Getting your System Community-Ready

By Daman Arora | July 19, 2019
With Steps 1 and 2 out of the way, you’re in a great spot. Your internal team and key users from the test group have been helping populate your media management application and you’ve been tagging all of your students in photos. If you’ve finetuned your content structure and are feeling pretty confident that your community will love what you have in place for them, it’s time to think about opening up the platform to your wider community. 

How to start?

Come up with a strategy to launch to your full community. Just like you did with your soft launch, a few things should be in order:

1 – Feedback from the Soft Launch

It’s imperative to review all the feedback from the last ‘test’ round and refine your strategy accordingly. If you didn’t get much feedback from test users during the soft launch, take matters in your hand and conduct a questionnaire. Here are some sample questions you may want to ask around:

  • Did you understand what the platform was and why it was being used when you were granted access? 
  • Was it easy to navigate through the content structure?
  • Could you figure out how to do what you needed to with the training material that was provided?
  • When you were granted access, where the things you could and should do clear? 
  • Was there anything else we could have shared with you that may have made it easier to dive into the platform?

Example: If you found out that people would have much rather been given a list of things to do when they first log in, creating a “Getting Started” checklist or to-do list may be worth putting together. This could help all your new users learn how to navigate through the platform a lot easier. 

Once you have collected this information, look for things you can tweak before the official launch. The more prepared you are when introducing the platform to your community, the easier it will be for them to adopt the platform and stay engaged. 

2 – Identify roles and permissions to provide to all your different groups of end users

Who needs access to the system and how much should be granted to them? Here are a few questions may want to discuss with your team:

  • When we invite parents, should we invite students too?
  • Should parents be able to upload their own photos? 
  • Should parents be able to download photos for personal use?
  • Should students be able to upload or download photos if they are invited to the system? Or should they only be able to view the content?
  • Will specific groups of student users such as the yearbook team need to be able to upload and download?
  • Will certain parents need more permissions because they are champion parents or professional photographers who help take photos at your school?

List these scenarios internally and be sure to determine how much control you and your colleagues have as administrators over the access that can be provided.

Customizing roles?
If the media management tool which you work with allows you to create custom roles, think about who you need to provide these privileges. If you can build custom roles, you can likely change the roles for those people on the fly. Confirm this within your platform before you start assigning people roles that can’t be changed!

Tip: It’s always easier to give a user more permissions than it is to take away permissions from them! This is particularly relevant to parents. You may not want to have a conversation with a parent who really enjoys the ability to download photos but now no longer has that permission because they have been publicly posting photos of other students to Facebook.

Here are a few examples of user types to keep in mind when granting permissions:

  • Teachers
  • Staff
  • Marketing Team
  • Parents
  • Class Parent
  • Highly Engaged Parents
  • Professional Photographer
  • Students
  • Yearbook Team
  • Yearbook Advisor
  • Coaches

3 – Build awareness and introduce the platform

It’s time to do some PR work. Introduce your application to your community and start building awareness around it using your everyday channels and popular events, such as:

  • Email newsletter
  • Parent visit night (announcement).
  • Brochures in welcome kit for parents at the start of the year. 
  • Your LMS tool

Put the word out through multiple channels and do so frequently! This content will be helpful when preparing your community for what is coming.
Additionally, encourage your internal and test users to generate some buzz as well using word-of-mouth. People are much more likely to give the platform a shot if they hear about it from friends or colleagues! 

Resources: It may be worth looking at the support materials provided by the vendor. Can any of these items be shared out to your community to build awareness? Make a habit of sharing resources and training with your initial test group, whether its videos, support articles, or best practices. It’s also a great idea to create a specific group email address that you and your internal team can share and moderate if anyone has an inquiry (i.e. 

4 – Provide easy-to-digest training material 

Not knowing how to use a new platform can also be frustrating for users which could result in them simply giving up. Be ready for this by sharing out training material well in advance that your community may benefit from. 
Once again, depending on the vendor of the platform, you may have a Client Success Specialist that is dedicated to your school who may be able to help you put together some training material that you can share out.

Tip: Certain people may need more training than others, so curate material for them accordingly. For example, your yearbook team may need to do more than a parent or student, and teachers may need access to advanced features that may not be applicable to others. Understand what each user type will need to do and build ‘modules’ for them. This will minimize incoming support questions from the community.

5 – Share best practices and suggestions

Tips and tricks, experiences, suggestions…these add another level to the ‘how-tos’. To prepare your community even more, provide some guidelines on:

  • Standardizing the format for naming albums.
  • Standardizing the format for naming context tags.
  • The quality and format of images that should be uploaded.
  • What users should or shouldn’t do with school content they download, especially those that contain others in the photo that are not the children of the parents downloading images. (Example: to not share those photos publicly on social media or any other public sites).

6 – Invite users to the platform

At this point, everyone should be aware of what they are using, why they are using it, and how to use it. You can now go ahead and invite your entire community.
It’s a snowball effect! 
Continue to promote the platform and encourage your users to participate whenever you get the chance. You should especially encourage your faculty and staff to get involved as a steady flow of new content will keep bringing your parents and students back into the system. Once the momentum picks up and everyone is on the same page of the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’, you’ll notice that the adoption of the platform will continue to grow.

About Daman Arora: Daman has been as a Customer Success professional for almost 10 years, working with some of the largest companies in the world, such as Salesforce. He has also been a part of a 3-person startup! Now, he is managing the Vidigami Customer Success and Support team, sharing his years of experience to provide the best possible service to each school that uses Vidigami.