Hey, that's pretty sneaky, HAWK!
That wasn't the topic I remember reading, but maybe this a good time to start this conversation. I'll try to summarize our current reality and my vision as concisely as I can...keep in mind I've been working/researching this for 6 months so it may be hard to keep this brief.
For years, our organization's customer community has been relegated to various Facebook groups that were created by customers who wanted a place to help each other use our product, connect to our partners, get ideas and strategies, etc...
At the end of last year, we decided it was time for us to solve some problems:
- Facebook groups don't provide a great way to index knowledge...timelines are ephemeral. Our product and product line is complex and requires a more robust solution to organize and index meaningful conversations for others to benefit from. Basically, we want to offer better self-help service than Facebook can provide.
- We have passionate customers that want to talk about our product and about how to solve problems in their business. It's hard to manage all those conversations on various Facebook groups that we don't even own. We know that we can provide better service to our customers with a platform that we can manage and report on...a single platform that we can more easily connect customers to our Support and Partner network.
We deployed an instance of Discourse in late March as an experiment and so far we are loving the results. We have 400 members (customers and partners) that found the page organically and I am meeting with customer marketing tomorrow to bring it to market!
My question is, how do we transition our current customers from the various Facebook groups (that are not owned by us) over to our new platform? I'm not entirely comfortable promoting our community to these groups. I feel that in order to move people to our community, we have to prove a value proposition - an actionable reason for them to join our community.
My current thinking is that this is going to take time. We start by focusing on "new" customers entering our ecosystem. I've teamed up with Support to help answer "how do I" questions and I created a "Founder's Group" comprised of top-tier partners who have been instrumental in helping customers in the various Facebook groups to assist with the more strategic questions.
Is this a solid strategy for transitioning Facebook users to our own community? Should I be more aggressive? From a platform standpoint, we have SSO enabled with our product, so signing in and using our Discourse instance is pretty easy.
Looking forward to your replies!