Effective communication builds trust. In an HOA environment, the absence of solid information can spur rumors. Rumors cause agitation. Agitation makes the board’s job that much harder. So, getting ahead of gossip and conjecture will make for a much happier subdivision.
The other upside? By sharing details of upcoming improvements for example, you may spark the interest of homeowners and encourage them to get involved. From there, you can designate committees to handle certain tasks and perhaps take a little off your board’s plate!
It doesn’t take much time or money to establish the platform that will speak to your community. After that, it’s just a matter of consistency.
Whether digital or printed, the format of bulletins is familiar to most. You will need to consider the demographics of your residents as a percentage of seniors don’t have computers or smart phones so wouldn’t have easy access to a digital message.
Perhaps you can look at printing a limited amount and having them hand-delivered to some. Or posting them in the clubhouse. Taking a poll will help decide which way to go.
- Creating the monthly or quarterly newsletter itself need not be an expensive venture. Mail Chimp offers a free account for up to 2000 subscribers and then incremental pricing kicks in from there.
- You needn’t hire a graphic designer to create a layout. Templates of all lengths and types are easy to generate and customize by dragging and dropping content blocks. You can add a host of document types as well as audio files.
- Then it’s just a matter of adding relevant images and hyperlinks to the community’s social accounts. Once built, you can clone the template to use again and again.
- Upload a simple CSV file with names and email addresses to establish your database.
- Get creative! Interview residents, take polls on fun things and report results in the next edition. Check out the 80+ Best Poll Questions to Ask Your Online Audience.
The goal is to be informative, entertaining, and reliable. That’s how you achieve a high open rate and keep the naysayers at bay!
There are three secrets to a robust online presence that keeps people both engaged and in the loop:
1. Select wisely. Unless you have a department dedicated to social media, keeping up the digital pace is time consuming. Experts say it’s far better to pick two platforms and make them sing rather than trying to juggle five and fall flat.
Facebook and Instagram are easy enough and one click will share your post from one to the other. Again, consider your audience. If the majority of residents are plugged into the Twitterverse, then that’s where you need to be.
Like the newsletter, finding out your residents’ platform of choice will help ensure that they’re (literally) getting the message!
2. Post regularly. Social accounts can gain traction quickly, but interest will plummet when they are ignored. Besides posting the link to your monthly newsletter, take pics of HOA improvements, images of residents sharing a laugh at a board meeting, and even items of local interest like new restaurant and fitness center openings. Ongoing updates on projects and social announcements are of course essential. Plan your months in advance by establishing a content calendar.
More is better, but since your audience is a select one, even just posting a few times a week will make a huge difference.
3. Engage Consistently. Unless you disable comments, you haven’t any control over what people post. You may get plenty of likes and shares, but actual words will stand out.
Like any public relations pro would tell you, either get ahead of the story or address a complaint head on.
For example, if there’s a whiff of a special assessment, that news will spread faster than fire. As soon as the assessment need is determined, put it out there with a clear explanation as to its justification.
Secondly, never ignore complaints on social. Respectfully respond and suggest a conversation to mitigate the situation. If a ball got dropped and the protest is legit, just be honest about what happened. Honesty is everything.
Professionals from every industry embraced conferencing like never before in the midst of the pandemic. HOA boards everywhere were holding their meetings with third-party software like Zoom, Skype, and GoToMeeting.
While there’s nothing like the in-person experience, you may find it a cost-effective sidecar to continue to send a video invite to every board meeting so invitees may join from everywhere.
If you decide to leverage a social account, suggest board members record videos with updates and info about improvements. It’s a great idea to show personality and commitment to the community by interacting in this way. This method is more valuable than hiding behind letterhead; it humanizes your efforts.
Besides offering another dynamic means of conveying important info, once websites are built, they are relatively inexpensive to maintain. Sites are the spot where you can:
- Add condo docs
- Maintain resident directories
- Send invoices
- Post meeting minutes
- Accept trouble tickets for repairs
- Provide updates on renovations/projects in progress
- Post blogs about home improvement, etc. tips
- Keep archives of previous newsletters
- Offer tee times for booking
- Accept messages from residents
- Have custom coding created to execute specialized tasks
The added plus of a community website is that it can showcase your community’s profile to buyers interested in a home in your subdivision. Perception is important and a well-tended website will demonstrate that your board and the community have a vested interest in providing useful and timely information.
HOA Management Software
As a community management business, we appreciate how these specialized programs help generate invoices, dispatch communications, house databases, access documentation, enforce CC&R, schedule events, and maintain accounting records.
They are, however, expensive and there is a learning curve to setting them up properly. As most board members are volunteers who typically have other demands on their time, this is one place where we come in…to assess your needs and devise the best plan to keep your HOA machine running.
At the end of the day, you know it’s not easy to please an entire community of residents all the time. But when you select a communication method that best suits and you use it consistently, you’ll make a tremendous improvement in the quality of life – across the board!
In-House TV Channel
Check with your cable provider about dedicating a channel residents can switch to for updates. The easy administrative interface allows the addition of music, images, and of course text.
Keeping things simple is typically the best way to go!
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.