As a passionate user of social media, this is something i've been mulling over for a while. I think the opportunity for housing associations to use social media to improve their residents' quality of life is huge.
Some of the benefits that Paul has found:
- Being able to consult directly, quickly, cheaply and easily with residents
- Letting residents know about problems
- Checking whether residents are happy with work their service/quality of work
- Making it easier for residents to get to know their neighbours and build friendships
- Halting/minimising anti-social behaviour by empowering the silent majority
- Allowing residents who work/can't spare the time/have no inclination to contribute through traditional methods to have a voice
Paul has found that decision-makers (landlords) can be resistant because they can't see its value and are concerned about excluding those who already engage. A couple of challenges that I would also anticipate are:
- Digital exclusion - how can we ensure that everyone has equal access to communicating with us through social media? (And that's a whole Digital Britain can of worms)
- Investment - I've got to make the case for social media and customer communication to my colleagues, so cost and, more importantly, value for money will be key
One of Paul's key points was that social media should be used as a supplement rather than a replacement for existing communication channels. This is something I definitely agree with.
I believe social media has the power to make a real difference to tenants and I'm looking forward to seeing the results.