Launching your online community is exhilarating! But we understand that it can be overwhelming—there are just so many things to do and check in the run-up to launch day!

Taking time to prepare a plan is critical for ensuring a successful launch and your community's long-term health.

Built from our experience in helping hundreds of customers launch their communities, this handy launch checklist will help you ensure success.

Questions to Ask Before LaunchingQuestions to Ask Before Launching

Start by asking yourself the following questions: 

Did you build anticipation? 

Start by promoting your community's imminent launch on your existing channels—your website, social channels, etc. Leverage your personal and professional network to spread the news of your launch. You could also consider working with related or complementary organizations to promote your community.  Read more on promoting your community here.

Is this a first-time community? 

If yes, create a welcome page explaining your community's mission, what users can expect from the community, and how to navigate it. Reach out to your Customer Success Manager for samples or inspiration.

Do you need a video? Videos are a fantastic content format for letting the users know what the community is about and what value they will get from being a member. You can make a video on QuickTime, iMovie, or any video editing platform. 

What information do you need from your members? Double-check the user profile data fields to make sure you are only asking for relevant information! Also, make sure you added the required profile fields to the activation form. 

Do you have content? 

No one wants to arrive in an empty community. Create and collect content and add it to the platform before the launch. Build a monthly community content calendar to keep content fresh and exciting for users as they trickle into the community. 

Did you set up Google Analytics? 

There are many web analytic tools you can use to collect website data, the most popular is Google Analytics (and it's free). Connect your Google Analytics account to your Hivebrite community to monitor your community's traffic and the effectiveness of your community strategy.

Did you update your SPF policy? 

The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication technique to prevent spammers from sending messages on behalf of your domain. You need to update it to ensure that invites sent from the Hivebrite platform don't end up in spam.

Is the custom label set-up?

Custom labeling allows you to provide your end-users with access to your Hivebrite community using a custom URL in line with your brand.

Did you get a second opinion? 

Ask your Customer Success Manager to score your content and give feedback.

The Importance of Beta Testing

The Importance of Beta Testing

Now that we have the above covered, we can move onto beta testing. Ask a select group of end-users to test the community, share feedback, and uncover bugs. Beta testing is the final round of testing to ensure you can resolve any eventual issues before the official launch. 

Your community should be fully ready before inviting beta testers. Here are a few points to consider for your beta test:

  • Your beta testers should be trusted friends, colleagues, and anticipated super users of the platform that you are confident will give honest feedback. 
  • Your invitation email must be compelling, highlighting the advantages of being a beta tester and expressing how important the recipient's feedback is to you.
  • A beta test runs on average for 14-20 days
  • Keep it a limited window for users to be invited, activated, and graze the platform
  • Set-up survey for end-users to provide feedback on content, user experience, design, etc

Surveying the beta testers is critical. Here are some sample questions you may want to ask: 

  • How was your experience with the activation form? Was it too short, too long, or just the right length of questions?
  • Did you complete your profile? Did you use the Linkedin sync functionality?
  • Did you RSVP or register for an event?
  • Did you create a post on the live feed? 
  • Did you join a group? 
  • Did you download material from the media center? 
  • Did you apply for a job?
  • Did you experience any bugs while on the platform? 
  • What do you think of the UX design? 
  • Do you feel compelled to revisit the community? 
  • What are you looking to get out of this community? What are you hoping to find?

Once beta testing closes, Admins should allow two weeks to consume feedback, deliberate changes, and consult colleagues, the Customer Success Manager, and Hivebrite Support.

Further Considerations

When you are ready to invite your users to the community, it is imperative to think of the time and day. Studies have proven that users have the highest click and open rate on Tuesday, followed by Thursday, and then Wednesday. Avoid sending out invites on Monday, Fridays, weekends, and holidays when users feel most overwhelmed or distracted. 

A successful launch will create a solid foundation for your community and pave the way for long-term success. And remember, Hivebrite's Customer Success Team will be on hand to support you and ensure you get the most out of Hivebrite's community management platform.

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!

Written by Carmel Lynn
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