Using the power of social media to unite and organize communities
Communities are like minds – the more connections, and the greater the flow of information, the better they function. The Internet, and more specifically, social media, is an excellent way to facilitate community building. Simply put, when people are aware of what's going on where they live, they're much more likely to become involved.
In her book, Mastering the Business of Your Association, Jane Bolin explains, “If you want your community to be more engaged, you should communicate with them more. Having a monthly newsletter, a website with ongoing updates, and a way for owners to easily communicate with their board can lead to a healthier association.”
With communication being the key, it's easy to see why social media can be such a powerful community building tool. Social media provides community members with a platform to discuss their concerns and raise awareness to important issues.
5 tips for using social media to build your community
- Find a leader. There needs to be at least one person at the helm, updating social media platforms and keeping efforts focused and organized. The ideal person for this position should not only be well organized and focused, but a strong motivator, with a solid understanding of what it takes to engage people on social media. Within a community association, the Community Association Manager (CAM) is often the go-to partner.
- Be relevant. When you boil it down, social media is a platform for stories. Just like any author or filmmaker, if your stories don't relate to your audience, you're going to lose them – quick. Is there a littering problem in the neighborhood? Is there a proposal to install a neighborhood pool? Or maybe there's a block party coming up that everyone needs to know about. The idea is to create a social media location that members of the community feel compelled to check on a regular basis to stay informed.
- Stand up for a cause. Life moves fast, time is a precious commodity, and sometimes it takes leadership to get people involved in a worthy cause. With this in mind, you should be on the lookout for issues concerning the community that aren't being expressed by residents and business owners. This can create an anchor for people to weigh in on a specific issue, or motivate them to raise new concerns.
- Get them involved. Social media also offers a terrific opportunity for community members to provide feedback. Consider it as a comment box that will not only make your community stronger, but at the same time let everyone know you care.
- Send newsletters. Some people don't visit social media outlets, however, they do still use email. Newsletters can help expand the reach of your message, while at the same time letting everyone in the community know your efforts are alive and well!
What it all comes down to is…
…Communication! Building a community begins with communication. The goal is to open lines of information between board members and the community at large so people are informed, and therefore motivated to become involved. Fortunately, social media provides a direct link between community organizers and their constituents, so everyone can be on the same page, fast. But communication is only the beginning.
For more information on how to unite your community, and growing your association, download Mastering the Business of Your Association today!