Five different ways housing associations can use Twitter
Having spent so much time concentrating on housing providers’ Twitter usage, I’d like to share the five most effective ways I’ve seen organisations use the platform.
To announce accomplishments
Perhaps it’s too obvious to state, but Twitter is a great platform for shouting about your organisational milestones, whether it’s a development story or the fact you’ve received an award. Via Twitter, the audience can quickly get a grasp of your story and recognise your organisation’s achievement. The right people retweeting your news can mean your story is read by more of your target stakeholders than if you were to get an article published in a trade publication.
To handle customer enquires
Many housing associations hesitate to use social media channels due to the possibility of negative content. We’ve all seen negative tweets from housing association customers, often about repairs. It’s so easy for an unhappy customer to tag a journalist or politician into their tweets, which is why it is so important to be able to respond to these as quickly as possible, and also to move the conversation offline.
I’ve noticed that more customers are asking housing associations neutral questions on Twitter, such as “Am I allowed to have a pet?” or “Can I fit a new carpet?”, with answers they could perhaps look up for themselves. However, by responding with a quick direct message (DM), you can save everybody time, and help ensure the individual feels valued.
It never ceases to amaze me what a tight community the housing sector is, and how much networking occurs. In real life (IRL) relationships are still important, but I have often seen new connections being made through Twitter comments. For example, a consultant recently retweeted the news of two housing associations merging, congratulating them; the ensuing exchange resulted in the suggestion of representatives from the newly formed organisation meeting up with the consultant for coffee.
Also, I often see different housing professionals ‘shouting out’ compliments to one another via Twitter, which can be crucial external endorsement.
To engage with residents and external stakeholders
Twitter can be a place for daily discussion between your organisation, residents and external stakeholders. For example, a resident can ask a question about Voluntary Right to Buy, or a journalist can throw out a question about what housing associations are doing in readiness of Brexit.
In the last few weeks alone, I have observed an assistant director of development’s lively debate over a particular planning application, and a HR manager answering questions about gender equality on Twitter
To market new homes
Developing organisations can advertise new homes for sale, either for free, or by paying to promote Tweets. There are plenty of sales executives and marketing managers on Twitter, who frequently publish details about their latest developments. When they tag and engage with the right audiences on the platform, the content they share, and the ensuing engagement with potential buyers, can ultimately lead to a sale.
Yerin Seo is Account Executive at See Media.