Dornubari Vizor March 26, 2023
Moving an online Community – A 3-Stage Action Guide For Community Builders
Pat yourself on the back! I totally understand that switching to a new online community platform isn’t easy. You made a big, informed decision for yourself and your community members.
But you are not done just yet. It’s time for you to make the big move, aka “moving an online community! You need to migrate your established community to the new platform. Sounds scary?
Don’t worry; I am going to give you an actionable 3-stage online community migration guide. It will assure a seamless migration process. Make sure to involve your community managers and your team in each step of the process.
With this online community migration guide, you can hit the ground running.
Let’s get into action.
Let me take you behind behind-the-scenes for some context first.
You’ve chosen a new online community platform after carefully analyzing several options. Finally, you landed on the right platform, such as GroupApp. I’m 100% sure you made this decision in the best interest of yourself and each of your community members. Kudos to you!
You have set up the platform, and it’s ready for onboarding.
Now, it’s time to safely migrate your most-cherished achievement, your established community.
How do you plan to do that? Anyone can make a boring announcement and leave saying like “Hey, I got a new community platform; come join me there”. But you are going to take a different road here. You need to do it in a well-planned manner.
I do not want you to lose loyal community members here. Let me tell you how you can retain and bring your community members to the new platform in a systematic manner. This is very important if are migrating from a Facebook group or any free forum.
To prepare for migration, you need to prepare yourself first as a community leader. Be clear on your expectations from the migration. Acknowledge the concerns and risks that a community migration might cause.
For instance, you may be concerned about losing community engagement and member trust. It is normal to feel that way, as these concerns are real.
Accept that you might lose some members. That isn’t easy, but that’s how it is. You cannot keep everyone.
However, you can totally do your best to migrate all of your members to the new platform.
Set a member count goal that aligns well with your business goals. However, the pace at which you achieve this goal can prolong the migration-in-motion period.
Here you are going to give your migration a compelling outlook for real. You will be leveling up your community on the new platform. Why?
You need to incentivize the process for your community members. This will make your migration compelling and increase success rate when you announce it.
You need to enhance your community’s offerings and experiences in a way that offers extra value.
Important: For this, you need to first move all your community resources (if any) such as online courses, accessible documents, and media to the new platform.
You have to build additional value on the existing community structure you have. capitalize on that.
If you are moving to an online community-focused platform such as GroupApp, you will have a range of key features to play with. Here are some ideas.
You need to provide additional value. It’s a great way to get community members to join and participate in your new community.
Your members should feel like the migration will upgrade their experience when you announce it.
Your migration announcement is going to be pivotal. Make sure it pivots in your best interest. For that, you need to plan it well.
First, create an effective announcement strategy: Here’s how you can do it.
Don’t forget to schedule an announcement date and time!
For community leaders coming from free platforms such as Facebook groups, any community forum, or any other social media platform, this will be new. After all, you will be making money now.
GroupApp offers the simplest method to deploy membership pricing strategies and models. You design plans according to your business strategy. Plus, you can set access for members according to their payment plan.
If you need any help, check out my detailed guide for membership pricing strategies.
As I mentioned earlier, you would have to provide your members with some attraction to your new platform.
Offering value through discounts is the OG way to get sign-ups and is still effective. Everyone loves to save some bucks.
You can offer your existing members a certain discount on your plans or a free-first month on the new platform. Trust me, it’s going to work!
We are getting there!
This is a crucial stage. You need to think about your onboarding strategy. It has to be simple and effortless, not only for your clients but for you as well.
First, you will require an onboarding method. GroupApp provides two simple methods for onboarding.
Here’s an effective strategy for you.
Pick any number of members (say, 20 – 50 ) that are highly engaged in your community. Give them exclusive access to your new community through early onboarding. Use them to initiate discussions and populate your community. GroupApp has an effortless feature to initiate discussions. Next, in a given period (say, 30 days), collect feedback for improvement.
Finally, invite the rest of your community members to an even better platform.
