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Oct 7, 2022

How to Use Social Media in Community Associations

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Stonestreet - Founder, CAMS (Community Association Management Services)


Community associations are finding more and more value in using social media to connect with their residents. It can be a great way to share photos from community events, announce upcoming events, and give residents a way to interact with each other online. However, social media is also Pandora’s box; therefore, board members must implement policies before using social media as an official communication channel for the association. This article will discuss some of the things board members need to consider when creating policies for social media use in community associations.

Why create a social media account for your association?

Community associations may choose to use social media for a variety of reasons. First, social media is an excellent way to keep residents connected. In today’s increasingly busy world, neighbors can find it difficult to stay in touch; however, many carry this resource in their pocket and check it regularly. Secondly, social media offers a great platform for announcing community events. There are endless possibilities for fun community events, from movie nights to food trucks. And finally, social media is a great way to show off the neighborhood. By posting pictures of events and everyday life in the community, potential buyers can get a sense of what it would be like to live there.

What should a social media policy include?

These days, social media is a powerful tool that can be used for various purposes, including promoting open communication and transparency within an HOA. However, if not managed properly, social media can also be a source of conflict and frustration for board members and community residents. Therefore, to avoid problems, HOA board members need to create a social media policy that outlines the rules and guidelines for acceptable content and ensure that resources are in place to manage the communication platform properly.

The policy should specify who will have access to the account, who can post, and who will be responsible for monitoring posts. It should also be clear that the board has the right to remove any content deemed unacceptable according to the policy. Finally, to ensure that community residents are aware of the rules, it is recommended to include a disclaimer before they register for the site or join the page. By taking these precautions, HOA board members can help create a positive social media experience for everyone involved.

Who will manage the account?

The board of directors must ensure that someone is accountable for moderating discussions and maintaining fresh content on the HOA’s social media page. Creating a social media committee to oversee the account and ensure consistent posts may be a good idea. Board and committee members should receive clear direction and training on monitoring the account and handling negative comments. In addition, by limiting the number of people who have access to the page, there is less confusion about who is responsible for posting and monitoring content. This helps to ensure that the page is managed effectively and efficiently.

Is there anything else board members should or shouldn’t do?
 

  • DON’T post copyrighted material. This can include songs, pictures, or anything else that is, well, copyrighted. 
  • DON’T respond to owner complaints. This problem could be squashed by having an admin monitor comments before they go live, but if you’ve chosen not to do that, the next best thing is to avoid engaging with irate owners on social media. If Chandler in unit B won’t stop talking about the bee’s nest near his front door, email him separately or give him a call. 
  • DON’T “friend” owners on your personal accounts. While this may seem innocuous on the surface, being friends with owners on social media could look like favoritism. Further, an owner may see something on your personal page and take it the wrong way, causing you a lot of trouble. For example, if you went to high school with Monica down the street, we’re not suggesting you block her, but be mindful of how that friendship may appear to other residents. Board members should consider making their personal pages completely private to avoid conflict.
  • DON’T share confidential information. Again, this is probably a no-brainer, but don’t do it. It doesn’t matter how ticked you are that Joey hasn’t paid his dues in three months and is ignoring the repeated violations regarding the chicken and duck he’s keeping as pets.
  • DON’T use it as a way to announce important stuff. Social media is not where you announce meetings or special assessments. Those things must be announced per your community’s governing documents and state statutes. 
  • DO treat the page like a business. No one wants to look at your community’s page and feel like they’ve just stepped into a fight between Ross and Rachel. The association is a business, and its social media should be treated as such.
  • DO make the page fun and engaging! The whole point of having a social media page is to have followers, right? No one wants to look at a boring, stagnant page. So be sure to regularly post updates, photos, and other things that show your community as the awesome place it is.
  • DO ensure a distinction between topics that can be seen by the public or information that should only be available to members/residents/owners.
  • DO include that disclaimer in an obvious place. You can even consider requiring registrants to click that they accept the terms before finishing signing up. Why does this matter? Some people love the excuse, “well, you never told me that” – if there’s a disclaimer that they’ve agreed to but didn’t read, that excuse won’t carry much weight.  
  • DO consult the association’s attorney when implementing a policy. When guidance is needed on handling a contentious issue, you don’t want to inadvertently publicize content or provide a reply to a post that may be deemed discriminatory.

Social media sites like Facebook can be an excellent tool for your community association if used properly. If you already have a page or are considering creating one, be mindful of the things we’ve discussed in this article. Come up with a policy and stick to it, carefully consider what you’re posting, and keep your page active. Social media will become a fun way for owners to connect and enjoy the community together.

About CAMS 

In business for over 31 years, CAMS is North and South Carolina’s premier community management company. With experienced local managers in each of its nine regions, CAMS is dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the community associations it serves. Additionally, CAMS was featured on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. To learn more, visit www.camsmgt.com/choose-cams
 
 

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