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Tips for Announcing A Brand Community Closure
You hate to see it, but for some brands, it has to happen. There could be a number of reasons that contribute to the closing of a brand’s online community. This post is not going to cover or speculate on those reasons, because they likely vary. Instead, this post will cover my recommended best practices for communicating this news.
Note: These communications are about final closures, NOT migrations.
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Elements of a Closure Announcement
What makes for a great piece of communication on this topic? IMHO, it’s one that includes all of the following:
Compose the message from a compassionate tone of voice. Thank or acknowledge the members who utilized the Community, and make it evident that you know this closure is likely detrimental and unexpected to them.
Provide a call-to-action. Let members know how they can still stay engaged with the brand. Provide a link to another place they can still follow or interact with you. This could be a blog, newsletter, or social media channel.
Write the announcement like you’re talking to a friend, not a board of directors. The announcement should live as a post somewhere on the Community, even though you may use the copy (or an abbreviated version) in the email itself. In the Community post, it helps to add more details, like an FAQ. People will want to know why the decision was made. Bonus points if you leave the comments on for this post. You actually might find that some members want to leave very personal messages and testimonials about their experience on the Community.
Be up-front about data/content. Within the same post (mentioned above), include a paragraph that states exactly what will be done with each member's data/content, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to delete your account before the community closes, should the member wish to do so.
Set proper expectations. Let the members know the specific date the Community will close, as well as if any functionality/areas will be closed before that date.
Tips from More Community Pros
Don’t just take my word for it. There were 10 other talented community pros who chimed in about this very topic on LinkedIn. Check out the discussion!
Below you’ll find some examples of closure announcements. None of them have ALL of the elements I recommended above, however, you can still be inspired by their wording and tone of voice.
Athleta (Read the full post here. The image below is from the emailed communication, sent in July 2023.)
REI (Email below was sent 2 weeks prior to the closure. The REI community closed in July 2022.)
IKEA UK (This email was sent, via private message, with only three days’ notice.)
4. Superside (This email was sent July 20, 2023.)
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