Like the rest of the tech world, social media has come a long way. Years ago, My Space was the only game in town. Today, the social platforms count comes in at over a hundred.
There are shoppable sites like Pinterest Product Pins and Shopify; social media live streams like Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok; business platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter; and discussion forums including Reddit and Quora. And here’s a look at the other ninety!
Whichever you choose, when you understand your objective and know your audience you may build a strategy tailored to your community.
Devising Your Social Media Plan
From repair updates to dates and times for neighborhood events, your social pages will provide the hub needed by HOAs of all sizes.
One of the golden rules for social media success is to determine which platforms best suit your needs; then pick three and use them efficiently. It’s far better to keep up with three than do a shoddy job with five. And selecting only one platform is of course fine too.
In mainstream media, Facebook offers a great deal of flexibility. Instagram is sharp and to the point while YouTube provides the magic of video. (A picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth a million.)
Once those decisions are made you may wish to consider a dashboard like Hootsuite to administer all your accounts from one place and even schedule posts in advance. This product boasts a decent number of packages from which to choose and 30-day trials for a couple of them. Further down on the “plans page” you’ll find the free version which might be a great place to start! Or stay!
Put the most professional foot forward when you imprint all communications (on paper or online) with your logo, tagline, color scheme, and select verbiage.
If you haven’t a graphics resource at your disposal, Canva is a super affordable and easy to use program where you can create the right sized image for any platform. You can even upload photos to this site and add captions and special effects for use anywhere. Simply select the platform for which you are designing so when you download the final design everything stays in frame.
With the paid version you can create let’s say an image for Facebook. Canva will then automatically resize it for any others. With the free version, you just need to resize the posts manually. Here’s a great guide to social media sizes in general.
Whenever you are connecting with your community, it’s best to have rules governing that communication set in stone. A couple things to remember:
- Your digital footprint is forever. Don’t post anything you wish you could take back.
- You can’t control content on a shareable platform so keep it professional.
- Best to designate one person and a back-up to administer your pages.
- Respond to critical comments as soon as possible along with suggestions for resolution.
- Determine how often the page will be checked to respond to comments.
- Decide how often you plan on posting if you are going beyond “announcements” and wish to showcase the community’s lifestyle, etc.
- Create a content calendar to plan holiday messages and schedule them ahead of time.
With your guidelines in place, it’s time to have a productive conversation with the board and perhaps even your property management company to nail down what you wish to accomplish.
A recurring theme on select days is something residents will appreciate. Consider on a consistent basis:
- “Did You Know?” posts about the history of the area
- Fun facts about your state
- Health and wellness tips
- Summer and holiday recipes
- Home safety tips
It could also be fun to profile residents who have interesting stories to tell.
And of course, always post about:
- Club activity dates
- Board meetings
- Upcoming deadlines
- Photos of community events
- Updates about ongoing projects
- Outages and their resolution
- Area road closures
- Details about evacuations and shelters during hurricane season
Sharing posts from local authorities and trusted resources also has a place on your content calendar.
We do recommend exercising caution if the plan includes posting memes or even the “joke of the day.” Unfortunately, everything is not funny to everyone so refrain from content that anyone would consider lewd, racist, or politically bent.
When you determine your objectives and the type of content you wish to create, you will set your standard and your residents’ expectations.
Although the word “social” conveys a departure from formality, these platforms are the face of your community. While they are certainly an incredible means of communication it is imperative to only post what is yours to post.
Sharing and commenting on a local event, etc. is one thing but copyright laws need to be observed at all times. If you post a quote, info, or image, cite your source. Also strive to maintain your board’s integrity by not violating the privacy rights of anyone. If you have any doubts, consult with your fellow board members.
Attorney James R. McCormick Jr. is a partner at Peters & Freedman LLP in California. He represents associations and advises, “Avoid posting any information that might be a breach of someone’s privacy or that might waive someone’s privileges, like the attorney–client privilege.” He has also said, “Avoid posting information that will have a negative effect on sales in your community. Example? ‘We just fired a staffer because we found out he was committing fraud.’”
Unlike Kevin Costner’s vision in Field of Dreams, just because you build it doesn’t mean they’re going to come. Gather your audience by making sure they are aware your board has established a Facebook or other social accounts. Let them know what information they’ll find there. Ask them what information they would like to see.
Put the time in before the launch to generate a buzz about the place residents can go for all the pertinent info they need to know. Make whatever platform you choose unmistakably your own with plenty of pics of the grounds and the residents. (It’s probably not a bad idea to get verbal permission to use a resident’s image.)
Social media, in one form or another, is here to stay. It can serve as a lifeline to people everywhere. As long as you’re strategic, these platforms will promote communication, establish neighborly ties, and strengthen the happiness of your entire community.
In the community management business for over 25 years, Ameri-Tech has earned its outstanding reputation by employing top executives, senior staff property managers, and a host of specialized professionals. Working in association with all manner of contractors to oversee 30,000+ units in the Tampa Bay area, the organization also boasts certifications in emergency management response services. If you are interested in a no obligation presentation to learn about the Ameri-Tech difference or to have your company considered for their Preferred Vendor Program, contact Sharon Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 727-726-8000, extension 246.