Circle vs Tribe (Bettermode): What’s the Difference & Which Community Platform is Best?

Ultimate Guide Table of Contents

Whether you’ve decided to start building a community from scratch or you’re considering migrating an existing community to a new platform, picking the right home for your members is top of mind. After all, choosing the right community platform influences your:

  • Member engagement & retention
  • Monetization options
  • Costs
  • Community layout & design
  • And more

And as you embark on this journey to find the right landing spot for your community, you’ll undoubtedly come across Circle vs Tribe (now known as Bettermode). What is the difference between these two platforms? And is one better than the other?

You’ve come to the right place. Our goal today is to help you gain a clear answer on what your next move should be - regardless of your current situation or goals. Both Circle and Tribe (Bettermode) have pros and cons, but only one of these platforms is right for you. And in just a few moments, you’ll know exactly which one you should go with. Let’s not waste any more time.

Bettermode (Tribe) vs Circle: Key Differences Explained

Circle prides itself on being known as the most simple, straightforward approach to building and growing a community. The platform is easy to navigate for both you the creator and your members - leading to higher engagement and retention. 

Tribe (Bettermode), on the other hand, is far more customizable. There are a few impressive features you’ll gain access to on this platform that Circle lacks. However, it’s also a bit more expensive.

To fully illustrate where each platform shines, we’re going to cover the basics of each platform below before comparing and contrasting them side by side.

Introducing Circle: Features, Pricing, and More

Circle was introduced in 2019 by former employees at Teachable. They realized that while Teachable was an incredible platform for course creation, it needed a community feature - and so they set out to build their own. Fast forward to today and Circle is considered among the best for community hosting. Brands like Adobe host communities here, and at Ship 30 for 30, we do as well.

The big reason for this is how effortless creating your community is in Circle. While other platforms (including Tribe) are focusing on pushing out the latest and greatest features, Circle prioritizes your members - creating the best possible experience for them. With this comes a higher engagement rate - helping you manage a thriving community that loves being a part of what you’re doing.

There are quite a few ways you can engage, interact, and monetize your community within Circle:

  • Discussion posts
  • Courses
  • Group & direct messaging
  • Live streams
  • Events
  • And more

As a creator, you can monetize your community how you see fit. Gating access to certain spaces is easy - and you can create various tiers at different prices as well. Choose between recurring subscriptions or one-time payments. You can also easily upsell and cross-sell your members.

Now, in terms of pricing for you, the creator, you’ll choose between a few different plans. All plans come with a 14-day free trial - but after that point you’ll commit to one of the following:

  • Basic: at $39/month billed annually, you can easily start a simple community with the bare essentials. You gain access to discussions, rich member profiles, unlimited events, group chats & private messaging, moderators, an iOS app, simple paywalls, and a custom domain. You’ll only be able to accommodate 100 members at this tier before moving up to the next plan.
  • Professional: at $89/month billed annually, you can unlock key features and higher usage limits at this tier. You get everything from the Basic plan with courses, live stream video experiences, a fully white-labeled community, advanced analytics, and custom CSS. You can host unlimited members on this tier.
  • Enterprise: The top-end tier doesn’t have a set-in-stone price - you’ll have to contact Circle’s sales team for the details. However, this plan unlocks a dedicated customer success manager, API access, customizable profile fields, priority email support, custom single sign-on, concierge onboarding, and more.

Each of these plans also has its own unique limits on admins, moderators, spaces, transaction fees, and storage. For example, the Basic plan only offers 10 spaces and comes with transaction fees of 4% that can cut into your margins. On the professional plan, you can offer 20 different spaces and enjoy lower transaction fees of 1%.

But, how does all this stack up to Tribe? Let’s take a look… 

Introducing Tribe (Bettermode): Features, Pricing, and More

Tribe was born a year before Circle, and with its age comes a suite of extra features. That’s really the main difference between the two platforms: Circle is more bare bones, while Tribe helps you customize your community as you see fit. As such, it has come to be the home for some of the world’s biggest brands - like IBM, Pipedrive, ConvertKit, and more.

