Going Virtual: Strategic Communication
The role of communicating with residents has never been so essential as it is now. Do you have a strategic plan in place, who does what and how can you ensure the right message gets out at the right time?
Frankly, everyone has a part to play in making sure your communications are aligned, informative and consistent. There are 3 areas in which your association can achieve a strategic communication plan: residents, board members and committees — implementing such a strategy involves all three groups.
The Board's Part
Keeping your residents' spirits high comes with being a leader, through all circumstances. Here's how you can continue to do your part as an outstanding board member:
Foster a community where residents can feel safe. Homeowners want to feel proud of the community they invest in. Maintain a strategic communication plan by consistently checking in with your management company, other board members and basing your decisions on those connections and other resources, like the CDC and the WHO.
Fairness and honesty. Now more than ever, transparency is key to maintaining communal harmony. While homeowners have access to the same daily information as anyone, personal and honest communication from their community leaders can be just as reassuring. It shows that while you're focused on your well-being, your association's well-being is just as important.
Access to documents. With cleaning and social standards being updated nearly every day, it comes as no surprise that residents have a lot of questions, many of which can be found in your association's governing documents. Even so, unprecedented events may not have the complete answers they're looking for. During this time of transparency, it's also essential that you work with the board and management company to provide timely information that put residents' minds at ease. A simple email, social media update or online community newsletter will show you're focused on daily tasks and time-sensitive communications.
Open participation. As a community leader, being open to the full support of your residents comes with involving them in online discussions, virtual meetings and elections.
The Resident's Part
Every homeowner has an advantage in ensuring the talk of your town is accurate. They have close ties with their neighbors and keep a watchful eye on what's happening around them. Their voice matters and should be considered in how reliable information becomes available. Here's what the resident's part looks like:
Engage with your community. From voting in electronic elections to joining a committee, there's a lot of ways residents can make their voices heard. Don't miss an opportunity to virtually connect with community leaders and neighbors, on social media or via email, to stay informed and encourage each other. Mediums like online polls or specialized groups are great starts.
Provide updated contact information. Sharing an updated phone number, email address and emergency contact information with your association ensure that community leadership can reach you in all forms, especially during critical times.
Be honest and respectful. Know that your board is working overtime to calm anxieties in your community. Lend a hand to those efforts by continuing to build healthy relationships with those leaders and your neighbors. Staying connected generates a greater sense of community and an overall positive outlook on the situation we face.
Be knowledgeable and flexible. Understandably, some communities share a feeling of uncertainty. Carefully reading your governing documents and staying updated on current information from the board, you can rest assured that all communications, from the management company to the property manager, are carefully crafted and cognizant of your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
For Boards: Implementing a Strategy
Your social media page, website or email strategy acts as the official brand of your community that allows your association to get connected and stay informed.
For an email strategy, boards can rest assured that this form of communication, sent from an association account, is transferred securely and can include community information in its most granular form. Every board communicates differently, so the amount of details disclosed is at the board's discretion. There are several timely strategies worth delving into:
When it comes to your social media strategy, keep in mind that as community leaders, you're also your association's brand ambassadors. Create and maintain a space of respect and positivity. On the other hand, know when to step into a discussion that doesn't reflect the association by taking it offline and addressing the concern.
Rally the troops. Some residents may be more than willing to help their community. To help get your communications strategy started, consider creating a Social Media Committee. Made up of resident volunteers, this committee works with the board to develop digital communication strategies, including how often to post information and the type of content you want to share. Start on the right foot with a calendar to help you plan social content.
E-Newsletters are important, too! E-Newsletters are a great way to get quality messages to your residents. Check in with your community manager on available options that meet your association's needs.
For even more information on just how valuable effective communication strategies are to communities across the country, download our recent Communication Survey Report today.