Social Media for Housing Trusts – Part 1
The use of social media within housing trusts in the United Kingdom is in its early stages: according to recent reports, only 8 out of the top 20 housing trusts have a social media presence, and most of those are not what would be considered advanced or sophisticated when compared with other commercial sectors.
So what is holding back Housing Trusts from engaging in Social Media?
There are 3 very clear reasons why adoption has been slow: and what is interesting about each of these is that they are the very same reasons we see in all types of commercial and non-commercial organisations throughout the country.
Fear of brand damage
Having your staff answering questions, engaging in online conversations and creating content expressing opinions and discussing their experiences sounds like a nightmare for anyone concerned with the brand image of an organisation, especially when on almost a weekly basis, we hear of some terrible faux-pas committed by a celebrity, sportsperson or political figure on Twitter or Facebook. The good news is that with the right training and processes in place, this is very easily handled successfully – and we should know! We have managed to get some of the largest legal firms in the UK to deal with this type of issue, as well as all of their regulatory compliance rules.
The bottom line of all this is that if you are comfortable with your staff speaking to people over the phone, you should be comfortable that with a little training and the right guidelines in place, these same people will be able to successfully take these conversations online.
Concern over negative comments
“Surely I don’t want to create a platform where people might complain about things?” is a common question we are asked. The fact is that if people are going to complain and say bad things about you and your organisation, there is no shortage of online places where they can do just that. The biggest problem you will have is that if lots of those conversations are happening online but you don’t even know about them – getting involved in social media at the very least allows you to see what is happening, and at the very best, allows you to respond in an efficient and professional manner which becomes visible to others and so improves your reputation and level of customer service.
Isn’t all this just extra work?
Perhaps one of the most important things we have learned through working with organisations of all types and sizes is that any new project must have clear and relevant objectives. What this means is that you must identify how a social media approach can help your teams achieve the important issues they face today: additional benefits are all very well, but it is employees’ important objectives right now which will drive the initial success and mean they are willing to spend time on social media.
So, set the right objectives and the project will take on a life of its own, with employees willingly spending time on the use of social media.
So these potential problems can all be easily overcome (in fact that is exactly what we do for organisations) but the other side to this equation is that a successful, strategic approach to social media will bring some very substantial advantages.
Part 2 of this blog will go into more detail on these potential advantages – you can read this by clicking here.