Get the Word Out – Beating the Social Media Challenge
Perhaps the most compelling reason to consider creating an association website or other social media account with a message-board, is that if the board does not create one, an owner may. Perhaps one already has. By now, some board members have heard of websites created by owners that provide a communication forum for community association members. The biggest issue with these sites is that the board cannot control the platform. Some associations encounter dissident owners with “keyboard courage,” who say things online they otherwise would keep to themselves. Online posts can lead to rumors spreading rapidly throughout your community, leaving the board constantly playing defense instead of getting out positive messages.
By being proactive and introducing your association’s official website or social media platform, boards can more actively manage the environment of the message-board by removing inaccurate and harassing posts. Boards must use caution when on social media. A general rule is that if you would not respond to the question at an annual meeting, do not respond to the question on your communication platform. Avoid being baited into traps like responding to collection or enforcement questions. Any item typically reserved for the executive session portion of your board meetings should not be posted online.
As owners change the way they prefer to receive information, boards should consider creating an official social media platform to change the way the board provides information to the owners. With control of the platform, you will more effectively maintain a positive atmosphere in the community. Be careful responding on social media and consider contacting the owner directly before responding to a social media comment. A printed newsletter is no longer the most effective way to communicate with owners, and it certainly is not the most cost efficient method either.
Jeffrey E. Kaman is the Administration Department and Columbus Office Chairs. Jeff earned his law degree from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law, after graduating with honors from Loyola University Chicago with degrees in Honors History and Political Science.