What is the best communication tool for your neighborhood, Facebook Groups or Nextdoor? We’ll do a side-by-side feature comparison below, but let’s look at some overall aspects first.

First, a disclaimer. I am well-versed in both platforms but have used Nextdoor for our neighborhood for the past few years. I’m an admin of a couple of Facebook Groups and use them daily, so I know the feature set well, but have a better working knowledge of Nextdoor in the neighboring context. That said, I’m a platform agnostic. What matters to me is what works best and both of these options have a lot to offer.

USAGE – FACEBOOK’S BIG ADVANTAGE

It’s common knowledge that Facebook is a nearly ubiquitous social platform. There are a few hold-outs who don’t like some of the privacy policies and don’t use the social-media behemoth, but overall, Facebook has a huge advantage in name-recognition and familiarity with the tool.

That is an aspect that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Platforms are only useful if people use them. And being on the platform and comfortable with its functionality is a big factor in whether or not people will use it.

GROWTH – NEXTDOOR IS BOOMING

Nextdoor is growing at a startling rate. The CEO claimed in June 2017 that the platform is adding 100 new neighborhoods every day and has experienced 100% year over year growth since they started in 2010. They are now in 75% of US neighborhoods (145,000), 50% in the Netherlands, and 40% in the UK.

The image below is from Google Search Trends, which shows their growth in the number of searches for the term “nextdoor” — indicating the rise in popularity.

They have solid venture capital backing and recently started monetizing via ads, so they have the resources to add new features and market well.

That sounds OK on the surface, but when you consider some of the Nextdoor features, that growth means more than you might think.

One of the feature advantages of Nextdoor over Facebook Groups is their “Nearby Neighborhoods” functionality. Nextdoor makes it easy to broaden your monitoring beyond the boundaries of your specific neighborhood. You can easily see what’s going on in adjacent neighborhoods. Some of those residents may be closer to you than those on the other end of your own neighborhood, so the cross-neighborhood value can be significant.

Facebook Groups are more like islands with no visibility into other nearby communities. As the Nextdoor platform continues to grow, the Nearby Neighborhoods feature becomes more valuable.

POSTING OPTIONS – MOSTLY SIMILAR

The options for the types of posts offered and the way they are consumed is pretty similar. A couple of the major differences are that Facebook overs both live and recorded video and Nextdoor offers Urgent Alerts which are sent via text message to all members of the neighborhood.

Nextoor vs Facebook Groups Post Comparison

The feed-style desktop layouts are very similar. You’ll notice Categories in the Nextdoor left menu.

Nextdoor Feed Layout

Facebook Feed Layout

NEIGHBORHOOD MAP ON NEXTDOOR

Nextdoor definitely has the advantage here. It’s easy to see who has joined the platform and by clicking on their property, you get quick details about your neighbors.

Nextdoor Map

RECOMMENDATIONS

While Facebook Groups makes it easy to ask for recommendations, past recommendations are only accessible by searching. Nextdoor recently unveiled a new recommendations section which provides easier categorized navigation and they pull in recommendations from Nearby Neighborhoods.

Nextdoor Recommendations

CLASSIFIEDS

Facebook is adding new classified-style listings and tools, but that functionality isn’t geared specifically toward Groups. You can post items for sale, but there isn’t a good way to find items which have been listed previously within a Group. Nextdoor recently spruced up their “For Sale & Free” section with an attractive interface and navigation.

Nextdoor For Sale Free Classifieds

FULL FEATURE COMPARISON

WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU?

While Nextdoor’s feature toolset offers more robust options specifically built for neighborhoods, Facebook’s ubiquitous reach and usage should be given more weight than just a single feature side-by-side comparison.

I think what it boils down to is how much effort you want to spend getting your neighborhood platform off the ground.

Getting neighbors to join and use Facebook Groups is going to be an easier task on the front end. If you’re crazy-busy and building your neighborhood isn’t a high priority, go with FB.

If you’re willing to invest a little more time up-front in getting people on-board and using Nextdoor, I think it’s a worthy investment and good choice in the long-term. I can tell you from experience that once you get momentum going with Nextdoor, members start joining and using the platform without your input.

YOUR TURN

Have questions or comments? Let’s discuss below.

 

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