Recently, Tribe underwent a rebranding process - and is now referring to itself as Bettermode. This is part of a more overarching shift within the company to focus on being a customer community platform. And when we start comparing and contrasting key differences below, you’ll see why that’s significant.

Similar to other community platforms, you’ll work through spaces to engage and monetize your members. A lot of what’s offered in this community platform is quite similar to Circle. But, there are also quite a few other features available through this platform. 

For example, rather than hosting discussions within the community’s feed, you can integrate natively with Discord - which is regarded as the premier choice for community-based conversations. And, you gain the ability to build your community the exact way you visualize it - placing CTAs, leaderboards, filter tags, accordions, iFrames, and more. 

Another really cool feature within Tribe (Bettermode) is member badges. As an admin, you can award different badges to encourage higher engagement - whether you want to distinguish new members or celebrate VIPs.

Now, there are two plans for Bettermode at this time:

  • Advanced: At $599 per month, this is the solution for growing brands and companies who want to nurture customer relationships in a community-based format. You gain access to advanced apps, API and webhooks, staging environments, a fully-white label experience, single sign-on, a customer success manager, private messaging, email, moderation, theme customization, analytics, and more.
  • Enterprise: This is the plan for large businesses or brands in regulated industries - and there is no price dictated on their website at this time. The main difference with this plan is you get everything from Advanced along with enterprise-grade security, audit and activity logs, data residency, SAML authentication, master service agreement, and Uptime SLA. In terms of building your community, you get way more customization at your fingertips with this plan.

By now, you should start to see which of these two is the right choice for you: Bettermode (Tribe) or Circle. However, we’ll get into the most important intricacies below.

Circle vs Tribe (Bettermode): Which Community Platform is Best?

Previously, the discussion between Tribe vs Circle was a bit more complex - as both platforms served the same customer. But since Tribe has rebranded to Bettermode, it’s actually made the process of choosing between Tribe vs Circle a lot easier. Because now, Bettermode serves as more of a customer relationship community platform. Circle, on the other hand, is your all-in-one community-building and monetization platform. 

Tribe (Bettermode) is a Platform for Customer Engagement

Think of it like this. If your company sells a product or service, and simply wants to use a community as a means of nurturing customer relationships and answering product-related questions, you may be better suited to Bettermode (Tribe). 

Your customer support team can interact within the community as moderators to ensure the best experience possible. Meanwhile, product dev teams can gain feedback and insights to better your offerings through polls and community discussions. 

The community isn’t necessarily a means of driving additional revenue - although there are ways you can do that with Bettermode. Rather, the community is a means of improving customer experiences, enhancing future product lines, and retaining customers for the long haul.

Circle, on the Other Hand, is an All-In-One Community Building & Monetization Platform

But if you’re building a community with the goal of monetizing members through paid courses, live events, or membership, then Circle is the better choice. Creators on Circle use their community as the product. You make money by selling information-based products to your members.

That distinction is really all you need to know to make the right choice between Circle vs Tribe (Bettermode). 

Wrapping Up Our Comparison of Bettermode (Tribe) vs Circle

While you came here unclear as to whether you should build your community on Bettermode (Tribe) vs Circle, the answer should be clear now. At one point, Tribe and Circle were close competitors serving the same customer and offering similar features/capabilities. 

However, since Tribe has rebranded to Bettermode, the comparison is no longer apples to apples. These days, Bettermode seeks to help large-scale companies improve their customer relations and product development through community engagement. 

That leaves Circle as the clear choice for creators who are looking to build a community with the end goal of monetization. On Circle, you’re able to create courses, live-stream videos, host events, encourage discussions, and offer other information products to your audience. And while it’s an incredible platform, it’s just one of your many choices - you’ll want to see our comparison between Circle vs Mighty Networks before pulling the trigger.

And, if you want to learn about other ways to use your digital writing skills to earn income online, explore our blog. We have a plethora of valuable resources on topics like how does Substack work for writers, how to go viral on Twitter (including Twitter bio examples), how to make money on Quora, how to become a freelance writer with no experience, how to write an ebook to sell, and other advice on becoming a prolific writer.

We’re here to empower you along your journey of using your skills to build communities and make money online - join the Ship30for30 movement today and change your life for the better!

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