A great community is one that’s valued highly by its members. Value is what keeps members coming back, and it’s what all community managers are trying to create. Once value exists in a community however, it also belongs to that community. Members become stakeholders, with a strong social investment and a sunken cost of time and effort spent contributing. They may be posting on your site, but the content truly belongs to the community and those that contribute to it. Your role is as the gatekeeper and guardian of that community. You need to ensure that trust isn’t misplaced.
Community Can’t Exist Without Trust
When a community migrates to new software, members always ask the same question: “What’s going to happen to my posts?”. Unfortunately, more and more companies are unable to answer that question. Software vendors are increasingly likely to attempt to lock customers in by:
- Refusing to offer data in a useable format for migration
- Charging exorbitant fees for exports
- “Delaying” exports until after the expiration of contracts, causing a gap in service
Members of your community don’t care about the business angle of why community content was lost, they just care that it’s gone.
Businesses need to be able to answer that crucial question. The stakes are high, communities that lose content lose users in mass exoduses. No one wants to contribute to a community if they feel like those contributions could be lost at any time. Once trust is lost, it’s very difficult to get it back. Once your most valuable brand advocates are gone, they’ll stay gone.
Get your Migration Done Right
Moving to a new software vendor shouldn’t be a big deal. Losing members isn’t an inevitability, it’s a failure state. A well done move to a superior provider can save resources, increase engagement and improve ROI. A vendor that attempts to use your data as leverage to prevent you from leaving is a vendor that doesn’t have faith in their product (and they’d know). Find out what your vendor’s data policy is before you sign up. It might be the best chance you get.