Housing associations are still behind in social media and digital engagement with their tenants.
Online engagement between many commercial and charitable organisations and their clients and users has become very popular. However, many housing organisations have not succeeded as well as they could, in terms of widening their social media use.
Many commercial and charitable organisations engage more with their clients and users online yet housing organisations have been able to keep up and not kept up in terms of widening their social media use.
On average, housing organisations have only 0.5% of the social and digital engagement rates of not-for-profits on Facebook and 3.4% of their followers on Twitter.
Residents are not as engaged with their housing providers as they should be, and their voices are rarely heard on social media. Facebook is seen as the main way for housing associations to communicate with residents online and even though a lot has been invested in this area, it is not being utilised properly.
Social media can bring both challenges and opportunities to the sector. It provides a powerful and effective way of engaging with tenants and allows for housing associations to be more open, show value for money and help their tenants make decisions in a more effective way.
Listening to tenants’ positive and negative feedback allows housing organisations to obtain valuable advice from them on how to improve their services.
Social media can help to widen participation among tenants, and to connect better with some young people who may find it more difficult to communicate in traditional ways such as newsletters, phone calls and tenant meetings.
If any doubt is felt about the potential security risks of social media by the residents, then the organisations could run courses to help them to understand what is and is not appropriate to post online as this may affect their employment prospects.
Although a large proportion of social housing tenants do not have computers, many have smartphones. It would also be very useful if housing associations could create apps for tenants which they could use to pay their rents, report repairs or make general enquiries to staff members.
Overall, it is important for housing associations to establish social media as there are many opportunities and benefits that can be attained through the use of social media and technology.
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This blog post has been written by our sister company The Media Bubble who specialise in social media for the social sector.