These days, there are few people who don’t have a business website, a Facebook account and even a Twitter handle. It’s the same for buildings.
As the rise of online social media invades nearly every aspect of our daily life, co-op, condo association, HOA boards and savvy association managers have also embraced the medium as a powerful new tool for connecting and communicating with residents in their communities. Email listservs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and—more recently—custom mobile apps, have supplanted the mailroom bulletin board as the primary means of inter-building information exchange.
It didn’t happen overnight, however. Boards and management companies have modernized and broadened their means of communicating with residents through trial and error while exploring the benefits and maximizing the usefulness and impact of these new tools.
“Generally, the trend is for most associations to have a website. As part of our routine service we set up a website for every one of our communities,” says Elaine Warga-Murray, CEO of Regency Management Group in Howell, New Jersey. “It’s been our experience that once the website is set up, when a homeowner calls the office with a question we can direct them to the website and walk them through finding and/or printing the information that they were seeking. In addition, once the website has been established, it makes the manager's life a lot easier in that they can use the website site to communicate with homeowners (who register) through a global email system.”
There are no current statistics showing what percentage of buildings and HOAs are using websites to communicate with their residents. But local board members and management companies report that most of the larger buildings have some form of web communication ranging from email blasts (emailing the entire building at once) to full websites.