Across the globe social media is used to communicate to the masses on a personal and professional level but have you considered how social media can help benefit your condominium corporation? Social media would be a great way to keep your residents informed and help build a social relationship with them. But it’s not as easy as you think to implement a social media strategy for your condominium corporation.
Building a strong social media presence among your residents requires more than just a few random Facebook or Twitter posts. You must take a moment and plan your social media strategy so that your communication will help strengthen your community. In addition, there is a major cost savings to use social media as a communication tool for your community instead of printed mass mailings. Plus social media is a platform that offers real time communication with your residents. Overall, using social media will save your community money while being time-efficient with your communication efforts. So what do you need to know to create and implement a successful social media strategy? Let us give you a few tips:

1. Know your objective.
As you begin planning your social media strategy determine what you want to achieve from your social media efforts. Would you like to keep residents informed of building updates and news? Maybe you would like to use social media to boost resident participation? Your objective is completely up to you but make sure that everything you post reflects this objective.
2. Choose your platforms.
There are so many social media outlets to choose from that sometimes it’s hard to determine which one is best for you. From Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to Instagram to Pinterest, there’s so many options with so many different features to offer. Most condominium corporations find Facebook and LinkedIn to work best for communicating with their residents.
Furthermore, Facebook offers a great events feature that allows you to easily post an upcoming community event and track RSVPs. Then you could send reminders to your event via Twitter or LinkedIn.
3. Assign a social media manager.
Once you have created your social media pages you must assign a social media manager to oversee all social media activity. This would include posting content, reviewing comments & feedback, then responding promptly and appropriately. This can be a big task so look not only within your property management team but also within your committees and residents to find the right person for the job. If you need further guidance to pick the right social media manager reach out to your condominium property management company.
4. Engage with your residents.
To effectively communicate through social media you must have an audience of followers. It is important to make sure your residents are aware of your social media channels. You can provide links and information to your social media channels on your community’s website, in your community’s newsletter, on resident notices, at community events and at your Board meetings. Below are a few additional techniques to engage residents:
  • Take advantage of polls and other Facebook tools to obtain information from residents about events and topics of interest – then use their feedback to help plan community events.
  • Cross-promote your social channels by featuring photos and posts from community residents in your other communication channels, such as newsletters.
  • Create contests for residents, such as photo captioning contests, to boost their participation and engagement.
  • Create photo albums and upload photos from community events.
  • Use Facebook’s Events feature to create and promote community events, and don’t forget Twitter and LinkedIn for sending updates and reminders.
  • Looking for community members go join committees?  Your social media platform can be a valuable as part of your recruitment strategy.
  • Have a community improvement project underway? Document its progress by including photos taken at each stage to keep residents updated – and part of the process. 
  • Share news about community members with newsworthy stories or achievements – but be sure to get their permission first!
  • Ask for feedback and opinions directly. Let residents know their viewpoints matter.
  • Use your channels to help grow social clubs for community members with shared interests.
5. Use available technology.
Is your condo professionally managed? If so, your management company may offer customized property management software that includes social components. Here at FirstService Residential we offer each of our properties the FirstService Residential Connect platform.
“We tailor our proprietary FirstService Residential Connect platform to meet the needs of all of our managed communities, and it has become one of the most popular ways for residents, Board members and the management team to connect, interact and communicate,” says Michael Bodner, Director of Property Solutions at FirstService Residential.“FirstService Residential Connect also facilitates the creation of private community websites, where community members can get info, view a calendar of events and join social groups to interact, post photos and more.”He adds that FirstService Residential Connect is accessible via computer, tablet and mobile device, so users can virtually connect at any time, and from any location.
6. Create committee groups.
Social media is not only a great way to communicate but to also collaborate among committee members. Encourage the chairs of your committees to create private social media groups for members to brainstorm and exchange ideas.
7. Put a policy in place.
A solid social media policy will help protect your condominium corporation from liability while making your program more effective. There are a few basics that your policy should cover:
  • Determine who has access to your social media sites.
  • Define who can post on your social media sites.
  • Do not allow negative, inappropriate or defamatory comments.
  • Abide by residents’ privacy rights regarding your published information.
  • Establish the right for the Board to remove user comments that violate standards.
  • Have a screening process for all content.
Facebook will allow you to post guidelines to outline your social media policy. Twitter has a protected/private feature that will allow only selected users to see your tweets. With LinkedIn, your official page won’t allow much interaction but if you have a LinkedIn Group formed you are allowed to post rules of engagement and manage your group settings.

8. Board members be cautious.
As a Board member or even a property manager, you should avoid any direct conversations with community members through your personal social media channels. Personal relationships displayed over social media can be perceived negatively and cause issues for you as a Board member. So be careful with whom you agree to “friend” on your social media.
9. Know what to keep offline.
When there is a formal Board decision it is best to not communicate this through social media. In addition, Board actions should not be determined based on online discussions. It is key to remember the main goal of using social media is to building a sense of community through communicating public information and events.

10. Know the law.
Understand that copyright infringement, violating privacy rights, plagiarism or causing emotional distress via social media can possibly have your condominium corporation in legal trouble. Remember that once you post something online it is there forever – even if you delete it – so be cautious and think over each item you post.

Social media can be good or bad depending on how you use it. If wisely implemented and used successfully, social media can garner you condominium corporation substantial results. If used incorrectly, social media can cause stress and potential serious issues for your corporation. For more information on how to use a social media strategy effectively to create a tighter well-informed community, contact FirstService Residential today!
Tuesday November 03, 2015