I used to live in a funky old house subdivided into six apartment units for almost three years. I live in a college town, so the other units see a lot of turnovers. Every time I see a moving truck in the driveway, I sniff around outside, waiting to meet my new neighbor.
Many of these people are unaccustomed to an easy display of neighborly kindness and look horrified from the moment they realize I‘m about to try and talk to them. But this kind of neighborly communication does more than make sharing a house easier—it keeps tenants from asking the landlord or property manager about the same concern or issue multiple times.
While you can’t force your tenants to start a weekly potluck, building an online space for them to interact with you and each other is beneficial for everyone.
Online Community Benefits
The world has rapidly evolved into a digital age, profoundly impacting the way people interact and communicate. In this context, setting up an online community for residents in a residential complex has become an increasingly popular concept.
An online community is a virtual platform where residents can connect, share information, and foster a sense of belonging. Let’s explore the numerous benefits of establishing an online community for residents in a residential complex, emphasizing the positive impact it has on communication, social cohesion, and overall quality of life.
Enhanced Communication and Information Sharing
One of the most significant benefits of an online community for residential complexes is the improved communication channels it offers. Traditional means of communication, such as physical notice boards or newsletters, can be limiting in terms of the information they can convey.
On the other hand, an online community provides a centralized platform for announcements, event schedules, maintenance updates, and other essential information. Residents can access this information at their convenience, ensuring that they remain well-informed and engaged with community activities.
Strengthened Sense of Community
In a bustling residential complex, it is not uncommon for residents to feel disconnected from their neighbors. An online community provides a virtual space where residents can connect and interact, breaking down physical barriers and fostering a sense of belonging.
Regular interactions on the platform create a virtual neighborhood, where residents can share experiences, advice, and engage in discussions that enrich their lives. As relationships flourish, trust and camaraderie among neighbors are strengthened, leading to a more tightly-knit and supportive community.
Improved Safety and Security
An online community can serve as an effective tool for enhancing safety and security within a residential complex. Residents can report suspicious activities, share security tips, and receive timely updates from the management or security personnel.
Additionally, in case of emergencies, an online platform can be used to quickly disseminate information and coordinate responses, ensuring the safety of all residents.
Increased Resident Participation
Engaging residents in community events and decision-making processes can be challenging through conventional means alone. However, an online community encourages active participation by providing an accessible platform for residents to express their opinions, suggest ideas, and collaborate on various initiatives. This heightened engagement boosts the effectiveness of community programs and enhances the overall living experience.
Efficient Issue Resolution
In any residential complex, concerns or issues may arise from time to time. An online community offers an efficient mechanism for residents to report problems and seek assistance from the management or fellow neighbors. This transparent approach streamlines issue resolution, leading to quicker responses and a higher level of resident satisfaction.
Access to Services and Resources
An online community can also serve as a directory of services and resources available within or near the residential complex. Whether it’s recommending local businesses, organizing service providers, or sharing beneficial community services, the platform facilitates the exchange of valuable information, making life easier for residents.
Tips for Setting Up an Engaging Online Community
Choose the right platform
In order to have an online community where residents regularly share information, you must choose a hosting platform that your resident demographic is comfortable with and willing to use. If your property management business already has a strong online presence that utilizes a social media site regularly, consider building a resident page using that same platform.
Your ideal renter is already online. About half of people who use social media sites are between the ages of 24-44, and users over 65 are the fastest growing group of new users. Choosing between a Viber or Facebook group page, a neighborhood email listserv, a company Twitter account, or another social media app depends on your resident demographics, your comfort level with different platforms, and your existing web presence.
Encourage member participation
Foster a sense of belonging by encouraging active participation. Prompt members to introduce themselves, ask questions, share experiences, and contribute to discussions. Use features that promote interactions, such as forums, chat rooms, or commenting systems. Allow members to connect with each other and form meaningful relationships.
Organize regular events or contests to keep the community engaged. You can even implement gamification elements, such as badges, points, or rewards, to motivate members to engage more actively and create a sense of friendly competition.
Remember to appoint moderators or community managers to maintain a positive environment. They should monitor discussions, enforce community guidelines, and handle conflicts or issues promptly and fairly. Continuously collect feedback from your community members to understand their needs and preferences better. Use this feedback to improve the platform and make it more appealing to your target audience.
Regular updates keep the community alive
Encourage your tenants to use the online community by posting regular updates about the space they share. If your property management company website includes a regularly updated blog, share links to each new post for your residents to read. Include photos of the complex and the surrounding neighborhood, and post links about community events.
Post any pertinent information tenants need to know about their complex such as maintenance schedules, changes in garbage pickups, or other scheduled work that could interfere with the residents’ day-to-day movements. Post these noticed online even if you also send written or emailed notifications.
Ask for feedback from residents, and consider hosting a giveaway or writing resident profiles to keep people attentive to the page. Make sure your residents know you welcome their participation in the community by encouraging them to post personal updates about their homes.
Who benefits from an online community?
Embracing technology to build a thriving online community can undoubtedly transform a residential complex into a vibrant and interconnected neighborhood where residents feel valued and empowered.
Establishing open dialogue between you and your residents, and resident to resident, is beneficial to everyone. A regularly updated online community alerts you to problems and concerns before they grow out of control.
Giving neighboring tenants a neutral space to interact helps build stronger bonds between strangers. Moreover, a tight knit community encourages people to stay in place and continue to rent from you.
Managing an online community gives your company more legitimacy and web literacy, qualities that people expect from modern businesses. Providing an online space dedicated to current residents shows your commitment to retaining good tenants, rather than only using the web to find new ones.
For other tips on how to keep your tenants happy and get them to stay longer, check out our more extensive article on How to Keep Good Tenants.