I wanted to start an "advice" thread for people who are considering (or are in the process of) moving from another platform to xF. General advice regarding keeping your membership informed and on-board.
I'll start, and if anyone else wants to chip in, feel free:
- Involve your moderators and key members - get your staff/team on board at the very start and maybe include some of your key longer term or most-valued members. Let them know why you want to change and ask them to help you with the migration - they can act as support for you when you do move over, especially as you might have your hands full with the technical side of things.
- Retain your style, colours, and theme as best you can - people really don't like layout changes at the best of times, so changing the colours, logo, etc. at the same time as you migrate to xF will just compound any negative feelings about the change and may lose you members.
- Tell people what is going on beforehand - it's easy to forget, as you twiddle with the test install in the background, that your members are not as familiar with xF as you are, and do not know what it can/cannot do in comparison with your current software. Keep them informed and let them know when things are scheduled to happen so they're "in the loop".
- Let them "play" with it - if you are fortunate enough to be able to, before migrating let your membership play with xF. Let them post some general chatter so they can test-drive the interface and see how it all works.
- Setup a Migration-specific Support forum - Put it at the top of your forums and maybe introduce it when you open up the test site for them to play with. Be quick, positive and comprehensive in your replies, and this will give people confidence in the change-over.
- Get really familiar with xF before you migrate - crazy as this may sound, you need to be really familiar with xF before you migrate so that you can offer quick, and good support to your members. They are going to need your help and so you need to know how to do things before your membership fills up the migration support forum.