don’t forget to check out the BEST alternative to LinkedIn Groups for your professional network.👇

Work with experts who build successful communities

Mobilize is made up of community experts who have launched communities for the likes of Dropbox, United Nations’ SDSN, Dermalogica, and more. We work with you to align your business goals with a tailored community strategy to ensure its success.

Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.