Quick Tip: You can customize your onboarding plan according to the different groups and membership levels of your community.
Good to know: How to Set your Invite Page at GroupApp?
Finally, it’s time to announce your migration!
When your community members know, you are halfway there.
Make sure to implement your announcement setup that I stated above! You are going to ace it.
Once again, be transparent. Plus, explain to your members how onboarding will be performed. Most importantly, talk about the new membership pricing.
You should start promoting your migration as soon as you announce the migration. Feel free to use your social media, existing online communities, and email marketing. At this point, your migration announcement email sequence should be running.
Quick Tip: You can announce your migration on different dates set for different groups and membership levels of your community.
Your community runs on your members! That makes total sense to get feedback from your members. Ask your members what they think about migrating to a new community platform. Address their concerns.
Here are a few ways to get member input in a proper manner.
Make sure to take feedback into due consideration.
Quick Tip: Try to incorporate requests from your users into the new platform! This will work wonders and give your members a sense of value.
It’s about that time!
Now, you will officially kick off your migration period. Please note that the duration of this period varies. However, you will need to have a specific period in mind.
I recommend allocating at least 3 weeks for the migration-in-motion period.
Let me walk you through some essential steps in this stage.
Start your onboarding process as scheduled and according to the plan.
After a reasonable number of members have been onboarded, host a launch party. Hold a live stream with any special guests or giveaways.
At your launch party, interact with your members. Most importantly, thank them with your heart. Share your vision and goals.
A new email sequence is a must! It keeps your members in the loop as they join the new platform.
With GroupApp, you can automate your email sequences using third-party integrations. This way, you can accelerate your migration-in-motion period.
In your email sequence, talk about updates and tips for the new platform. You can ask for feedback as well. Another great idea would be to share the progress on the new platform.
It’s time for the migration period to enter the final stages!
Set deadlines for the members who haven’t joined the new platform. You can send soft reminders in a sequence toward the final deadline.
After all, you have to leave the old platform.
Important: In case you are coming from a platform with paid memberships, make sure to set the deadline according to the payment cycles of your members.
Quick Tip: Hop on 1-on-1 calls with old members. Ask them what’s stopping them. Work out solutions if possible. Share the value and benefits of joining the new platform.
Promotions should go strong! Utilize all channels, including your old community platforms. Using your email list would be a great idea. You can share progress and welcome new members on the new platform. Keep them updated with new events, courses, and other highlights.
After your migration member-count goal is reached, conclude your migration period. Kudos to you! Please note that promotions, email sequences, and new onboarding will still go on.
But we are not done yet. Time to wrap some stuff, right?
Here’s what you have to do.
This is important! Pick a date for officially closing the old community account. Keep it internally. On that particular date, you will deactivate your account on the older platform.
Important: This date has to fall ahead of the final deadline for your old members.
After some time into your post-migration phase, stop posting on your old platform. This will signal to your old members that they need to join the new platform for the latest content.
Send a final email to your old members. Indicate that the community will not be operational after the deadline set in the migration-in-motion stage.
As I mentioned earlier, you might lose some members. That’s okay. Focus well on the members who migrated.
Send a nice farewell email to the old members showing your gratitude.
After the deadline has been reached, it’s time to properly welcome the change. Make sure to clear all the member and community data from the old platform. Clear any payments due. Finally, request account deactivation.
Congratulations on pulling off a successful online community migration!
If you have chosen the best community platform, like GroupApp, you are off to a great start. You will not have any problems with community management. It is a community-focused platform. GroupApp is free of any unnecessary features, it’s exactly what you will ever need in building and managing a thriving community.
Improvements are always around the corner at GroupApp. Plus, dedicated customer support is always by your side.
I highly recommend checking out my interview with Stream Like A Boss founder Tanya. Tanya made an informed decision by migrating to GroupApp. Check out Tanya’s successful community migration story right here!
And, if you have not chosen a platform yet, it’s about that time.