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Communication Channels to Build a More Connected Community

By Ashish Patel posted 08-04-2022 13:08

  

Effective communication is vital to a community’s success.  Through better communication, boards and managers can operate the community more efficiently together and build trust with residents.  However, in an ever-changing world, it can be challenging to choose communication channels that are best suited to your community.  In this post, you’ll learn the importance of having multiple ways to communicate and common communication channels.

Why it’s important to have multiple ways to communicate:

  • Better reach and engagement - Your message will get across more effectively when you communicate through channels your residents prefer. 

  • Meet different needs - Text messages and phone calls are the quickest forms of communication during an emergency.  Community newsletters to keep residents informed of community ongoings are best conveyed through email.  

  • Comply with regulations/governing documents - Every community’s governing documents or state laws differ, so it’s important to understand what they require to be compliant. 

Now that you understand the role that good communication plays in your community, we’ll delve into some common communication methods you can use to keep residents informed.

Email

Email is a quick, convenient, and inexpensive way to communicate with your residents. It’s also one of the best ways to send out mass communications.  Its non-intrusive nature and the fact that almost everyone has an email address means you can communicate respectfully with the largest percentage of your community. 


Best for:

  • Notices – Send notices about important things happening in the community.
  • Reminders – upcoming events, maintenance alerts, or payments due.
  • Events – Invitations to board meetings or other social in-person or virtual events.
  • Customer service – Updates on resident support requests, maintenance, violations, or architectural change requests.
  • Newsletters – Digital newsletter showcasing the community’s culture, achievements, upcoming events, and more.

Phone Calls

An automated phone calling system translates your text into an audio message to place hundreds of calls in just minutes.  It’s a great method to incorporate into your communications mix because almost every individual in the United States has access to phone lines.  It’s also a great option for elder demographics who may not have text or email.  For your community, automating phone calls reduces costs and increases staff efficiency over traditional methods like placing individual phone calls. 


Best for:

  • Emergencies.
  • Reminders.
  • Maintenance alerts.


Text Messaging

Text messages have one of the highest open rates of all communication tools.  According to studies, 99% of all text messages are read within just 3 minutes of receiving them. Text message is becoming a preferred way to communicate because it’s fast, convenient, and cost-effective. 


Best for:

  • Short and concise messages.
  • Regular reminders.
  • Maintenance alerts.
  • Emergencies.


Social Media

Social media is a great tool to keep residents informed and cultivate a sense of community.  It’s also a fast way to communicate with residents.  Social media also reduces your communication costs over other traditional methods because platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free to use.  


Best for:

  • Inviting residents to events
  • Sharing event photos
  • Keeping residents informed of local causes or businesses they can support.
  • Share expert tips on educational topics such as how to improve property values or ways residents can get involved.

Disadvantages:

  • All conversations are out in the open for anyone to see unless using a private group.
  • Residents may use social media platforms to share their frustrations about the community and its operations. Conversations may at times spiral out of control, leading to friction among members.
  • When you’re on a public platform, the community’s information and issues become public, leading to a loss of data privacy.

When done right, social media can be a great way to keep residents connected about social events happening in the community.  Generally, social media should not be used for official community business.  However, it's a good tool to increase engagement by sharing information about upcoming social events or tips, as mentioned above.  To gain the most benefit out of social media, it’s important to delegate the responsibility of monitoring conversations and reducing any friction that may arise. 


Conclusion

Since there are so many methods of communication available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.  However, you don’t need to use every channel that’s available.  It’s essential to use tools that cater to your residents’ needs and that comply with local regulations or governing documents. 


Read More

To learn more about other modes of communication, advantages, and disadvantages, read our complete blog post here: https://www.pilera.com/2022/01/hoa-communication-tools.html 

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