When you log into social media, there's a certain excitement that comes with not knowing what you'll discover. That statement couldn't be truer for owner’s association social media accounts. Every day there's something new to post, someone new to talk to and different things to learn. But what happens when you log on to your association's page to find a negative comment or unhappy resident? To reply or not to reply, that’s the question!
Throughout this article, we'll identify various social media users, responses to consider, and crafting better responses when engaging on social media. But first, let's recognize the common types of social media users.
Misguided Resident: This user is misinformed about community news and posts half-truths on your association's social media page.
Unhappy Customer: Perhaps you've done everything in your power to resolve the issue or maybe you wish you could've found the right solution, but the unhappy customer shares information on social media that speaks to their negative customer experience.
Dedicated Complainer: Not quite the same as an unhappy customer, a dedicated complainer might regularly visit your social media page and share rants or satirical content.
Troll: A troll visits your social media page to post content that contains offensive language or violates community rules. Remember, it's your page, your rules. If you see any content that violates your community guidelines, you are within your rights to delete or block the user.
Now that we know the type of social media users, it's time to think about how you'd respond to them. Let's get started!
Whether they're a resident or good friend, this user typically shares positive or helpful content.
This one's easy: reciprocate the kindness! Thank them for taking the time to visit and engage with your page and use this opportunity to build a brand of friendliness for your community.
2. Misguided Resident:
This user is misinformed about community news and posts half-truths on your association's social media page.
While it's hard to make everyone happy, there is a way to respond to a misguided resident with transparency. Whether they missed a significant board decision or are unclear about the CC&Rs, use this encounter to share information that respectfully contradicts their opinion, then direct them to the correct information with an updated link.
4. Unhappy Customer:
This person has had a negative customer service experience and often simply posts issues to be noticed and resolved.
Unhappy customers usually break down into two categories: looking for information, or negative experience. If the former, simply assist the user in finding correct information or direct them on to your management company. If they’ve had a less than stellar experience, respond by thanking them for their concern, taking action to fix the issue and sharing your action plan.
4. Dedicated Complainer:
Not quite the same as an unhappy customer, a dedicated complainer might regularly visit your social media page and share rants or satirical content.
There's no question that complainers make situations more challenging to deal with, but you can't take these interactions personally. When dealing with a dedicated complainer, there are two things you can do as a social media manager: cite your sources or adhere to your community guidelines. In some cases, all it takes is for you to share relevant, updated information with the dedicated complainer. There's a 50/50 chance that pointing them in the right direction is just the response they're looking for. As for the other 50% chance, your helpful reply may only add flames to the fire. If this user still isn't satisfied, take the conversation offline to work toward a resolution before taking disciplinary action.
A troll visits your social media page to post content that contains offensive language or violates community rules. Remember, it's your page, your rules. If you see any content that violates your community guidelines, you are within your rights to delete or block the user.
There's only one way to respond to trolls, block them. Offensive language and hate speech shouldn't be allowed on any online platform, social media or otherwise.
Okay, since we know how to respond on social media, let’s think about the characteristics of a reply. Before you hit that send button, let’s explore 5 factors your response should include:
If you live in Texas, you may be familiar with the well-known campaign put out by Southwest Airlines, “Transfarency.” Their website describes it as a “philosophy in which customers are treated honestly and fairly.” When developing a reply to a resident, honesty and open communication is critical. Decide if replies will appear as from the board or a moderator and stay consistent. It’s okay to say you don’t have an immediate answer but be sure to follow up later.
Your board and management partner should be the “source of truth” for information about your community. When appropriate, include hyperlinks to webpages, articles or management websites to direct residents to accurate information. Many questions can be quickly addressed if your management company has a 24/7 Customer Care Center.
It takes time to build a well-rounded response. Re-read it several times to save you from simple spelling and grammar errors, then consider creating a document to store common, board-approved replies as a timesaver.
The most difficult part of any digital reply is the absence of tone and body language to drive meaning. We suggest reading your reply aloud to see how it sounds. Another quick tip: get a second person to read it and share their input.
As we know, leadership begins at the top. So, your replies carry great weight! Set the expectation high by thinking about how to keep your replies positive, respectful and service-minded.
Managing a social media account is no easy task, especially when you're responsible for acting as the voice of an entire community. But creating a strong online presence, building an engaged following and developing guidelines that show your community in its best light will help set the tone for how residents and boards communicate with each other.
Download a one-page version of our Social Media Decision Tree by filling in the form on this page or share the online interactive version with a fellow board member on Facebook!
Fill in the form to download a one-page version of our interactive tool.