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[ENG] How to successfully convert your platform and breathe new life into your community

Вопрос

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Do you have a community but are looking to move to a more modern and feature rich platform?

There's a lot of ways Invision Community can breathe new life into your community. With our engagement features, advanced promotion features and mobile ready responsive themes, your members are going to love the changes.

Invision Community can power your entire site, from the content management front end right through to your download areas and shopping carts.

Imagine not having to juggle a dozen plug-ins and make several different applications talk to each other.

We offer a range of migration tools for vBulletin, xenForo, phpBB, Vanilla, bbPress and more. These tools convert your data such as members, passwords, forums, topics, posts and more across to Invision Community.

But first, let's look at how to make your migration a success.

Take our demo for a spin
Hands down the best way to get a feel for Invision Community is to take out a free demo. Once you are comfortable with the suite and know what it can do, the more confident you will be in discussing it with your members.

There's a lot of functionality to discover. Keep in touch with our sales team to get the most from the demo.  We recommend that you consider three uses.

Your community. Look at how they will settle in with the new interface and how they will use the new features on offer.

Your moderators. Take a moment to look in the Moderator Control Panel. Run through all the tools that are available, such as the warning system and content review system.

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Moderator Tools

Your administrators. Probably the largest change between platforms will be in the Admin Control Panel. It's worth spending a little time getting familiar with it and looking at what's new, and where common tools are such as forum and member management.

Tip: Invision Community's Admin Control Panel has a global search bar to look for settings, members, invoices and more. If you ever feel a little lost, enter in what you're looking for.

Make your plan
Using the demo and speaking to our sales team will help you draw up a migration plan. You'll know which apps you'll need, and what data can be migrated over.

You may want to browse the marketplace to look for apps, plugins and themes to extend the functionality even further.

Tip: We offer a VIP migration service where we work closely with you to draw up your plan and take care of the conversion for you.

Educate your community
Keep your community up to date with your migration plan. Show them the platform they'll be using. Take videos and screenshots showing them the exciting new features coming soon. Make it a positive and fun experience.

Post something new every few days to get your community used to the idea and get them involved by asking them if they have any questions. Our sales and support teams are here to help you if you have any further questions at this point.

Getting the majority of your community excited about the change is the best way to make the transition a smooth one.

Make sure you explain the benefits of the switch too. If there's a good reason for it, your community will get behind it quickly.

Some benefits may be:

It works better on your mobile device and tablets, so you don't need to struggle with pinch and zoom to get around.

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Mobile ready out of the box

The built in embed system allows you to post images, YouTube videos more easily and you can preview it instantly as you type.

The crowd sourced moderation makes reporting bad content more beneficial. It'll help to keep the community clean from undesirable comments and moving a positive direction.

More features on the way. Invision Community is always adding new functionality based on our customers' wishes. These releases happen often so there's always something to be excited about.

Pick a day
The best migrations are planned down to the date and time when the data conversion will occur. Our team can give you a rough idea of how long the data conversion will take. It will vary but we can give you a ballpark. 

Your members will feel happy knowing what is going to happen and when. There will be some downtime while the data is converted, so it's always best to announce this well ahead of time.

Set up a test site
Once you are committed to switching, set up a test site. A single Invision Community license can be used for a development installation as well as a live installation.

This is the perfect time to work on your theme and look at any tweaks you'd like to make.

Invite in your team and a trusted few from your community to offer feedback and advice. It's worth taking the time here to make sure everything is perfect for when you do the final conversion.

Make it comfortable
Take some time to theme your new Invision Community so it has a similar look and feel to your existing community. Change resistant members will feel more comfortable if there are areas that are familiar to them.

Ensuring your branding is up, and the colours match what you had before is a good start.

The easy mode theme editor is a great place to start.

Mind your language!
There are always little differences in the interface language that may throw some of your older members off. For example, some systems use "threads" instead of topics and "messages" instead of posts.

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The easy language editor

Invision Community has a built in translation system so you can change our interface language to match your existing site.

Help your members
Set up a temporary questions and answer forum where your members can ask how the new system works and give you feedback.

Pin a handful of topics explaining where common items are now, such as how to edit your profile, how to send personal messages, how to mark the site as read and so on. Think about the daily activities your members make and explain how to do them with Invision Community.

You can use the pre-move time to ask your community what actions they do daily and may need assistance with on the new platform.

Be patient
Some of us dislike change. We are creatures of habit. You may find some members are very resistant. That's OK, they'll come around in time as long as you continue to make them feel valued and understood. Take the time to explain how the new system works and what the benefits of Invision Community are.

In our experience, members love the following Invision Community features:

Notifications
Invision Community has a variety of granular notification options, from browser to email so you're sure to not miss a thing.

Mobile Friendly
We're mobile friendly right out of the box. Our theme has a responsive framework, which means that it resizes perfectly to any device you're using. No need for extra themes or styles, it's all baked in.

Gamification
We all love a little friendly competition don't we? Invision Community has features like the leaderboard and member titles to reward activity. Who doesn't want to win the day?

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Reactions
Liking content is fun, but being able to express thanks, laughter and more is even better. It's all baked into the system ready to use.

Educate your team
Invision Community has a whole host of moderation tools that your team will love as it makes their daily routines much easier.

From the comprehensive warning system, to the crowd sourced moderation feature, which can automatically hide content and notify moderators once it has been reported multiple times, Invision Community makes your moderators lives easier.

The best approach is to pin topics in a team area that explains how to use these new features and where to find them.

Summary
Investing in a new community platform and migrating your community across is a big decision. With the right planning and forethought, it will be a smooth and positive migration with lots to look forward to once complete.

We offer free conversion tools for you to use, or we offer a VIP conversion service where we take care of it for you and you get one-to-one help and support throughout the process.

We'd love to hear from those who have successfully migrated across from other platforms and how they made it a positive experience for their members.


 

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