More and more organizations are fed up with Facebook and moving their communities to private community management platforms.
A multitude of reasons are driving this decision, from wanting to take back control from unpredictable algorithms to the lack of tools to meaningfully engage and scale a community.
Whatever your reason, moving your community from Facebook to a private community platform can be a daunting task—to say the least!
Let's take a look at some of the things you can do to help ensure a successful transition to a private community platform.
1. Define Your Migration Strategy
It's official. You're moving to a private community platform!
The first thing you need to do is outline the migration process step by step. Here are some steps to consider:
- What is the deadline for the migration?
- What existing resources and content will you bring over from Facebook?
- When and how will you communicate the move to your members?
- How will you support members before, during, and after the migration?
- How will you organize the beta testing of the new platform?
- How will members join the new platform?
You need to decide who in your team is responsible for each step, as well as the timeline for each step.
If possible, involve your new vendor to help you plan the migration.
2. Involve Your Community
You don't want the platform change to be a surprise sprung on members at the last minute!
Involve your community in the process as much as possible.
Start by clearly communicating why a platform change is so necessary and all the wonderful benefits the new platform will bring the community.
Survey your members to discover what content and features they enjoy in the current community and what they would like to see in the new community! Member feedback will drive success on the new platform and strengthen your relationship with members by demonstrating that their needs and opinions are central to your community!
Once you've locked in the date, make an official announcement detailing the date the new platform will be live. Be sure to repeat the benefits and clearly explain what the members have to do to join the new platform.
3. Leverage Your Community Champions
Get your most engaged users' buy-in early on. Ask them to beta test the new community platform and share feedback!
This influential group will help you bring other community members on board by generating hype and convincing them that the move is an awesome idea.
Get more details on how to leverage community champions in your community strategy with this handy guide.
4. Give Members a Reason to Move
People tend to be ok with change if they understand the reason for it and see value.
When communicating the move to your members, you need to showcase the new community platform's clear value!
What will everyone benefit from? What will members do on the new platform that they couldn't do on the previous? Will members be able to participate more? Will there be new types of content and events? Shout the benefits loud and clear!
5. Create an Inspiring Landing Page
How will members join the new platform? Do you have an existing mailing list? Or are you going to ask members to go directly to the new platform and sign up from scratch?
The first thing members will see when they sign up for your new community is your landing page, so make sure it is impressive!
You want members to land on this page and be inspired to sign up immediately (not put it off until later!).
Also, before opening the (virtual) doors to your new community platform, be sure to populate it with quality content! You can also reach out to the community champions and ask them to generate conversations!
6. Create an Awesome Onboarding Process
You want your members to get to grips with the new platform as quickly as possible. When structuring and designing your new community platform, you need to keep your user's journey top of mind—what parts of the platform will your members be visiting first?
In addition to this, put together an outstanding community onboarding process. A great onboarding will excite members, inspire them to take an active role in your community, and reinforce your relationship with them.
Share quality resources with them, organize welcome webinars, explain how exciting new features will benefit them, suggest groups they should join, and tag them in important discussions in the forum.
7. Don't Forget Your Old Space
Continue to monitor your Facebook group for any newcomers that might have stumbled upon the wrong channel (or even members who have been offline and missed the newsflash).
Of course, you should direct everyone to the new community. However, you could also keep your Facebook group open as the freemium version of your community if you charge membership on your new platform.
You could offer members using the freemium version the possibility to comment on daily threads organized by moderators to get a taste of the community. However, make it clear that if they want to post, attend events, and access content, they must join the private community.
8. Set Realistic Expectations
Switching community platforms is a change and will be met with some grumbling and resistance.
Being there for your community members throughout the transition is crucial. You need someone on hand to answer any member questions or concerns along the journey.
Set realistic expectations with your team and key stakeholders and let them know that registered members will dip. However, you will be left with your most engaged members who are most aligned with your community's mission!
Sure, there will be some complaints about small things. And that is ok. The majority of people will get used to the new platform, especially when they witness first-hand all it has to offer!
[Webinar Reply] Moving a Community From a Facebook to a Private Community Network
Gin Stephens founded Delay, Don't Deny, a community of intermittent fasters, on Facebook. To better scale and facilitate more meaningful engagement, she decided to move her community to Hivebrite's private community management platform.
Watch our one-hour webinar with Gin and discover more about why she moved her community to a private community platform, how she ensured members moved with her, and what she would have done differently.
Hivebrite is a comprehensive and flexible community engagement platform. It empowers organizations of all sizes and sectors to launch, manage, and grow fully branded private communities. Schedule a demo today!