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Top content from across the community, hand-picked by us.

What lessons can you learn from a discount fashion retailer?
Two headlines caught my eye today as they appeared side by side in my newsfeed.

On first glance, they seemed contradictory.

The first was that the UK lost nearly 2,500 shops and stores last year and the second is that discount fashion retailer Primark has just invested £70m in a new store in Birmingham.

This new store covers 161,000 sq ft over five floors and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio, a gents hairdresser and a Harry Potter themed section.

If the UK is closed thousands of stores, and a recent department store has just fallen into administration why would a brand invest £70m in a new store?
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Master your community's lifecycle to increase your growth
We all seek success with our Invision Communities. For too many of our communities, however, we yearn for success but we don’t plot the correct navigation to get there. We haphazardly pursue our strategies, trying new ideas and hoping one will stick. It’s time to take a step back and assess your goals in context to your growth. It’s important to understand the stages of the community lifecycle, and to strategically match your goals with your growth sequence.
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Why did Lush quit social media?
"Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead."
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How I Started My Community - Part 2 Building Engagement
We catch up with Helen for a progress report on how her new community "The Dogly Mail" is faring.

"We recently broke the 100 member milestone and that all came from word of mouth. We’re not talking huge numbers but I’m very encouraged for the future. My focus is now on building interactions with four main areas of the site."
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Case Study: Building Safe Spaces for The Trevor Project
Every day, LGBTQ young people from all walks of life log into TrevorSpace, the world’s largest moderated safe space for LGBTQ youth online.

TrevorSpace is a service from The Trevor Project, the foremost suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth in the world.

TrevorSpace is growing by over a thousand new members every week.

Here's how they use their Invision Community.
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6 Degrees of Separation
We do love a parlour game at Invision Community HQ and we were playing "6 degrees of separation" recently.

You've probably heard of the "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon". This is where you try and connect any actor with Kevin Bacon in 6 steps or less.

So let's try "6 degrees of Invision Community". This is where we try and connect a person with an Invision Community.
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Why I try and avoid the F word in public
I've had this similar conversation dozens of times in the recent past when someone has taken an interest in what I do.

Person: So what does Invision Community do?
Me: We develop and sell an independent community platform.
Person: Oh. Neat.

I used to say the F word. But this used to cause some confusion.
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How To Create Value from an Online Community
For too many communities, strategy revolves around two simple pillars: content and engagement. You inform. You engage. And you think your job is done. However, you’ve barely scratched the surface of offering value.
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Podcast with Matt: Facebook or Forums?
I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak on the Expert Focus podcast,  hosted by experienced community manager and public speaker, Claire Dowdall.

Claire has significant experience in managing and developing strategies for increasing Facebook Group engagement for high profile speakers and entrepreneurs, while my background is with independent communities.

This set us up nicely for a lively conversation to really pull apart what makes for a successful community, and what platforms to consider when starting out.
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10 Tips For Converting from vBulletin to Invision Community
I interviewed 6 former vBulletin admins who are now Invision Community clients.  Most of these vBulletin admins have 10+ years of experience running successful forums, so their input was especially insightful.
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Don't hide your community away!
One of the first things I do when visiting a site that I know has a community is to try and find it.

More often than not, it's hidden away in the footer links or buried in several sub-menus and labelled something relatively obscure like "Fans" or "Support".

This is a massive lost opportunity.
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How I started my community
In this new series, we hear from new community owners and follow their journey from opening the site to nurturing the fledgling membership.

In this article, we hear from Helen who shares her experience with opening a site catering for dog owners.
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4.4: Converter updates to make migrating to Invision Community even easier

We want to ensure that converting from your existing community platform to ours is as seamless as possible.

While we do have a migration service available where we take care of everything for you, we do also offer a DIY option.

We took some time to overhaul the conversion process for those opting to convert using our free tools.
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How to beat your competition
The Internet is a fierce battleground for users, clicks, attention, and audience. Competition surrounds your community from all angles and new threats constantly emerge.

The Internet has leveled the playing field for local businesses, solopreneurs, and small organizations which means more people than ever are competing for users. Online communities are no different, and as companies realize the growing power of communities, you too may face more challenges.
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Team Talk: Your favourite 4.4 feature?
Release parties at Invision Community are a fairly tame affair. You'd think after months of planning, coding and testing we'd want to cut loose and dance the night away.

The reality is we send each other a few amusing GIFs in Slack and then wait for support tickets to start appearing while our developers crack their knuckles and prepare for bug reports to be filed.

We did manage to find five minutes to ask the team what their favourite feature of 4.4 was.
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Welcome to Invision Community 4.4!
We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.4 is available to download now.

After months of development, over 1650 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of questionable coffee you can now get your hands on the beta release.

The incredible power of anonymity when growing your community
When you allow your members to take back control of their privacy, you are empowering them to make decisions about what to share.

Given how eroded our privacy is in our modern always-connected world, this is a precious gift.
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2019 Year of Community
It's a new year, and a new beginning. And the possibilities are endless for you and your community.

It’s an exciting time to be leading an online community with Invision Community - whether you’re starting out or switching over - and the new year is the perfect opportunity to start anew.

How are you celebrating the new year with your community? What are your community goals for 2019?

To kick off the new year, I’ve outlined guidance for several types of communities, whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to take your community to the next level.
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Test drive Invision Community 4.4 now!
We've upgraded our own community for wider testing.

A big focus has been on page speed, so you will notice that our community is significantly faster that it was on 4.3.
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4.4: Recurring PayPal Payments and more with Braintree and Commerce
Braintree is a payment gateway provided by PayPal which provides some great additional features for PayPal transactions including a significantly improved recurring payments model. We are delighted to be bringing full support for Braintree for Commerce in Invision Community 4.4.
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Which hat do you wear?
A successful community manager is a combination of so many things.

Being a successful community manager demands that you be a multi-faceted person and to apply a dynamic personality to a position that’s always in flux. You’re the authorized ambassador of your organization; you’re the chief moderator who sets and enforces community guidelines; and you’re the counselor and friend to all of your peers in the community. You may also be the one who updates your community suite, approves members, and manages the moderator team. Oh, and you find time to be the social media coordinator, digital designer-in-training, and all-around fantastic human being.
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4.4: New Email Features
It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps.

And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email?

Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention.

Let's take a look at three new email features.
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4.4: SEO Improvements
It's been said that the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google.

While we can't promise to get you to page 1 for a generic search term, we have taken some time for Invision Community 4.4 to do an SEO sweep.
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Interview with Michael Rielly of ClausNet.com
Did you know that the most magical community in the world runs on Invision Community?

For close to 12 years, Michael has been spreading joy through the ClausNet, the world's largest online community dedicated to the faithful portrayal of Santa Claus.

We speak to Michael on how he uses Invision Community and engages with his unique community.
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Team Talk: Where in the world would you like to live?
Sun kissed beaches or snowscapes? Bustling cities or quiet villages?

The question we posted this month was: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

In theory we could work from anywhere in the world that has a decent internet connection, but where would we choose to live?
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